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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 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
5 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
15 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89