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Datsyuk sits out Russia's first practice

Red Wings' center missed 14 games with a lower-body injury

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 11:54 AM ET / News
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Datsyuk sits out Russia\'s first practice

Pavel Datsyuk missed Russia's first team practice in Sochi with an apparent lower-body injury that forced him to miss 14 games with the Red Wings. (Photo by Getty Images)

SOCHI - Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk did not practice with his Russian teammates Monday, but coach Zinetula Bilyaletinov said he is hopeful Russia's captain will be ready to go by Thursday, when the host country opens the 2014 Sochi Olympics against Slovakia (7:30 a.m. EST, MSNBC, CBC).

"I don't think it's a serious problem, dangerous," Bilyaletinov said through an interpreter after practice Monday. "I think he's going to be OK."

Datsyuk missed 14 straight games with a lower-body injury before returning last week to play Detroit's final two games before the Olympic break. However, he played fewer than 15 minutes in both games.

Alexander Svitov, who plays for Kazan Ak-Bars in the Kontinental Hockey League, was skating in Datsyuk's spot during practice between former New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and former Nashville Predators right wing Alexander Radulov.

"I think he'll be good before the first game," Kovalchuk said of Datsyuk. "You know they just came in a couple hours ago so some of their equipment is not here yet. So it's all those little details. I think (Tuesday) everybody's going to skate."

Russia's top line featured Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin in the middle with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on his left side and Carolina Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin on his right.

Ovechkin obviously is familiar with Semin, having played with him for six seasons in Washington.

"Yeah I know him right away," Ovechkin said. "As soon as I get the puck on the left side I know where he's going to be. I'm sure it's going to be easy to find out chemistry with Geno [Malkin]. We just have to play for his style. He likes to control the puck, control the game. We're going to have to do some different things with him."

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky said it's still unknown who Russia's starting goalie will be Thursday; Bilyaletinov's choices include Bobrovsky and Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.

"It's too early now," Bobrovsky said. "We have to adapt to the time (change), to the ice. That's most important for us."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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