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Pasha’s back: Datsyuk returns from 14-game absence tonight

Feb 6, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT

Pavel Datsyuk AP

The Red Wings and Russia’s Olympic team are getting a big return tonight in Florida, as Pavel Datsyuk will play for the first time since the 2014 Winter Classic.

Datsyuk, who’s missed the last 14 games with a knee injury, will be a huge boost to a Detroit team that’s played reasonably well of late, winning four of its last seven while collecting 10 of 14 points. It’s also a great sign for Russia, as Datsyuk — who’ll captain the club in Sochi — gets tonight’s game against the Panthers and Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay under his belt prior to departing for the Winter Games this weekend.

Datsyuk’s had a tough season health-wise, missing seven games earlier in the year with a concussion. But when healthy he’s been his usual dynamic self, scoring 15 goals and 32 points in 35 games.

Earlier today, Datsyuk practiced on a line with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson. That trio is expected to stick together as the Wings look to beat Florida for just the second time this season (this will be the fifth time the two have played.)

  1. juzzi7 - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    #PrayforPanthers

  2. sharksfan754 - Feb 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Just in time for Sochi, what are the chances?

  3. dtownbeatdown - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    I missed him in the lineup, but it is hard for me to believe he was seriously injured. This seemed more like time for him to get 100% for the Olympics… in which I don’t completely agree with. And playing 2 games before the Olympics to get the rust out. But I could be completely off base, just felt like it was an odd absence for Pav.

    I just know how much he wants to win something for his country, but still he has a job here to do as well.

  4. polegojim - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Don’t blame him a bit. This guy has done incredible things for Red Wing hockey… Time for others to step up too.

    Stay healthy and play well Dats!

  5. hightopandrocket - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    I hope Russia doesn’t get out of the preliminary rounds…

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