Tag Archives: pavel datsyuk

Datsyuk opts for rehab over surgery to repair ailing left knee

DETROIT >> Will he or won’t he need surgery?

It looks like he won’t.

Pavel Datsyuk appears to be leaning toward an aggressive rehab to strengthen his ailing left knee, according to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

“As of right now I don’t think he’s having surgery,” Holland said in a phone interview. “He’s begun some offseason workouts in Detroit. We’ve asked him to stay in communication.”

Holland said coach Mike Babcock introduced Datsyuk to a local trainer to begin a rehab program to strengthen his left knee in order to avoid going under the knife.

“He’s pushing hard and we’re going to continue to monitor,” Holland said. “If nothing changes, he won’t have surgery.”

Holland added that Datsyuk will be re-evaluated in possibly a couple of weeks.

“We asked him to push hard,” Holland said. “At the end of the year he had no pain. That’s why the doctors said they can’t recommend surgery if he doesn’t have pain.

“The hockey people felt he had a quickness to his stride in playoffs,” Holland added.

Datsyuk will be in Detroit for another month to hopefully help fix the ailment.

“As we go along, if he has no discomfort or pain we’ll do no surgery,” Holland said.

The Wings announced they were shutting Datsyuk down for three weeks at the trade deadline due to inflammation in his ailing left knee, which wound up being four weeks.

He missed 16 straight games, but returned for the final six of the regular season.

Detroit went 8-6-2 in those 16 games without their shifty forward.

Datsyuk, who turns 36 on July 20, had 17 goals and 20 assists in 45 regular season games.

“He has an ability to change the game,” Babcock said last season.

“He slows the game down,” Darren Helm said of Datsyuk. “He plays with so much poise and skill he backs the other team’s D off a lot.”

Datsyuk, who wound up missing 30 of the final 40 regular season games, played all five games in the first round series with the Boston Bruins, leading the team with three goals and five points.

Datsyuk played for Russia at the Olympics.

Wings’ final grades add up to an average season

DETROIT – Once again the Detroit Red Wings scratched and clawed their way into the postseason for a 23rd consecutive season, but the ouster in five games by the Boston Bruins wasn’t what they had planned.

“I’m general manager of a team that this ownership, this fan base, they want us to be a playoff team,” Ken Holland said. “Nobody seems to have an appetite to miss the playoff for four or five consecutive years to try and replenish and build up this core of players that you can build around for 10 or 12 years.

“Where we draft, we don’t draft high enough to move players from junior to the National Hockey League to make the playoffs,” Holland continued. “We can have the youngest team in the league next year, we’re going to miss the playoffs. How do I know? I just look at other teams and other situations.”

The youth movement was this year’s theme as eight players make their NHL debut in the regular season.

“I want to be a playoff team and I think that when players are ready to help us win, they’ll be here,” Holland said. “The one guy that wasn’t here that probably should have been here at the start of the season was (Gustav) Nyquist. Other than that, Tomas Jurco, when we called him up in November, he was the eighth leading scorer in the American Hockey League. This isn’t a league where you’re going to learn to score in. You’re going to score in other leagues. You don’t come up here and learn to score. If you can’t score before you get here, the coaches aren’t going to give you enough time to learn to score because they want to win. They’re going to put people out there that they know have got a track record to do it. If you can’t defend, it doesn’t matter how many points you get.

“This is a hard league to be a real player in at 22 and 23,” Holland continued. “We don’t have a 22-year-old (Steve) Yzerman. We don’t have a 22-year-old (Nicklas) Lidstrom. We don’t have those players. I’ll be the first to tell you. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, they weren’t Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at 22. They became Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg at 26.

Forwards Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening, along with defensemen Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser also played huge roles this season.

“That’s why young players get traded to other organizations,” Holland said. “Because they get there too quick, they’re not quite ready for the challenge and then people get down on them. The manager and the coach, then they go to another city. I’m hoping to leave these players away from here as long as possible so that when they do get here, the growing pains are as short as possible.”
Here are the final positional grades, which includes playoffs and has each of the first three quarter grades after.

Forwards: C+ (B-, B, B)

Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk combined to play 90 regular season games. Zetterberg still was third on the team in scoring.

The duo shined in the playoffs with Datsyuk leading the team with five points and Zetterberg had a goal and an assist in just two games.

Daniel Alfredsson, when healthy, was a fine addition, finishing tied for the team lead with 49 points.

Johan Franzen was a complete no show down the stretch.

Gustav Nyquist had a magnificent regular season, leading the team with 28 goals in just 57 games.

