Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk sat out the team’s practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena, leaving his status for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks in doubt.
Datsyuk was struck in the thigh by a shot in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime victory in Game 2.
Jiri Hudler skated Thursday in Datsyuk’s place between Tomas Holmstrom and Marian Hossa. The Wings’ second line of Henrik Zetterberg-Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary remained intact, but a new-look third line featured Kris Draper and two players who haven’t seen the ice in the series — Kirk Maltby and Ville Leino.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will hold a press conference later Thursday to discuss Datsyuk’s status and any lineup changes.
This is bad news for the Wings because even though he hasn’t been a dominant offensive presence during these playoffs, he adds to the mystique of Detroit. I am also sure that Hossa has some sort of injury which is limiting his effectiveness so if the Hawks are going to have any sort of chance it would be with Datsyuk out and Hossa limited. Unfortunately for the Hawks though, the Wings have plenty of secondary scoring to rely on and have been well served by this team concept throughout the playoffs so far.