DETROIT (AP) — Henrik Zetterberg knew something wasn’t right with his back last January when he stopped practicing. Despite the aches and pains Andrew Ladd Jersey , he did not miss a game all season for the Detroit Red Wings.|
When Zetterberg laced up his skates for the final game of the regular season, he thought that might be the finale of his career. He held out hope over the summer his career could resume and was still clinging to that when he met with a doctor last week.
“Got the final result and nothing really had changed,” Zetterberg told reporters Friday in Traverse City, Michigan. “So, that’s kind of when it kicked in.”
The 37-year-old Zetterberg, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the top player in the postseason when the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2008, is calling it a career. The skillful Swede is a member of a select group of players that has won a Stanley Cup, world championship and Olympic gold.
“Obviously, it is emotional,” Zetterberg said. “It’s been 15 years here. Even though I knew I was on my last couple years, I wish that I could have played a little bit longer.”
Zetterberg was perhaps in his prime when Detroit won its 11th and last Stanley Cup a little more than a decade ago. He was a candidate to win three awards based on his career-high 92 points in 2008.
He had 27 points in the Cup-winning postseason and was dominant with his two-way play. Zetterberg’s biggest contribution during the series against Pittsburgh was when he locked down then-rookie Sidney Crosby’s stick at the side of the net to prevent him from scoring during the Penguins’ critical 5-on-3 power play to help the Red Wings win Game 4.
Toward the end of his career, Zetterberg’s pace slowed as he played through his back injury and he could no longer lead the team during each and every practice and game.
And now he is done, another blow for a proud franchise that has struggled in recent years. Detroit’s postseason streak ended at 25 in 2017 and the franchise failed to make the playoffs last season. It marked the first time the Red Wings were relegated to watching consecutive postseasons since 1979-83.
Dylan Larkin, a 22-year-old center with a new, $30-million contract, will likely become the team’s leader on and off the ice.
Zetterberg will go on long-term injured reserve with three years left on his 12-year Youth Kentavius Street Jersey , $73 million contract. He will continue to be paid and the team will get some $6 million in salary cap relief.
“He’s got a degenerative condition in his back,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Part of the degenerative condition is significant arthritis. Nothing can be done. No back surgery. No rehab. No more time off is going to have any positive impact.
“Obviously if he plays professional hockey, it’s going to accelerate the degeneration, and if he does get a bad hit or something, then he’s risking a significant back surgery. Henrik has decided that his quality of life is more important than taking the risk of back surgery.”
Holland called Zetterberg one of the best players in the long history of the Red Wings and it’s hard to argue with that. Zetterberg had 337 goals and 960 career points and regularly was a candidate for the Selke Trophy honoring the NHL’s best defensive forward.
He was also a steal: Detroit selected Zetterberg with the No. 210 pick overall nearly two decades ago.
“I didn’t see myself lasting those long probably, when I got drafted back in ’99 as a seventh-round pick,” Zetterberg said. “Been through all the good things and some low things during my career but being in one organization for the whole time, being named the captain of this organization, that’s something special.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo’s addition last season immediately turned around the fortunes of the San Francisco 49ers. Now the 49ers will have to go back to life before Garoppolo for the rest of the season.
The Niners announced Monday that Garoppolo tore the ACL in his left knee while making a cut late in a loss at Kansas City, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
“It is very unfortunate,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was hard waking up today. We were down and disappointed about it because we were looking forward a lot to playing with Jimmy this year and going through the good and the bad knowing that he’d benefit from all of it. Now we don’t get to do it. I know Jimmy is really down about it and so are we but it’s still going to be all right.”
The injury deals a serious blow to the 49ers (1-2), who had planned their rebuild around Garoppolo and now must turn again to C.J. Beathard at quarterback.
Garoppolo will undergo surgery in the next week or two after the swelling goes down and should be ready to play again next season. The 49ers are planning to promote Nick Mullens from the practice squad and also will bring several veterans in for tryouts this week, including Tom Savage, Kellen Clemens, possibly T.J. Yates and Matt Moore.
One quarterback who won’t be brought in is former 49ers starter Colin Kaepernick http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dontae-johnson-jersey , who opted out of his contract with San Francisco in March 2017 after Shanahan decided he wanted to go with a style of offense that didn’t fit Kaepernick’s game.
“That’s what I said last year and it’s the same situation now,” Shanahan said. “I always look into what style of offense I want to do and what style of offense we’ve been doing the last two years.”
The Niners struggled with Beathard and Brian Hoyer last season before the midseason addition of Garoppolo changed their fortunes. San Francisco won the final five games last year after Garoppolo took over as starter and the team rewarded him with a $137.5 million, five-year contract.
The 49ers will have to wait another year to earn dividends on that investment. Garoppolo got hurt in the fourth quarter of a 38-27 loss Sunday when he was scrambling toward the sideline and decided to cut up field instead of going out of bounds.
Garoppolo’s left knee buckled just before Kansas City cornerback Steven Nelson delivered a big hit, ending what was supposed to be his first full season as a starter after just three games.
Shanahan said the play should serve as a reminder to quarterbacks about the importance of protecting their bodies.
“That’s something that Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward because now he’ll remember this the rest of his life,” Shanahan said. “Nothing against him. This happens with everyone. You see it every Sunday. It’s a reminder for everyone why it’s an obvious coaching point.”
Expectations were high in San Francisco this season that the team could end a four-year playoff drought after Garoppolo had a full offseason to immerse himself in Shanahan’s offense. But with Garoppolo and new running back Jerick McKinnon both knocked out for the season with torn ACLs in September, those high hopes have been put on hold.
Garoppolo had completed 59.6 percent of his passes with five TDs, three interceptions and an average of 8.1 yards per attempt for a 90 passer rating. While he hasn’t been quite as efficient as he was late last year after being acquired at the trade deadline from New England for a second-round pick, the Niners offense has been far more potent than it was before he took over as quarterback.
Beathard started five games as a rookie last year, completing 54.9 percent of his passes with four touchdowns, six interceptions, 19 sacks, 6.4 yards per attempt and a 69.2 passer rating that was second lowest in the NFL.
Beathard threw a touchdown pass to George Kittle on his first snap Sunday only to have it negated by a penalty and wasn’t in for any other plays in the game.
“I have a lot of confidence in C.J.,” Shanahan said. “I think C.J. got a lot of experience last year. We liked him a lot coming out of college. … He got thrown into as tough a situation as I could imagine a rookie quarterback being thrown in and the guy didn’t blink.”
NOTES: CB Richard Sherman will miss a couple of weeks with a strained left calf. … RB Matt Breida hyperextended his knee and is questionable this week. … RG Mike Person will be questionable with a sprained knee.