However, he and the rest of the young forwards found it difficult to produce in the postseason. The only newbie to register a point in five games was Luke Glendening.

Injury-riddled Darren Helm potted 12 goals in 42 games. His speed is unmatched in the league.

Justin Abdelkader was like a yo-yo with linemates, but still managed 10 goals and 18 assists.

Drew Miller was the lone forward to play the entire 82-game regular season schedule.

The trade for David Legwand didn’t pan out like hoped and Todd Bertuzzi’s best days are behind him.

The signing of Daniel Cleary haunted them all year as did the two-year deal they struck with Mikael Samuelsson two seasons ago.

Defensemen: B (B, B+, C+)

Niklas Kronwall has truly taken over as the leader on the blue line having to mentor a mistake-prone Brendan Smith once Jonathan Ericsson’s regular season ended with a fractured finger.

Danny DeKeyser is here to stay.

Despite getting off to a rough start in the plus-minus category, Kyle Quincey recovered and finished just a minus-5. He was the lone defenseman to play all 82 regular season games.

And just like last season Brian Lashoff leaped over Jakub Kindl on the depth chart when playoffs rolled around.

The team also got a look at a few youngsters on the blue line – Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet, Alexey Marchenko, Adam Almquist – this season to see if they’re ready to make the leap to the NHL.

Goalies: C (C+, B-, C)

Jimmy Howard admitted, “I thought it was an OK season, by no means was it a good or great season.”

He finished the regular season with his worst goals-against average (2.66) and save percentage (.910) since his second season as the Wings’ starter.

Battling injures from groins to shoulders, Jonas Gustavsson appeared in just 34 regular-season games with the Wings over two seasons.

When he’s healthy he’s a reliable backup, going 16-5-4 this season. He also started the final two playoff games because Howard at the flu and gave them a chance to win.

Petr Mrazek will likely spend one more season in Grand Rapids before coming to Detroit fulltime.

Coaching: A- (B+, B-, A-)

When the finalists for the Jack Adams Award is announced on Tuesday, look for Mike Babcock to be on the list of final three.

With the amount of injured players, many of them were the core of the franchise, Babcock changed up his coaching style and put his trust in the kids and it paid off.

“The way I look it the coach of the year gets to raise the Stanley Cup and the rest of us are trying to get better,” Babcock said. “I thought we did lots of good things here this year. It was spectacular to get in the playoffs because our guys worked so hard.”

Still no decision on path Datsyuk will take with injured knee

DETROIT >> It was well known that Pavel Datsyuk wasn’t 100 percent when the playoffs came around, despite getting a month off to try and recover from a left knee injury.

Wings general manager Ken Holland isn’t sure if he’ll try rehab or have surgery to repair the injury.

“It has to be determined whether four months off and a commitment to the gym will give him the power and the quickness we’re used to,” Holland said. “He was still a good player.

“It’s the ligament,” Holland added. “It’s minor surgery, but it takes three months to heal. There’s a question if there’s dead tissue in there. They take the dead tissue out and get the blood flowing in the ligament.”

The team shut Datsyuk, who played in the Olympics, down at the trade deadline. He returned for the final six games of the regular season and played all five games in the playoffs.

“A lot depends on what Pav wants to do,” Holland said. “He doesn’t seem to feel he has the power. We gave him January off, waiting for it to heal and it never did.”

Baby names

DETROIT >> Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall are both new fathers.

Datsyuk welcomed in his second child, a girl, named Vasilisa Datsyuk.

Kronwall greeted his first, a boy, named Douglas Kronwall.

Quote of the day … Wings coach Mike Babcock

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock opened up his morning meeting with the media by a follow up to a statement he made Wednesday regarding the birth and pending birth of newborns for two players on his team … Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall.

“I would assume that they’re both playing (Datsyuk and Kronwall),” Babcock said Wednesday. “They’re not giving birth. Their wives are. One has and one is.”

Datsyuk just had a daughter, while Kronwall’s girlfriend is expecting to give birth soon.

“Just before we get started I got an email from my wife that said I’m not allowed to say the things that I said yesterday about giving birth,” Babcock smiled on Thursday. “So I apologize. I said I didn’t realize you guys were that sensitive. So I’ll clear it up today.”

Zetterberg in for Game 4 tonight against Boston … at least that’s how it appears

DETROIT >> After 24 hours of speculating, Henrik Zetterberg appears to be in the lineup for Game 4 against the Boston Bruins

Zetterberg began the morning skate on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.

Todd Bertuzzi also appears to be in the lineup, replacing Tomas Jurco.

Zetterberg was on a power play unit with his same Johan Franzen, Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall.

