DETROIT – Pavel Datsyuk skated again Friday at Joe Louis Arena, though he’s nowhere near returning to the Red Wings’ lineup.
Detroit’s dynamic center said he felt good to be among teammates, though he was wearing a gray jersey, which is worn by players who can’t participate in contact drills.
Datsyuk suffered a separated right shoulder late in the Wings’ preseason opener in Pittsburgh on Sept. 22. Friday afternoon, he was placed on seven-day injured reserve, retroactive to the day of injury.
“I feel good to be with the team, skate and I try to keep the pace but it’s still not ready,” Datsyuk said. “It still bother me.”
The original prognosis for Datsyuk was that he would miss about four weeks, which would mean he could miss at least the first six games of the regular season.
The Red Wings open the 2014-15 season by hosting Boston on Thursday.
Though he will sit out his first season opener in his NHL career, Datsyuk remains upbeat by maintaining his cardio through skating and other off-ice workouts.
“More comfortable keeping it at the same pace,” he said. “That’s good for me. Maybe I can’t shoot too much but I can skate.”
Datsyuk and Tomas Tatar (concussion protocol) did not make the team’s final preseason trip. Both forwards stayed behind and plan to skate on their own at Joe Louis Arena this weekend.
LAST TUNE UPS: The Red Wings traveled to Toronto this afternoon where they will face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre tonight. Immediately following the game, the Wings will head to Boston for the preseason finale at TD Garden on Saturday night.
Coach Mike Babcock plans to watch the games intently as he and general manager Ken Holland have roster decisions to make by Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST.
“I think we got a real competitive situation up front for jobs,” Babcock said. “I think we got a real competitive situation on the back for jobs. I think we got a real competitive situation in goal for jobs. I like that. It’s a real healthy situation and I think we’re going to have a real good hockey club. I’m excited to get going.”
Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is expected to play against the Maple Leafs, while third-string goalie Petr Mrazek will play in Boston.
HELM & ERICSSON: Babcock said he has forward Darren Helm (groin) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hip flexor) penciled into Saturday’s lineup against the Bruins.
“They’re both in the lineup (Saturday),” Babcock said. “That doesn’t mean they’re going to be in the lineup. It just means on that sheet of paper I have they’re in the lineup.”
CUT DOWN: The Red Wings made several roster moves Friday. Their roster currently stands at 34 players: 20 forwards, 11 defensemen and three goalies.
Center Louis-Marc Aubry and goalie Tom McCollum were re-assigned to AHL Grand Rapids. Forward Anthony Mantha (fractured tibia) and center Andy Miele (sports hernia surgery) were put on non-roster injured reserve.