Henrik Zetterberg was limited to 45 regular-season games and the last two of the playoffs because of back problems, then back surgery. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit — Training camp is two weeks away.
Henrik Zetterberg wishes it started today.
For the first time in a long time Henrik Zetterberg is healthy — he had back surgery in February — and ready to get going.
“I’m real excited to get back at it,” said Zetterberg, limited to 47 games (two in the postseason) last season. “I feel good. It’s been a good summer of rehabbing and off-ice workouts.
“Last year wasn’t my first year I had issues with my back. It came to the point I had to have surgery. It’s been on and off for the last few years. It’s good to come in and not think about (my back) and just play hockey.”
Even with the injury, Zetterberg finished with 48 points (16 goals), one behind leaders Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall.
And when the Red Wings begin camp, Zetterberg will be counting the minutes until the opener Oct. 9.
“I haven’t played a (regular-season) game since February,” said Zetterberg, who’ll turn 34 on opening night. “Unfortunately, camp is later this year. (I’m) really looking forward to get back at it.”
The fact Zetterberg is enthusiastic about this season is great news for the Red Wings, who’ve had to deal with many injuries the last two seasons.
“That’s a big deal for us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
What also excites Zetterberg is the potential of this team, which many analysts are downgrading considering the quiet summer it had during free agency.
“We haven’t made changes, but I don’t see that as a bad thing,” Zetterberg said. “I like to come in and see the guys who were here last year and see the kids coming up from Grand Rapids.
“We have a good group. We just have to get it together and stay healthy.”
Helm not surprised by position change
Darren Helm wasn’t surprised by Babcock’s decision to move him from center to wing, playing with Pavel Datsyuk.
“It’s not a huge shock,” said Helm, who knew there needed to be a change with the glut of centers on the roster. “Someone was going to have to change, and guys coming up are great centers.”
Helm figures he played approximately 15 games on the wing last season and one shift in 2010-11.