Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t played for the Detroit Red Wings since the Winter Classic took place on January 1. That’s 13 consecutive games that Detroit has soldiered through without their best two-way player, and head coach Mike Babcock isn’t sure if Datsyuk will be back in the lineup any time soon.
He spoke to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News yesterday and had this to say about the injured forward’s chances of playing this week:
I have no idea. I just watch him in practice, one leg isn’t holding up. Pavel wants to play for his country and be part of things, but you have to be healthy.
With the Olympic break looming, Datsyuk is running out of time to get into an NHL game before heading to Sochi to captain Team Russia. He’s an important part of Detroit’s attack, and would be even more crucial to a Russian squad that lacks experience and depth on the blue line because of his Selke credentials.
It’s unclear at this juncture whether or not he’ll be healthy enough to take part in the Games.
— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) February 3, 2014
There seems to be some negative backlash concerning Datsyuk’s attempt to return in time for the Olympics. Detroit general manager Ken Holland expressed concern over his All-Star forward’s health to Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun, and since then the Russian forward has caught some flack over not having his priorities in order.
Based on reports, Datsyuk is barely able to practice right now, so it seems unlikely that he’d try to “gut through” the injury. Still, it’s an outstanding opportunity for the player to try to lead his home nation on home ice during the biggest hockey tournament on the face of the planet.
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