Pavel Datsyuk may return to Red Wings lineup Wednesday

Pavel Datsyuk could be back in the Red Wings' lineup this week. (USATSI)
Pavel Datsyuk says he is a game-time decision for Wednesday. (USATSI)

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The Detroit Red Wings are right in the thick of the playoff race, with a hold on the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The club may get a huge boost this week as Pavel Datsyuk told reporters he will be a game-time decision for Wednesday night’s contest against the Boston Bruins.

Datsyuk has been out since Feb. 27 with a knee injury. Getting back one of their veteran players in time for the final push into the postseason is a huge boost for a Detroit squad that has been riddled with injuries all season.

Datsyuk had been shut down by the Red Wings in early March to ensure he could get the rest needed to let his knee heal up a bit. The star center has also been doing some rehab work to try to get back to playing. When the club shut him down, surgery was not ruled out for Datstyuk, so it's hard to know just how effective he will be if this injury is not healed up completely.

Either way, having him in the lineup at all is a boost.

In 39 games this year, Datsyuk has put up 33 points including 15 goals. With the Red Wings surging, this couldn't be a better time time to fortify the lineup with a top-flight center.

Already without Henrik Zetterberg for the rest of the season after he underwent back surgery, the Red Wings have been relying heavily on younger players, most notably the high-scoring Gustav Nyquist, as well as Tomas Tatar in the absence of veteran stalwarts.

To add Datsyuk back to the mix, even if he isn’t 100 percent, offers Mike Babcock a player who has been through this postseason grind many teams to help lead the team. Also, the NHL is more fun when Pavel Datsyuk is playing, isn't it?

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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