Captain Henrik Zetterberg will return to practice Tuesday as the Red Wings begin to prepare for their first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, winners of the President Trophy.
Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of disc that was irritating a nerve and seems to be progressing right on schedule. When he returns to the Detroit lineup, however, is still up in the air.
"I don’t know if he’ll be in a full practice, but he’ll be on the ice at the start of it, be on for a little bit, then get off," Wings GM Ken Holland said Monday. "Then we’ll see how he is Wednesday. It’s just the next step along the line of rehabilitation."
"There’s no timeframe. The timeframe is we need another week before we can have any discussions where he’s at. It’s good news he’s going to skate with the team tomorrow, but the bigger news is how does he feel on Wednesday."
According to Holland, that’s the key to getting Zetterberg back in game action — how he feels the next day after each practice.
"He’s definitely out for the start of the series," Holland said. "He’s not playing this weekend. He might be out for the entire first-round series.
"It’s good to hear that he’s going to skate tomorrow and then we’re anxious to see how his back responds on Wednesday."
Although Zetterberg has a chance of being in the lineup at some point during the Boston series, Holland was less optimistic about defensemen Jonathan Ericsson (broken finger). Holland said that he’s not 100-percent sure but believes Ericsson is "done" for the first round.
Holland also addressed the Wings’ 3-1 regular-season record against Boston.
"When you start the playoffs, you can throw out all the regular-season stats and all the other garbage because everything starts from scratch," he said. "They’re a veteran team. It’s probably beneficial to our younger players knowing we’ve had some success, but I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing over the next two weeks.
"They’re probably the best team in the National Hockey League."