It’s deja vu all over again in Detroit.
Pavel Datsyuk, who separated his shoulder during the Red Wings’ preseason opener against Pittsburgh, will now be sidelined for the next 4-5 weeks recovering from said injury, Ken Holland told reporters on Wednesday.
The news comes after Datsyuk underwent a MRI to identify the damage done following this hit from Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi:
The news will be tough to swallow for Detroit fans, who were clamoring for a healthy Datsyuk following a nightmarish 2013-14 campaign. The Russian forward appeared in just 45 games a year ago, missing extensive time with head and knee injuries. Datsyuk gutted it out to represent Russia at the Winter Olympics in Sochi — where he was arguably his country’s best player — but missed extensive time following the games, returning to make just a handful of appearances before the playoffs.
That said, Datsyuk was effective in Detroit’s opening-round loss to the Bruins, finishing the series with three goals and five points in five games.
With the four week timetable, Datsyuk would be looking for a potential lineup return in the last week of October, meaning he could miss as many as 10 games. Detroit plays 10 times in the month, which includes a Halloween date against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
As for replacements… the Wings are fortunate to have a wealth of depth down the middle. Nobody can replace Datsyk, but there are some quality options in reserve: Darren Helm could make the move back to center after starting camp on Datsyuk’s wing, one of the youngsters (Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Joakim Andersson) might make the leap and this could provide an increased role for Stephen Weiss, who is looking to rebound from an injury-plagued ’13-14 of his own.