5 Things Henrik Zetterberg Must Do to Be a Successful Captain in Detroit
What seemed like a near-unanimous choice also means that the 32-year-old, a Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, has entered an exclusive group of Red Wings.
Now that the post-Nicklas Lidstrom era has sunk in for the fans, Hank has become the face of the Red Wings.
Steve Yzerman and Lidstrom were exemplary leaders. There is no doubt Z can be one as well.
But to continue the illustrious tradition of captains in Detroit, there are five things that Zetterberg must master before he calls it a career.
Become Even More Vocal on the Ice
While Zetterberg is a great on-ice leader, as a captain, he will need to engage the team even more on the ice.
This means that he needs to give the team a kick in the rear when it faces adversity.
Hank won't be the type to lose his cool on the ice and that isn't what a typical captain does, but he does play passionate hockey. Sometimes, he gets feisty and isn't afraid to shoulder the load for the team.
As a captain, he must do this all the time for the Red Wings.
Luckily, they have Jordin Tootoo to handle the dirty work, but Zetterberg needs to initiate the aggression first.
Lead the Team to the Playoffs
This might be a very meaningless thought on the minds of Red Wings fans.
But seeing that Zetterberg has made the playoffs every year during his nine NHL seasons, it's a big step to overcome.
He will try to follow the rich history that Yzerman and Lidstrom were able to bestow upon him.
Z has been the backbone of the team through a recent rash of injuries. Through that time, he is second in team scoring and has created a tough tandem to contain alongside linemate Damien Brunner.
So to think that he can't keep up the pace is part-lunacy. Zetterberg will be able to rally the troops and get his team back into the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season.
Add More Individual Trophies to His Case
Captains put the team's goals before their own individual goals.
That is something that Zetterberg was able to do when he was not a captain.
He has already won a Stanley Cup. And that's all fine and dandy, but Zetterberg is truly an exemplary player in the NHL—a nice complement to Pavel Datsyuk's finesse.
Hank plays a strong two-way game that annually lands him near the top in scoring in the NHL. He is also responsible defensively and rarely takes himself out of the play.
What Z has been doing should have won him a few Selke Trophies by now. The problem is that the Red Wings have a player in Datsyuk who is just that much better than him on both sides of the game.
And both can play on the same line on any given night.
That's a scary thought.
Continue the Long Chain of Success as Captain of the Red Wings
Being the captain of the most successful sports franchise of the modern era is no easy task.
Steve Yzerman was drafted in 1983 and had to resurrect the Red Wings from their days of being a doormat for the NHL.
He did just that by bringing three Stanley Cups to Hockeytown in a span of six seasons and won additional individual accolades.
His successor, Nicklas Lidstrom, was a major part of the Wings' 11th Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2008 and also compiled many individual feats.
Zetterberg will have to continue the storied tradition of Red Wings captains by taking the team deep in the playoffs in every season of his captaincy.
Another major caveat might be that Z will need to be a welcoming face to the Red Wings fans off the ice. Stevie Y and Lidstrom were extremely warm and generous in that regard.
That's not to say Hank is a grouch, but now he will need to amplify his generosity.
Bring the Stanley Cup Back to Hockeytown
This is the motivation of any player who strives to make it in the NHL.
Zetterberg won a Stanley Cup in 2008 and nearly repeated in 2009.
While one Stanley Cup championship is more than most players will ever accomplish in their life, Z has enough time—and skill—to win multiple Stanley Cups in his career.
It will take a collective team effort.
Currently, the makeup of the team allows for it to contend every year. This year is no different.
A Stanley Cup gives you the power to create a massive legacy. It also allows for you to be revered as a hero in your organization.
Henrik Zetterberg is a star and captain of the Red Wings, but another Cup would cement his legacy as a great Red Wings captain.
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