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Mursak's debut in holding pattern

Rookie forward is ready to enter Wings' lineup

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 3:07 PM / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
Jan Mursak
DETROIT – Like he’s been since that September Sunday afternoon when he suffered a fractured ankle in a preseason game, rookie forward Jan Mursak remained in a holding pattern Thursday afternoon.

That’s because the rookie forward hadn’t heard whether he would make his season debut when the Red Wings host the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena Thursday evening.

The decision on Mursak’s status for the game hinges on Pavel Datsyuk’s undisclosed lower body injury. Datsyuk was injured in Sunday’s overtime win at Chicago. He sat out Tuesday’s loss to the New York Islanders, but did participate in Thursday’s morning skate.

“After three days off of course I feel better, but I need to see,” Datsyuk said. “After eight hours we make decision. I hope so. Looking forward to playing.”

Mursak thought he might play, but he hadn’t been told by coach Mike Babcock, who indicated that Datsyuk and defenseman Mike Commodore would be game-time decisions.

“It depends on how Pav feels,” said Mursak, who will turn 24-years-old on Jan. 20. “We'll see what they tell me.”

Mursak had an outstanding training camp and preseason, and it was expected that he would start the regular-season in Detroit and add speed and energy to the Wings’ third or fourth line. While surgery wasn’t required, he wore a cast followed by an immobilizer on his left foot, which kept the Slovenia native off the ice for three months.

Late last month Mursak came off long-term injured reserve and was sent to Grand Rapids for a six-game rehabilitation assignment with the Griffins. There he had an assist and was a minus-3 while logging plenty of ice time.

“The ankle feels good, no pain. I feel really comfortable,” said Mursak, who was recalled by the Wings on Thursday. “I was playing a lot there, getting back in hockey shape. I was just a little bit out of timing, deciding on when to pass or when to shoot. I had a lot of chances, but just didn't produce much. When the chances are there I know sooner or later they'll start going in.”

Mursak, a sixth-round draft pick in 2006, has appeared in 19 games with one goal for the Wings.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


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