Sweden’s chances of gold in Sochi were dealt a crushing blow early Friday, when it was revealed that captain Henrik Zetterberg would miss the remainder of the Olympics because of a back injury.
Zetterberg, who scored in Sweden’s 4-2 victory over Czech Republic in their first game on Wednesday, said the herniated disk he struggled with in December flared up during the game. Now, he’s heading back to the States with surgery possibly on the horizon.
“I have not been able to move much, had a rough night,” Zetterberg said. “You cannot keep going like this, it’s the same as in December.”
It’s devastating news for Sweden – viewed as one of the gold medal favorites heading into the Winter Games – as they were already trying to overcome injuries that kept key countrymen – including Henrik Sedin (ribs) and Johan Franzen (concussion) – off their roster.
Sweden’s roster is deep enough and talented enough to still keep them in medal contention but – make no mistake about it – they become much less of a threat for gold without Zetterberg suiting up from here on out.
Zetterberg’s injury is also bad news for the Detroit Red Wings, who don’t anticipate the forward to be ready by the time the Olympics conclude and NHL play resumes. The Wings are currently battling to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.