Henrik Zetterberg told a Stockholm media outlet Tuesday that he will not participate in training camp and won't be ready for the regular season.
“I haven’t been able to train properly the whole summer, so I’ll miss training camp, and therefore also the start of the season,” Zetterberg told Sportbladet in Swedish. “Then we’ll have to wait and see.”
Zetterberg, 37, has been battling back issues all summer, since first feeling the pain in February. He said the whole situation “is sad,” but that he’ll continue to rehab in Detroit.
“I feel good in every-day situations, it’s just when I push hard in training that I’m in pain,” Zetterberg said. “But of course it’s sad and hard to not be able to work as I used to.
“I’ve only been able to do rehab, not real training. As soon as I’ve pushed it, the symptoms have been too bad.
“And the tricks I’ve used to numb them previous summers didn’t work this time.”
Zetterberg had back surgery following the 2014 Olympics, yet has missed only five regular-season games, total, the last four seasons — playing all 82 each of the last three seasons.
His production has dipped, though. His 11 goals in 2017-18 tied a career-low (he did still have 45 assists), and Zetterberg was in so much pain the second half of this past season that, with the front office and coaching staff’s blessing, he stopped practicing altogether.
Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill, speaking with reporters at the Stars & Stripes Showdown on Sunday in Plymouth, said that if Zetterberg misses camp, he wouldn’t expect him to play at all in 2018-19.
Zetterberg, the 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, has three years remaining on a heavily front-loaded 12-year, $73-million contract he signed in 2009.