This may be the end of the line for another Detroit Red Wings legend.
All summer fans' in Detroit have been wondering, and have been very concerned, about the future of long time Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg following rumors that he may have played his final game as a Red Wing already. Those rumors continue to persist and there has been talk that a debilitating back injury may in fact end his carer in the National Hockey League but Zetterberg may not be the only man on the Red Wings roster who has reached the end of his road.
According to Mike Zeisberger of the National Hockey League's official website, veteran defenseman Nicklas Kronwall hinted strongly at the fact that he may have reached the end of the line, both because of a decision that may have been made by the Red Wings organization as well as a decision that he may have made in his own right. Kronwall admitted that the Red Wings have not approached him to offer him a contract extension and in fact he stated plainly that there have been no contract negotiations of any kind between his representatives or the Red Wings organization.
Now that may lead you to believe that the 37 year old's time in Detroit has come to an end and that he will look for opportunities elsewhere next summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent but it does not appear that this will happen. Kronwall stated plainly that he would like to sign for at least one more season in the National Hockey League but also admitted that he was very conflicted about the idea of ever wearing a jersey that is not a Detroit Red Wings' jersey.
"If this happens to be the end of the road, I would be more than happy with the journey that I've had and more than thankful to the Ilitch family and (general manager) Kenny Holland for giving me the opportunity that I have for being able to be with the same team for my entire career," Kronwall, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons, said this week during the NHL European Player Media Tour as per NHL.com. "We'll see what happens.
"I've been fortunate enough to play in Detroit all these years and I have a tough time seeing myself in a different jersey."
Kronwall is not getting any younger and he knows that and when you add to that the fact that the Red Wings have failed to live up to the expectations the organization has the past few seasons the writing may be on the wall for the veteran blue liner.
"There's no doubt it's been tough times recently," he said. "A few of us have been around awhile and you get used to playing playoff hockey. You take it for granted. You get spoiled. It's not until now that you realize how hard it really is.
Even if this is the end Kronwall will be very fondly remembered by fans of the Red Wings and possibly even more so if he retires to remain a lifelong Red Wing rather than take an offer from a rival team.
Photo Credit: Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press