After practice Wednesday, Zetterberg said the decision to return was up to the doctors.

“The good thing is (the decision’s) not in my corner,” Zetterberg said after practice Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. “I’ve got to be cleared by the doctor. I’ve got to do all those exams. I’m just preparing myself to get into better and better shape, try and get as much game like situations as I can in practice. Today was a good day of that.

“This is just part of the process,” Zetterberg added. “The more I amp stuff up in the gym and on the ice now we just have to wait and see the reactions. If I don’t feel any setbacks or don’t feel anything bad that’s when I’ll probably start that conversation, but still this was the first practice I’ve really had where I’ve been in all the drills and skating a line.”

Zetterberg began practicing with the team last Thursday.

Zetterberg has been sidelined since the Winter Olympics after playing just one game with Sweden.

He hadn’t ruled out possibly returning in the first round of the playoffs, but it appeared like he would likely come back if the Wings advance to the next round.

That appears to not be the case anymore.

“I have to feel ready to play,” Zetterberg said Wednesday. “Today was a good step in practicing. We’re still saying round two, but we all know we gained a couple days. I can’t really say anything now. I’m just happy I had my first real skate and now we’ll see how I feel in the morning.”

Despite playing in just 45 of the Wings’ 82 games this season, Zetterberg finished tied for third on the team in points with 48 and led the team with a plus-19.

“It’s tough to find good practices in the playoffs,” Zetterberg said. “You don’t practice. You only play games. So one of these days you just have to make a decision. The conditioning you’ll get when you play games. It’s tough when you’re skating on your own because you won’t get the same thing. Once I feel good enough to see if I’m cleared that’s probably when I’ll be playing games. I’m going to have still go through a few more steps before I have that conversation.”

Zetterberg, 33, missed 11 games in December with a slightly herniated disc. He also missed two games in January due to it.

Zetterberg began having issues with his back in 2008, which made him miss the All-Star break.
In 2007, he injured his vertebra and missed several weeks.

“I think he’s looking great out there since he started skating,” Tomas Tatar said. “He’d be a big power boost for us. That would be really good and really helpful, but I don’t know how far away he is. I don’t have any updates. I just know he looks really good out there.”

“He’s our captain, our leader, huge boost,” Gustav Nyquist said. “I don’t have a timetable so I don’t know if it’s possible he’ll be back. I have no idea. But obviously it’s great to see him out there especially when you saw him in that much pain when he first got back from the Olympics. That’s not fun to see a guy you look up to and your leader being hurt like that. So it’s great to see him back.”

Paternity leave

DETROIT >> Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall missed practice due to the arrival or soon-to-be arrival of newborns.

“I would assume that they’re both playing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They’re not giving birth. Their wives are.”

Datsyuk just had a daughter, while Kronwall’s girlfriend is expecting.

Daniel Alfredsson also missed practice.

With those missing Babcock’s top line consisted of Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi. The second line consisted of Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, while Darren Helm centered Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist on the third line. The fourth line had Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller, with Joakim Andersson rotating in.

Xavier Ouellet was recalled from Grand Rapids and was paired with Brendan Smith.

With Kronwall, Datsyuk and Alfredsson missing from practice, Babcock juggles up lines

DETROIT >> With Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson missing from practice, Wings coach Mike Babcock had a different look to his lines.

“I didn’t ask anybody today on purpose,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said when asked if he inquired about the status for those three for Game 4 Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena. “I figure by not asking anybody it buys me until tomorrow to decide what I want to do first and then I would assume that they’re both playing (Datsyuk and Kronwall. They’re not giving birth. Their wives are. One has and one is.”

Datsyuk just had a daughter, while Kronwall’s girlfriend is expecting to give birth soon.

The top line consisted of Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg and Todd Bertuzzi.

Zetterberg, who’s still recovering from undergoing successful surgery on Feb. 21 to remove part of a disc which was rubbing against a nerve, said he was able to skate lines because of Datsyuk’s absence.

“I’ve been thinking about (Zetterberg’s return) for eight weeks,” Babcock said. “It doesn’t matter what I think about it though. We have doctors here that decide that so they’ll let us know, if he’s available, he’ll be going.”

Asked if there was a shot he’d play Babcock added, “We haven’t talked about this at all. I put him in there because I thought his number looked real good where Pavel was supposed to be.”

Bertuzzi has been a healthy scratch the first three games of the series.

“I’ve skated with him for about four or five days now,” Bertuzzi said of Zetterberg. “He looks good, he looks strong. Only he can tell whether it’s ready or not. The back is a pretty crucial part of your body and I know he’s put a lot of time and work in and months to be back, so obviously if he’s available he would be a huge part of our team coming back.

