As we ready our popcorn and PVRs for the debut of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, we count down the top-10 characters on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings we’re most excited to get to know better. No. 8: Henrik Zetterberg.
Who is Henrik Zetterberg?
The Detroit Red Wings captain is a tough man to get a sense of from his on-ice style.
On one hand, he’s a model of clinical Swedish efficiency—reminiscent of his predecessor as Red Wings captain, Nicklas Lidstrom—in the way he methodically takes care of his defensive assignments, collects the puck and moves it towards the opponent’s net. On the other hand, he can take to the ice with Pavel Datsyuk and turn in displays of creative puck pyrotechnics that leave mouths agape.
We see the same contradiction in the limited off-ice glimpses we’ve gotten.
Is he the stoic captain who spouts clichés in interviews, takes his duties extremely seriously and is quick to discuss the Red Wings Way with anyone in the dressing room or the media who may like to talk about it? Or is he the secretly weird Swede, who spent time under the wing of noted practical joker Tomas Holmstrom? The guy who married a reality TV bombshell and then made all his teammates don traditional Swedish bathing outfits for a frigid dip at his wedding?
(If you want to understand that side of the man they call “Hank”, you absolutely want to flip through this scrapbook of his wedding photos. See if you can spot Valtteri Filppula, Holmstrom and Datsyuk.)
It honestly seems like he could go either way—a very serious man who happens to have some fun once in a blue moon, or a joker who knows that sometimes his job requires him to present a stern public face. We’re anxious to find out who he is when the spotlight is off.
Of course, really, we’re also just hoping for some beard-grooming tips.
Tune in as 24/7 follows the Maple Leafs and Red Wings on the road to the NHL’s Winter Classic, Jan. 1, 2014 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The first episode debuts at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15 on Sportsnet East, Ontario and Pacific.