Datsyuk says his knee no longer bothers him

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Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has repeatedly expressed his hopes that his team will be healthier in 2014-15 after a season full of challenging injuries. Having Pavel Datsyuk as close to 100 percent as possible might just be on the top of Holland’s list, so this story from the team website regarding the star forward’s knee should stoke optimism.

“It looks like the work has helped me,” Datsyuk said on Tuesday. “And I don’t need the surgery … I’m skating now and it feels much better. Nothing bothers me and we’ll see.”

Hey, sounds great … except that “we’ll see” part.

It’s understandable that Datsyuk provided such a caveat, though. Knee injuries can be tricky, and considering his age (36) and the mileage he’s accrued from deep playoff runs and international competition, No. 13 probably doesn’t want to make too many bold bets.

No doubt about it, Datsyuk’s still a difference-maker when he can get on the ice, though. His possession stats are still impressive and he continues to score; Datsyuk collected 37 points in 45 games last season.

As excited as the Red Wings likely feel about the growth of younger players like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, the 2014-15 season is likely to go as far as Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and other veterans can take them. (Getting Daniel Alfredsson to join that veteran group for another season remains a work in progress.)

There’s no denying the possibility that things won’t work out for Detroit yet again in 2014-15, but at least the stories are more positive than negative right now.