Skip to main content

Return of Datsyuk makes resilient Red Wings a fearsome first-round playoff foe

Pavel Datsyuk will return to the Red Wings' lineup Friday against Buffalo – and he'll make an already-dangerous Detroit team more of a nightmare opponent in the first round of the playoffs.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Pavel Datsyuk has for days been rumored to be returning to the Detroit Red Wings' lineup, but he confirmed it Thursday with a typically understated Tweet:

Even if he's only at 75-or-80-percent capacity – as many NHLers are at this time of year – Datsyuk's return should send shivers through whichever team Detroit winds up facing in the first round (most likely, Sidney Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins). The injury-riddled Wings have held up remarkably well in the absence of its two best players (Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg). And ironically enough, the team Datsyuk will rejoin against Buffalo is in some ways stronger than it was when a right knee injury knocked him out of the lineup.

In Datsyuk's last game before being sidelined at the end of February, youngster Gustav Nyquist had 15 goals and 37 points. Since then, he's added 13 goals and 19 points, in the process lessening the burden of Datsyuk to produce by the bucketload when he returns. At the time of Datsyuk's injury, the Wings also had yet to acquire center David Legwand from Nashville – and there's every chance the former Predators captain thrives when Datsyuk returns and there's not as much focus or pressure on him.

If Zetterberg can recover from herniated disk surgery in time for the first round, Detroit will be even more of a handful. But as it stands, Datsyuk's addition, in addition to the changes and improvements the team has made in his absence, will give the Red Wings and expert coach Mike Babcock enough material to use against the Pens, or perhaps even the Bruins team Detroit beat Wednesday night.

Bet against them at your own peril.


Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid

Screen Shots: Sizing Up Avalanche vs. Oilers and Bruins, Capitals Hit Hard

We're about to get a spicy battle between Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid, and the surgery to Brad Marchand and Tom WIlson will put their respective teams in a tough spot to start 2022-23.

2022 IIHF World Championship

Canada, Finland to Play for World Hockey Championship Gold for Third Straight Event

Familiar foes will be at it again as Canada and Finland will meet for gold at the 2022 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Andrew Copp

Playoff Rentals: How the Top NHL Trade Deadline Acquisitions Are Performing

Each March, NHL front offices launch into a mad scramble to tweak their teams ahead of the league’s trade deadline. Here's how some of the late-season additions have worked out.