When Pavel Datsyuk left the Detroit Red Wings lineup because of a lower-body injury, the initial estimates were that he wouldn't be out long and it wasn't serious. Now it has been more than a month since Datsyuk last played, in the Winter Classic.
The timing is such that it's raising some question about Datsyuk's availability for the Olympics that start in less than two weeks in Sochi, Russia. Datsyuk, by the way, is not only one of Russia's top forwards and threats but the host nation's captain. So yes, him playing in the Olympics is a big deal.
And even if Datsyuk doesn't play before the Olympic break hits, he's still most assuredly ging to play for Russia. Red Wings GM Ken Holland won't try to get in the way.
"I don't believe I have the authority or the power to prevent someone from going to the Olympics," said Ken Holland, the Red Wings general manager. "That's the player's call. When it comes to Pavel Datsyuk, I certainly understand the special opportunity he has, representing his country in his homeland, to be captain, to maybe win a gold medal in your home country, that will be with you for the rest of your life."
"Am I worried?" said Holland. "Of course, I'm worried. But I understand what an opportunity this is for every Russian and every other player. Pavel has a decision to make and I understand that it's his decision and I respect that its his decision."
This here is the tough spot that general managers are put in with the Olympics. Holland is clearly understanding and while he certainly doesn't seem to love the situation, he at least understands.
It's a reasonable concern to be worried about Datsyuk pushing a return just to play in the Olympics, certainly a worthwhile goal for any player. Holland (and other GMs) are pretty helpless if a player is dead set on playing in the Olympics.
Datsyuk has 15 goals and 17 assists this season in which he has been limited to 35 games with this lower-body injury and a concussion that cost him seven games earlier this season.