Henrik Zetterberg knows he has big skates to fill as the new captain of the Red Wings.

And, Zetterberg feels he is ready for the challenge which is exactly what it will be due to a lockout-shortened, 48-game, 99-day season which gets under way Saturday at St. Louis.

Zetterberg, 32, was named Red Wings' captain prior to their scrimmage with their AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins at Compuware Arena Tuesday night.

Zetterberg has taken over the captaincy from superstar defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired after 20-year career which included four Stanley Cup titles.

Now, Zetterberg will try to lead the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship, like Lidstrom (2008) and Steve Yzerman (1997, '98, 2002) did before him as team captain. His immediate goal is to try and help the Red Wings get off to a strong start in an effort to keep the Red Wings' streak of playoff appearances (21 consecutive years) alive.

"It's a true honor to be named the new captain of the Detroit Red Wings and I'm really humbled about it," said Zetterberg, a native of Sweden like Lidstrom, who is now in his 10th season with the Red Wings. "It's a very big responsibility to represent the Wings in everything we do.

"When I read a quote from Stevie Y when he became a captain in '86, he said it made it a lot easier to have a locker room full of leaders. And, that's the same for me now. I'm lucky to have players like (Pavel) Datsyuk, (Niklas) Kronwall, (Dan) Cleary, (Todd) Bertuzzi, (Johan) Franzen, (Jimmy) Howard and all the guys standing over there in the locker room. We all lead this team by doing the right things every day on and off the ice."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows the organization has the right man for the job.

"He's a leader of men," said Babcock of Zetterberg. "He's a fierce competitor. He can talk to coaches and management without worrying about it."

Zetterberg has exceeded expectations, performing at a much higher level than a seventh-round draft pick (No. 210 overall in 1999 NHL Entry Draft), enjoying a career-high season during the Stanley Cup championship year in 2008 when he had 43 goals and 92 points. He started the season by earning at least one point in each of the Red Wings' first 16 games, a club record.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130115/SPORTS0103/301150438#ixzz2I9QiTLze