DETROIT – Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice at Joe Louis Arena.
Pavel Datsyuk will miss his second straight game and Jonas Gustavsson will get the start Wednesday night at home against the Boston Bruins.
“He’ll go through the process, he’s not playing tomorrow,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice. “We’ll talk to him after that. I think he had a light ride or something today. I don’t remember exactly what all the protocol is, but he’ll go through it and we’ll see what happens.”
Datsyuk, who did not practice with the team, will also likely be out Friday (at New York Islanders) and Sunday (at Ottawa Senators) as well.
Datsyuk suffered what’s believed could be a concussion late in third period of Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Senators after taking an elbow to the jaw by Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowan.
There was no penalty called on the play and the league didn’t feel the hit was deemed illegal so therefore Cowen did not receive any disciplinary action.
Gustavsson will make his second straight start in goal.
“It hasn’t gone as good as Howie would have liked,” Babcock said. “Let’s be clear about this, we’re going as far as Howie takes us. We have an elite goalie and it hasn’t gone as good. It happens for players when they don’t score, but when you’re a goalie and it happens for you the spotlights on you because it affects everyone. I saying that, we’ll give him a breather to work with Jimmy (Bedard), we’ve started that before. It’s good that Gus got us a win so we could go back to him. He gets a little breather and he’ll be back in the right after that and we’ll go from there.”
Howard has not won in his last seven starts, dropping his overall record to 5-7-6.
Conversely, Gustavsson has yet to lose in regulation and has beaten the Bruins, in Boston, already this season.
“You take everything into account and he’s got points in every game he’s played this year, he’s missed out on one,” Babcock said. “He’s done a good job for us and gives us a chance. It’s important we win games and it’s important about Howie getting back to feeling good about himself. To me that’s the key, getting confidence for Howie and get him feeling good about himself so we can continue to role on.”
Gustavsson is 5-0-1 this season.
The injury bug has plagued Gustavsson his entire time in Detroit.
“I had no background with him, I just heard,” Babcock said of his backup goalie. “So when a guy comes to you and he’s hurt every day and never plays and you’re in 46-game schedule, playing for your life and your goalie is playing good you don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about the other goalie. You just don’t. I’m learning about him now. He’s a guy that has made some huge saves for us and I’m hoping he keeps the puck from going underneath him. He’s been great. That’s the biggest challenge I see, but he’s done a good job. I don’t think you can ask more about your second goaltender than what we’ve got this year.”