“It’s him and Pav take two lines away,” Bertuzzi continued. “It’s up to the third and fourth (lines) to contribute. Usually those guys go status quo or get a goal or two and it’s up to three and four to take care of business.”

The second line consisted of Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar, while Darren Helm centered Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist on the third line.

The fourth line had Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller, with Joakim Andersson rotating in.

Babcock juggles up his top three lines two days into preparing for series opener with Boston

DETROIT >> Just two days into Detroit’s preparation for its opening round series with the Boston Bruins, Wings coach Mike Babcock has already changed up his forward line combinations.

On Tuesday, Pavel Datsyuk centered Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader, while Tomas Jurco was on a line centered by Darren Helm along with Daniel Alfredsson.

On Wednesday, Nyquist was with Datsyuk and Abdelkader and Jurco was reunited with the Kid Line along with Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar.

“I think it’s helped even more that we’ve adjusted so well and we’ve done it together and we’ve relied on each other,” Sheahan said of the lines with his former Grand Rapids Griffins. “Obviously Tats and Nyqi and sometimes Tats and Jurcs, we have some good chemistry but I think it’s just working hard and that’s the biggest thing.”

Franzen, Helm and Alfredsson made up another line.

“There are a lot of things we’ve got to do,” Helm said. “They’re a really good team and we’ve got to be on top of our game, doing everything we can as well as we can. If we do that, then we’ve got a chance to be successful. If not, if we’re not driving to the net, forechecking hard, being in position, then it might be a short series.”

The fourth line of Luke Glendening centering David Legwand and Drew Miller remained the same.

Wings get Datsyuk back, but they’re not looking for him to be a savior

DETROIT >> With six games left in the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings will be getting one of the best players in the world back in their lineup.

And they do not have to ask him to come in and lead the way to the playoffs.

After missing 16 straight games to rest inflammation in his left knee, Pavel Datsyuk will play Friday night when the Wings host the Buffalo Sabres.

“He has an ability to change the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “In saying that, we can’t stand around watching him play. We’ve been doing it without him and we’ve got to continue to make sure we’re doing our part. We’ve got to guard against saying, ‘Oh, Pav’s going to look after it.’ He isn’t going to look after it; we’ve got to look after it as a group.”

The Wings are 8-6-2 without Datsyuk over the last 16 games, but have won their last three games in a row, including a 3-2 win over the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

“I expect him to be one of the best players in the world,” Babcock said. “He knows how to play, so he knows how to play with and without the puck. When he gets his hands on it, he’s going to be good with it. Without it, he knows how to play. I’m not sure how much pace he’ll have, but I saw him battling after practice. If it appears he’s ready and feels confident, then I’m sure he is.”

Detroit also leads the race for one of two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Datsyuk played for Russia at the Olympics, but has only been able to play in two games with the Wings since returning. He last played on Feb. 27, leaving in the second period of a 6-1 win over Ottawa.

“I feel much better now,” Datsyuk said. “(My) knee doesn’t really bother me but not too much like before when it was really bad. It definitely helped (being off) and I feel like I can push now.

“I wish the whole pace picked up after one practice,” Datsyuk added. “The plan is short shifts, not too much ice, stop and go, and then we see.”
Datsyuk will play on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

“He looked awesome, like he’s got lots of energy,” Helm said. “I forgot how good he was with the puck, trying to get it away from him, I really didn’t have an opportunity to steal the puck from him too much. He’s going to be a great addition back in this lineup.

“He’s a guy that we need,” Helm continued. “He slows the game down. Plays with so much poise, skill, backs the other team’s D off a lot. He’s going to be a good help on the power play as well.”

Helm has also missed considerable amount of time this season due to numerous injuries and Abdelkader just returned from a leg laceration.

“It’s going to be kind of a fresh start,” Helm smiled. “I’m kind of fresh, he’s kind of fresh and Abby is kind of fresh so it’ll be a pretty interesting line out there.”

The team has played much of the season without Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg together.

“Things are rolling along right now and hopefully things will continue to roll with him back in the lineup,” Helm said. “I can’t see anything changing. He’s one of the elite players in the league and all he’s going to do is help.”

One thing Datsyuk didn’t lose in his time off was his sense of humor.

“I don’t know if his speed helps me,” Datsyuk said of playing with Helm. “He looks like me, old, slow guy.

The Wings announced they were shutting Datsyuk down for three weeks at the trade deadline to rest his ailing left knee. Friday marks the fourth-week in that timeframe.

Datsyuk, who has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games this season, has played in just four games since the Winter Classic.