“The good news is that there’s two weeks to go before the regular season starts,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’ll have two weeks of healing under his belt.”
The injury was sustained during Detroit’s pre-season match-up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, with Datsyuk taking a check against the glass by Penguins defender Rob Scuderi. He had an MRI on Wednesday that confirmed the extent of the injury.
Datsyuk is entering his 13th NHL season. He sat out 30 games last season with a knee injury and missed an additional seven with a concussion last season, but he still put up 37 points in the 45 games he did play.
Theoretically, this injury should put the Red Wings in a tight spot at centre. They have a wealth of options, however, and that means that they should be able to sustain a loss like this without sacrificing too much. Henrik Zetterberg is in the mix and his versatility means he can slide over to the middle.
The Red Wings also have Stephen Weiss, currently slated for the second line centre, and can move Riley Sheahan up the depth chart if need be. They should also get Darren Helm back in the fold by Saturday when the Red Wings set out against the Bruins. He broke his nose in the pre-season opener.
The fourth line centre slot is still open to consideration, with Luke Glendening battling it out with Joakim Andersson.
Detroit lost a lot of hours to injury last season, so this isn’t new territory for them by any extent. They know how to make do, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “We expect that injuries are going to come at some point of the season,” Holland said. “You just hope that you don’t get a bunch at one time.”