DETROIT – Pavel Datsyuk had hoped to be a game-time decision tonight when the Red Wings host the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins.
Unfortunately, the superstar center didn’t make it that far before withdrawing from Wednesday's game at Joe Louis Arena.
“Not playing tonight,” said Datsyuk, who has been nursing a left knee injury since early January.
Asked if he thought he could be ready for Friday’s home game against the Buffalo Sabres, Datsyuk only said, “Don’t know. Not tonight for sure.”
It’s been a frustrating few months for one of the world’s best two-way players. The Red Wings certainly miss his scoring as well as his backchecking that has helped him lead the league in takeaways in three of the past six seasons.
“Yeah, waiting too long,” Datsyuk said. “Would love to play as soon as possible but I need to be careful.”
Datsyuk said the delay in his return isn’t so much due to the pain of the injury as it is his overall conditioning. Wednesday was just the second time that he’s skated with the team, though he did not participate in line drills.
“I need to pick up pace, too. I think the two days (of practicing) helped me,” said Datsyuk, who has 15 goals and 33 points in 39 games. “I need conditioning more. I can’t do what I do.
“I just want to score every shot, that’s what I’m missing. I feel good but again it’s hard to say it’s 100 percent ready to go. I don’t need to be 100 percent but I need to be careful.”
Coach Mike Babcock confirmed following the team’s morning skate that Daniel Alfredsson would miss Wednesday’s for an undisclosed reason. The veteran forward missed practice Tuesday and did not participate in the Red Wings’ morning skate Wednesday.
General manager Ken Holland told reporters that Alfredsson, who has nine goals and 15 points in the past 25 games, is day to day with a lower-body injury.
Detroit is also without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back), center Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (finger surgery), and forwards Daniel Cleary (knee) and Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder).
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose