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Red Wings' Zetterberg hopes Datsyuk will return soon

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Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is recovering from offseason ankle surgery and his longtime teammate, Henrik Zetterberg, is hoping to see him on the ice in the near future.

"I've been talking to him. He went through the surgery, he's doing his rehab," Zetterberg, Datsyuk's teammate since the 2002-03 season, told the Red Wings website after skating at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday. "He's just got to take the time he needs and when he comes back, he's going to be healthy and ready to go."

Datsyuk had surgery June 26 and is scheduled to see his surgeon in a few weeks to determine if he can be cleared for hockey activities.

In July, Datsyuk said in a Russian television interview that he expected to be out 4-5 months after the surgery, which would put his return about early November. The Red Wings open the regular season Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Datsyuk, 37, played in 63 games last season and had 29 goals and 65 points. The ankle injury caused him to miss eight of the final 14 regular-season games, although he played in each of the seven games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had five points.

With Datsyuk sidelined, Zetterberg expects two free agent signings and a new coach to help Detroit, which is looking to make the postseason for the 25th consecutive season.

"There's a lot of guys in here who've been through the same stuff for many years," he said. "I think now with the new additions of [defenseman Mike] Green and [forward Brad] Richards, and [coach Jeff Blashill], it's given us a little fresh start. Obviously, it's going to be a different voice behind the bench and sometimes you need that."

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