Henrik Zetterberg is closing in on a return to action after more than two months on the sidelines, just when his Detroit teammates need him the most.
Turns out that Big Z felt sorry for Zetty when the Swedish star was forced to withdraw from the Olympics after just one game with back pain so severe that it required immediate surgery.
And it would have been even worse if not for Chara.
"You know, Chara was actually the guy that helped me with my bag at the Olympics," Zetterberg said. "He's part of this rehab. When we flew home from the Olympics, I was walking out and had a backpack with me and he said 'You're not carrying that,' so he carried it for me.
"It's going to be fun if I'm able to play [in this series] and play against him," he said. "[Chara is] one of the best defensemen in the league and he's a great guy."
There are no guarantees Zetterberg will return for in time for the series that gets underway Friday in Boston, but he's already given the opposition some serious thought. "They have really good depth, good goaltending, but it’s been good games when we’ve played them during the regular season."
The Red Wings won season series, 3-1.
"We have to play well, structured, play good defense, have good special teams, and if we do that we can do some damage," Zetterberg said. That'd be a lousy way to return the favor but hey, playoffs.