– Luggage in hand, Pavel Datsyuk
stopped to answer questions about his undisclosed injury after the team landed at Detroit Metro Airport Monday afternoon.
The All-Star forward said that he’s not the only one who could be playing at less than 100% when the Red Wings host the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night.
“I think in the playoff times, nobody doesn’t have injuries,” Datsyuk said. “Everybody still plays. That’s why the NHL is good. When playoff time comes, everybody still plays.”
The Wings’ scoring leader in this postseason had three assist during the Wings’ 4-3 comeback victory Sunday night, despite being a game-time decision. Datsyuk skated for 21:41, second only to Henrik Zetterberg
for ice-time among Detroit forwards, yet he did not take a single face-off Sunday night.
Datsyuk leads the Wings in face-offs this postseason, having taken 139 in the first eight playoff games. However, the veteran forward insisted that he is fine, and anxious to get to Game 6.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “It’ll be nice to play again with our fans, it’s nice, it’s exciting, and we’re still alive.”
Zetterberg took 25 face-offs in Game 5, after only taking 51 in the first four games against the Sharks. However, Zetterberg said it wasn’t a big deal that he carried the majority of the face-off responsibilities, taking more than 42% of the 59 total draws.
“Well, actually I didn’t even know that he didn’t want to take face-offs yesterday,” said Zetterberg, who won 16 of 25 face-offs Sunday. “So, I don’t think that had anything to do with it actually.
“If I play center, I take the face-off.”
Forward Johan Franzen
, who has been battling an ankle injury suffered in Game 2 of the opening round, only played 9:19 in Game 5. Babcock said that Mike Modano would dress if Franzen cannot play Tuesday night.
“I don’t know,” said Babcock, of Franzen’s status. “I’m not going to worry about that much. If he’s not ready to go though, we’ll put Modano in.”