Zetterberg not returning unless Red Wings make deep playoff run

Red Wings captain says he expects to be back in lineup for playoffs


DETROIT – Henrik Zetterberg won't be back in the Detroit Red Wings' lineup unless the team makes a deep playoff push.

The Red Wings captain addressed media members after Tuesday's morning practice. It was the first time he spoke to the media since undergoing back surgery last month.

"I want to play hockey again this year and obviously that would be sometime around playoffs," he said.

The 33-year-old Swede was sidelined by back pain in Sochi after scoring a goal in the opening game. He had surgery in New York before the Olympic games ended.

"I think the timeline is 8 weeks without contact. That's what the doctors say and that's what we're going to stick with, and then we'll re-evaluate after that," he said. "I think that's around April 18 or 19, that's about 8 weeks from surgery, so I'm just gonna see where I am."

The Red Wings' last regular season game is April 13 in St. Louis. Zetterberg's last appearance was Feb. 8 in Tampa. He was leading the team with 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) and is a plus-19 rating in 45 games.

He said he has been keeping himself busy with rehab and watching a lot of games.

"(Rehab) keeps you busy all day, and then you have the games at night," he said.

The Wings fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2, on Tuesday. They host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Detroit is in a four-way tie for the final Eastern Conference wild card spot.

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