Despite return, Datsyuk’s Olympic status still uncertain


Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk returned from a knee injury on Thursday and played in two games before the Olympic break. However, the Red Wings limited his playing time in both contests and after missing 14 consecutive matches due to the ailment, his role with Team Russia still might end up being limited, if he plays at all.

“When Datsyuk arrives, we will talk and make a decision,” Russian head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said, according to R-Sport. “Tomorrow is only the 10th and everything is possible.”

Losing Datsyuk would be a big blow for Russia — as it would be for any team. He’s not just another offensive threat on a squad loaded with them, he’s also one of the best two-way players in the game.

Before the 35-year-old forward left for Sochi, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Datsyuk will ultimately need to determine if he’s ready or not, according to the Detroit News. This would be Datsyuk’s fourth and potentially last Winter Olympics, to say nothing of the fact that it’s an opportunity to win a gold medal at home.

Sharks name Pavelski captain; Thornton, Couture alternates

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
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Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.

The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.

Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.

Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.

The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.

Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.