For Red Wings fans, the news received yesterday was accompanied by groans. Yesterday, Detroit GM Ken Holland announced that the Red Wings star center iceman Pavel Datsyuk had undergone arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a stress fracture. Holland added that the injury would sideline Datsyuk for 2-3 weeks.
Before panic starts in Hockeytown, this is much better to get out of the way now as opposed to a month from now. The timing of this injury isn’t bad at all, as it gives Datsyuk ample time to get healthy and still see plenty of action before playoff time. Obviously, it will still hurt the Wings to lose a player of Datsyuk’s caliber for any amount of time during the season.
Now, the Red Wings must look for other players to step up and fill the void left by Datsyuk’s absence.
The man who filled the roster spot left open by Datsyuk in last night’s 2-1 loss to the Blackhawks was winger Danny Cleary. Cleary is a seasoned veteran who has some goal scoring ability. Coach Mike Babcock hopes will get hot over the next 2-3 weeks and give the Wings a lift on the second or third line. Cleary has been with the Red Wings since the 05-06 season, and knows what he has to do to get wins without the likes of Datsyuk.
Detroit will also look to players Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula to fill Pavel’s skates for the next eight or so games. It was Zetterberg who moved up to fill Datsyuk’s position as
first line center against Chicago, but his impact was not felt the same way Datsyuk’s is. Filppula, on the other hand, played very well and scored Detroit’s only goal on a wrist shot snipe from the right slot. Filppula has a knack for stepping up when players go down, and Babcock and the Red Wings certainly need him to continue playing well.
The problem in this game in Chicago was with the Wings’ defense. While Jimmy Howard looked great in his return, the defense was pathetic, allowing several breakaway chances for the Blackhawks. Howard rose to the occasion and stopped them all, but the fact remains that Detroit’s defense looked terrible.
The Red Wings also announced yesterday that they will look to Kyle Quincey to stabilize their defense. Quincey, who is a former Red Wing, was brought back to Detroit in a trade made yesterday. The Wings gave up a first round draft pick this year as well as a minor-league prospect in exchange for the Colorado defenseman.
“We’re thrilled to have him back,” Babcock said. “Obviously, we think the deeper you are in the back and the better you move the puck the better chance you have to be successful.”
Quincey will likely step into a starting role in Detroit’s third defensive pairing, replacing Jakub Kindl.
What to watch for
The Red Wings have to battle through a 2-3 week period without Pavel Datsyuk- look for other players to step up and fill the void
Thursday vs Vancouver (7:30pm, FSD, NHLN)
Saturday vs Colorado (7:00pm, FSD)
Tuesday @ Columbus (7:00pm, FSD+)
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