Pavel Datsyuk may not be ready for Thursday’s season opener at Joe Louis against the Boston Bruins, but seeing him on the ice during Monday’s practice was an encouraging sight.
"He looks good, he looks ok, he skates well, he handles the puck well, but obviously he’s not in battle mode yet," said Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. "It was a plus he was skating with the line today (Datsyuk skated with Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader), but I don’t think we’re going to get our hopes up that he’s going to be in the lineup Thursday."
Datsyuk returned to practice last Thursday for the first time after suffering a shoulder separation on September 22nd during the Wings preseason opener, but he only took "a little spin" according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.
On Monday, Datsyuk participated in a full practice and afterwards was cautiously optimistic when addressing reporters.
"I am kind of finding my way, I won’t say it’s too close, but it’s a good feeling," Datsyuk said. "I need to skate more and see how it feels, I need more contact.
"This is the first time I’ve had this injury, so it’s hard to say if I’m day-to-day."
When he was originally hurt the Wings thought Datsyuk would miss three to four weeks, so while he’s back on the ice after two weeks is a good sign, nobody is ready to deem him ready to return anytime soon.
"It was nice to see him out there," Babcock said. "I don’t know if he’s ready to play, we’ll see."
WEISS LOOKING TO FIND HIS RHYTHM
It’s common knowledge that if Red Wings center Stephen Weiss can be a consistent contributor, the Wings chances of a successful season will be greatly enhanced.
Weiss has essentially missed the last two seasons with various injuries and is looking for a bounce-back season during his second year in Detroit.
He played in six of the Wings’ eight preseason games — recording just one assist and was a minus-4 — but he claims that he’s feeling good and needs to continue to work hard.
"Played four (games) in six nights; it was good to get a lot of games in," Weiss said "Felt pretty good. Now I just got to keep it up in practice and work hard and just try to get back in the lineup.
"I got to score goals and get points. I got to get on the board somehow. I had some chances and made some plays but nothing is going in. I just got to keep creating.
"I worked hard this summer, skated hard. I feel like it’s getting there."
Babcock was a bit noncommittal when it came to Weiss, but he did reiterate what his mantra has been thus far this season.
"What I’m going to do is whoever has earned the right to play on opening day is going to play," said Babcock. "We going to have to really work and compete and learn how to play together if we want to have success."
TATAR NOT CLEARED TO PLAY
Tomas Tatar sat out the Wings’ last two preseason games after suffering a concussion when he lost his balance after being checked by Pittsburgh’s Blake Comeau last Wednesday in Detroit.
As he was falling, the linesman tried to get out of Tatar’s way by jumping up onto the glass, catching Tatar flush in the face with his knee. He was dazed and left the game.
"I was kind of scared when it happened because I never get light up ever in my life. Never get hit as hard," said Tatar. "I didn’t expect ref to stand there at all, didn’t know what hit me for a few seconds. It was his knee; he tried to jump out of way."
Tatar added that he feels much better and has not had any concussion-like symptoms for days and was happy that he was able to participate in Monday’s practice.
He told reporters that he’ll have another concussion test on Tuesday and if he passes, which he says "I don’t think it should be a problem," he will officially be cleared to play on Thursday.
It was such a jarring collision that Tatar said his helmet completely cracked and a part of it was disintegrated.
CALLAHAN, FERRARO, PORTER CLEAR WAIVERS
NHL teams had until noon on Monday to put in a waiver claim on Red Wing forwards Mitch Callahan, Landon Ferraro and Detroit native Kevin Porter.
The trio was put on waivers Sunday, but since they went unclaimed, each player was assigned to Grand Rapids.