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Red Wings encouraged by Datsyuk's progress

by Paul Harris /

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is on schedule in his rehab from ankle surgery, general manger Ken Holland said.

Datsyuk, 37, had surgery to repair ruptured tendons June 26 in Charlotte, N.C.

Holland said Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant visited Datsyuk last week.

"All in all, we're encouraged by his progress," Holland said.

Datsyuk is scheduled to see his surgeon, Dr. Robert Anderson, in mid-September. Anderson will determine if Datsyuk can begin hockey activities at that time.

In a Russian television interview last month, Datsyuk said it might be "four or five months" from the surgery before he could play again. That would put his return in late October or November.

Detroit opens its regular season Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We're waiting for him to see the doctor in September and see where he's at then," Holland said.

Datsyuk was bothered by the ankle injury late last season and missed eight of the last 14 regular-season games. He had 29 goals and 36 assists in 63 games last season after missing the first five games with a separated shoulder.

Holland said Datsyuk's availability to begin the regular season will have no effect on whether the Red Wings' top prospect, center Dylan Larkin, makes the roster out of training camp.

"If Dylan Larkin is making the team, he's making the team because he's making the team," Holland said. "He's not making the team because there's a spot open because someone's injured."

Larkin, 19, was Detroit's first-round pick (No. 15) at the 2014 NHL Draft. He played the 2014-15 season at the University of Michigan and was Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He excelled for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, leading the U.S. with five goals and seven points in five games and impressing with his all-around game.

Larkin also played for the U.S. at the 2015 IIHF World Championship; he had one assist in 10 games.

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