Pavel Datsyuk

After seven-game absence, Datsyuk back for Detroit on Tuesday


Pavel Datsyuk is back.

Detroit’s leading goalscorer will return to the lineup on Tuesday — for the first time in seven games — when the Wings take on the Panthers in Florida. Datsyuk, who hasn’t played since suffering a head injury against Ottawa on Nov. 23, will rejoin a Red Wings team that’s caught fire recently — they went 5-2-0 in the seven games sans Datsyuk, with Johan Franzen leading the way with nine points.

“I thought Franzen was a star when Pav was out,” head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “Leadership-wise, determination-wise, how he played. Now that’s the bench mark. You don’t go back to the other guy. You continue to be what you’ve been. He should be proud of how he played, and now we need him to keep playing like that.”

Things should continue to roll for Franzen, as he’ll be centered by Datsyuk on Tuesday — but that won’t be the only line of note. The Tomas Tatar-Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson unit also impressed over the last seven games and earned high praise from Babcock.

As for how Datsyuk is feeling after so much time off?

“Feel OK,” he said. “Out of shape, but OK.”

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards
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When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”