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Datsyuk out at least two weeks

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk will miss up to two weeks following knee surgery that was performed Tuesday in Detroit. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
Pavel Datsyuk did not travel with the Red Wings to Chicago for tonight’s game against the Blackhawks. Instead, the Wings’ All-Star center stayed back in Detroit where he underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right knee at the Detroit Medical Center Tuesday morning.

Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters this morning at Chicago’s United Center that Datsyuk, who leads the club in assists (43) and points (59) – and was recently voted the toughest forward to play against by his NHL peers – is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.

“Everything is real good. He had a fragment in his knee, an old thing we wanted to clear up prior to playoff time,” Babcock told “This way we have an opportunity to get him going 100 percent before playoff time.”

Despite a slow start, Datsyuk is having a Hart Trophy-like season, collecting 14 goals and 48 points in his last 42 games. One of, if not the best, two-way forwards in the NHL, Datsyuk is second in the league with 81 takeaways, which is one less than Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, who is listed as day-to-day and will miss tonight’s game with an upper-body injury.

While doctors cleaned up any loose debris from Datsyuk’s  knee Tuesday, the star center cleaned up in the latest poll conducted by the National Hockey League Players’ Association, which was announced last weekend.

Datsyuk, 33, was the top vote-getter in six categories in the annual study, which conducted in conjunction with CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada”. Datsyuk was named the smartest player, most difficult to play against, hardest to get off the puck, cleanest to play against, and toughest forward to play against. Goalies also named him the toughest to stop.

The poll received responses from 257 NHL players in 25 categories.

“Pavel has the respect of all of the players in the NHL, it shows in polls,” teammate Danny Cleary said Monday afternoon. “But a lot of times those polls – as great as it is for Pavel – sometimes they work in the opposite for the Sedins or (Phil) Kessel, so they’re kind of misleading in some ways. But not Pavel. Pavel’s are pretty dang on.”

The Wings were already carrying 13 forwards on the roster, so it isn't necessary to recall a player from Grand Rapids. With Datsyuk out of the lineup tonight against the Blackhawks, it's expected that Henrik Zetterberg will center the top line between Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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