Detroit’s new captain, a comeback from a gruesome injury and fantasy hockey tips

The Detroit Red Wings have a new leader in Henrik Zetterberg. (Michael Miller/Wikimedia Commons)

The Detroit Red Wings have a new leader in Henrik Zetterberg. (Michael Miller/Wikimedia Commons)

Replacing a legend is hard, especially when said legend was the team captain. The Detroit Red Wings were lucky last time as they had Nicklas Lidstrom to take over for Steve Yzerman before the 2006-07 season began, but now they need someone to supersede what many consider to be the second-best defenseman of all time.

Fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg will be the man tasked with leading the Wings into the 2013 according to The Detroit News. Zetterberg, known by his teammates as ‘Hank,’ has been a Red Wing since his career started in the 2002-03 season. He was one of their patented late-round steals, going 210th overall in the 1999 draft, and has posted 252-372-624, 271 PIM and a plus-144 in 668 regular season games and 51-51-102, 59 PIM and a plus-38 in 109 postseason contests.

The highlight of his career so far was the 2008 playoffs when he set team records with 13 goals and 27 points, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy while leading the Wings to their fourth Stanley Cup in 12 years. From Bob Wojnowski:

Zetterberg, 32, will wear the “C” during a tough transition, a compressed 48-game schedule for a team whose aura has withered the past few playoffs. With so much change, this is one thing the Wings needed — a guy who knows his way from A to C, and A to Z.

“I think I’ve been easing into it for years,” Zetterberg said. “When you look at both Stevie and Nick, they weren’t the most vocal captains, but they showed it on the ice every day. They showed it in games, in practice, in the weight room. There are many leaders in here who do the speaking part. If it comes time to say anything, of course I’ll do it. But I will not change my way.”

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Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, an Ottawa Senators prospect drafted 42nd overall in 2008, is looking for his first extended stay in the NHL just over a year after a gruesome injury in which he took a puck to the throat. Wiercioch broke a bone in the back of his neck after he was hit with a clearing attempt from the Norfolk Admirals’ Radko Gudas.

From the AHL’s website:

It’s a defining moment in the young player’s career, but he prefers not to dwell on the incident.

“I became appreciative of a lot of things,” Wiercioch said. “It was probably a lot more difficult for my friends and family than it was on me until I was able to take some time away from it and really look at what could have happened that day. I had a lot of people looking out for me.

“I take every day as a blessing and thinking about it less makes it easier.”

Like many young professionals, the 6-foot-5, 210 pound native of Burnaby, British Colombia has used his time in the minors during the lockout to prepare for a chance to make the big club and is looking forward to playing with childhood friend, Sens center Kyle Turris.

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One of the best parts about sports, and one of the great ways to settle who knows more among your group of friends, are fantasy leagues. Every year there are bounce-back players, surprises, sleepers and disappointments, so here are a few articles to help you out when drafting your team or picking up players in your league’s free agency pool.

Here are Darryl Dobbs’ ten potential fantasy hockey steals, via The Hockey News and Scott Cullen’s choices for likeliest bounce-back seasons via TSN.

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