By Stefan Kubus (@SKubus) –
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk essentially played on one good leg down the stretch and in the first round against Boston after suffering an injury during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
And he’ll be the first to tell you that the first thing he and the team need to recover and stay healthy to maximize their chances at a Stanley Cup run.
“It’s a difficult feeling, of course,” Datsyuk said Tuesday during locker room clean-out day. “You have less energy, you want to keep going to play.”
The 35-year-old Datsyuk is set to undergo an MRI and further testing later this week to determine whether or not he need surgery to repair his right knee. It was evident he didn’t have the jump that we’re used to seeing due to said injury, but despite that, he said the team just flat-out needs to be better, as well.
“We need rest to make sure energy fine and start working again,” Datsyuk said. “We need to not make it 24 playoffs; we need to win the Cup.”
Datsyuk enters the first year of his new, three-year deal in 2014-15, where his cap hit rises from $6.7 million to $7.5 million. In 45 regular season games this year, the Magic Man tallied 37 points and was one of the lone bright spots for Detroit in the playoffs, recording three goals and five points in the five-game series.
Head coach Mike Babcock said his Russian star centerman will continue to be part of what will be an especially important leadership core for an unusually young Red Wings team next season. He echoed how important it was for a player like Datsyuk to have a big summer in terms of recovery and preparation.
“We’ve had so many injuries this year, so if you’ve been an injured player for a long period of time – if you’re Darren Helm, Franzen, especially if you’re Z whose had surgery, if you’re Pav and you’re going to have surgery – conditioning is absolutely critical,” Babcock said.