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Datsyuk says he's 'game-time decision'

Superstar will participate in morning skate before determining status against Bruins

Tuesday, 04.1.2014 / 2:18 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Datsyuk says he\'s \'game-time decision\'

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk said he'll decide in the morning if he will be ready to play against the Boston Bruins Wednesday night. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROITPavel Datsyuk was excited to be back on the ice with his Red Wings’ teammates Tuesday, and hopes to be a game-time decision Wednesday.

The superstar center has been sidelined since early March after team doctors and trainers decided his knee injury would benefit from the rest and inactivity.

Datsyuk, who has battled a knee injury since early January, has skated by himself for the last week. He has said before that he’ll need two or three good practices with the team before he declares himself physically fit to play.

However, Datsyuk wouldn’t count out the possibility of playing against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference when the Red Wings host the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

“I don’t know. Game-time decision,” he said. “We’ll see tomorrow how I feel.”

Datsyuk has missed the past 15 games, and 29 of 33 games since early January. He has produced 15 goals and 33 points in 39 games with the Red Wings this season.

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he isn’t expecting Datsyuk back until later this week when the Wings host the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

“The whole thing is to understand it’s not about Pavel one bit, it’s about the Red Wings and the guys that are playing and we just got to keep grinding,” Babcock said. “I don’t want to get caught up in that whatsoever, I want to have us keep on working.”

When asked to critique Datsyuk’s improvement, Babcock said, “I’m going to assess him in the game.”

It’s clear that Datsyuk’s skating has improved over the last week, but he’s not where he needs to be, making an exact timeframe difficult to establish. Still, his teammates are anxious to get him back soon.

Without Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings have heavily relied on youngsters like Gustav Nyquist, who on Tuesday was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Month for March.

Detroit has got balanced scoring from rookies and veterans with exactly half of the goals since the Olympic break coming from youngsters who were on Grand Rapids’ Calder Cup championship team last spring.

“It’s great to see him out on the ice skating and being part of practices,” Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “We feel that we’re playing pretty consistent hockey right now and getting a guy with his experience and his offensive abilities, among other things, will be a big boost for this team.”

Whether Datsyuk returns Wednesday or later in the week, the Red Wings are just excited to know he’s coming back sooner than later.

“It would be huge to have Pav back,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “He’s one of the best two-way players in the game. We could definitely use him.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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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