Datsyuk, DeKeyser joined Detroit’s morning skate Wednesday

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The Detroit Red Wings brought a battered squad to NBCSN’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers (currently in progress), but there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. NHL.com reports that Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Danny DeKeyser (shoulder) participated in the team’s morning skate on Wednesday.

Datsyuk, 35, is missing his fifth consecutive game with those concussion symptoms, yet he seems optimistic about improved health … although he’s not going to rush back with a head injury.

“With head, yeah [I feel close], but I’m not doing it in one week,” Datsyuk said. “[I’m] trying to be safe … need to come back in shape.”

DeKeyser, 23, may face a larger window of recovery as he recovers from his shoulder injury; it’s possible that he may not play again until the 2014 Winter Classic on Jan. 1. Still, he was also positive about his range of motion while passing the puck.

“I’ve got a lot of range of motion right now and it seems to be getting a little bit stronger every day, and I’m just trying to rehab it and get stronger as fast as I can,” DeKeyser said. “I just started to pass the puck. I can’t really shoot it quite yet so that just will kind of come over time with strength. We’ll see. It seems like it’s healing up well.”

With worrisome news for other staples such as Henrik Zetterberg (back), it’s nice for Detroit to have a positive side to look on. Even if they’ll need to be patient.

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…