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Wings hope Datsyuk returns Friday

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Injuries has forced Pavel Datsyuk to miss 70 of the Red Wings' last 178 regular-season games. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROITPavel Datsyuk has been skating with his teammates since late October, and now it looks like he might actually rejoin the lineup as soon as Friday when the Red Wings host the San Jose Sharks.

“We’re hoping for Pav on Friday, but we’ll see,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think it’s still one of those things you take day to day.”

When asked if he would be ready to return this Friday, Datsyuk playfully answered the reporter’s question with a question.

“Which one Friday? Friday the 27th?” the Red Wings’ Russian center asked.

Datsyuk is two goals shy of becoming the sixth player in franchise history to reach the 300/500/800 club for goals, assists and points in a career with the Red Wings. The others are Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Henrik Zetterberg.

“I’m looking like forward,” Datsyuk said. “Now I skate with team and I need maybe more practice, make sure it’s hundred, not hundred but it’s some of the percentage up, and I feel more confidence and at least I can keep up pace with the teammates, who took care of me and maybe somebody can pull piano.”

Blashill indicated Monday that he would like to insert Datsyuk on to the top line with Zetterberg and rookie Dylan Larkin.

The Zetterberg has been a bit stagnant of late, producing three goals in the past four games. The same line, which includes Justin Abdelkader, accounted for seven of the team’s 11 goals in the first three games of the season.

A concussion and knee and ankle injuries has forced Datsyuk to miss 70 out of 178 regular-season games since 2013-14.

Missing any amount of games is frustrating, especially for Datsyuk.

“Always tough to watch when you’re injured or if you can’t play for some reason,” he said. “It’s hard to watch because you want to play, you want to help, and when you watching the game you think you can do better.”

With Tuesday being Sergei Fedorov Night at Joe Louis Arena, Datsyuk, of course, was asked about playing along side the newly-minted hall of famer in 2001-02.

“When I enjoyed team first time it’s a I can learn from anybody but from Sergei, he in the center and I in the center too and I follow him,” said Datsyuk, who also played with Fedorov in the 2002 and 2010 Olympic Games. “He always give it to me a chance to advise what he can do and anticipation, like I have lots of fun time when I joined the team.”

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