The Detroit Red Wings haven't exactly been the picture of consistency when it comes to goal-scoring this season, which makes Tuesday's news encouraging. Wings head coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the team is hopeful Pavel Datsyuk will make his season debut Friday against the San Jose Sharks.
Datsyuk has missed the first month-plus of the season after undergoing offseason surgery to repair ruptured tendons in his ankle. The team had always hoped for an early- to mid-November return for the “Magic Man” and it looks like they'll get their wish.
The 37-year-old forward was limited to 63 games last season and just 45 the year before. However, when he's been in the lineup, he remains a highly-productive player. Datsyuk posted 65 points last season, including 26 goals. If he's back to full strength, he'll make an impact right away.
What will make things interesting is how Blashill slots Datsyuk in the lineup. The team has had some success with the trio of Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader with Henrik Zetterberg. However, Blashill told reporters Monday that his plan was to pair Datsyuk with Zetterberg upon his return. He wasn't sure who the other wing would be yet, though.
Adding Datsyuk back to the mix, no matter what line he is on, should give this team a big boost as Detroit currently sits fifth in the Atlantic Division with a 7-6-1 record.