The preseason is just two games old for the Detroit Red Wings, and they have already suffered three injuries. The latest is from Pavel Datsyuk on Wednesday, according to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan.
Pavel Datsyuk has a second-degree shoulder separation and is out 4-5 weeks, Ken Holland said.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) September 24, 2014
Datsyuk took a hit from Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi in the third period of the Red Wings’ first preseason game. The hit itself didn’t appear to be too brutal, and it was a legal check, but Datsyuk hit the rounded glass that separates the benches from the spectators.
With Datsyuk set to miss the next month or so, this would have been a perfect opportunity for Anthony Mantha to get his shot with the Red Wings. However, Mantha is also injured with a fractured tibia and will not be available for the season opener.
The good news for the Red Wings is Datsyuk is set to only miss at most three weeks of the regular season. A marquee player missing time is never an easy pill to swallow, but it’s easier to digest when that player is missing meaningless preseason games and the first couple weeks of the season rather than important games in March and April.
Also good news is that it wasn’t a groin injury, so it has nothing to do with the Red Wings training staff. It’s an unfortunate injury, and the Red Wings are going to have to battle through it just like they had to most of last year.
Who Will be the Call-Up?
This gets tricky, as DanielAlfredsson still hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he is going to retire. Alfredsson had a setback with his back in early September and didn’t go to Red Wings training camp this past weekend in Traverse City.
Should Alfredsson decide to retire, the Red Wings should call up Teemu Pulkkinen. Pulkkinen played in three games for the Red Wings last year but didn’t register a point. In 71 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 71 games.
He’s got a hard shot that can be used on the point in power-play situations. Plus, he’s right-handed — something we all know general manager Ken Holland loves. I’m tempted to pick the speedy Andreas Athanasiou over Pulkkinen, but Athanasiou has limited playing time in the AHL, and I’d like to see him develop there before getting a call-up right away.
With the Datsyuk injury, here’s what the opening day lineup could look like.
First Line: Darren Helm-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist
Second Line: Tomas Tatar–Stephen Weiss-Johan Franzen
Third Line: Teemu Pulkkinen-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco
Fourth Line: Justin Abdelkader-Luke Glendening-Daniel Cleary
Scratches: Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson
Hopefully for the Red Wings’ sake. This is a minor bump in the road to an otherwise healthy season.
Tom Mitsos is a writer from Michigan who covers the Red Wings and the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for The Hockey Writers.