Just when it appeared that the Detroit Red Wings were getting a little healthier, the team announced Monday that Pavel Datsyuk’s troublesome left knee will keep him out of Tuesday’s game at New Jersey.
Making matters even worse, Stephen Weiss’ expected return from sports hernia surgery suffered a setback during Monday’s practice. Weiss also will sit out against the Devils, and his return is up in the air.
"Weiss had a bit of a setback today, so we’re going to send him for some pictures, get some more information tomorrow," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. "Today was a bad day for him."
Holland also announced that veteran forward Daniel Cleary will miss the next week because of a knee injury that will require rest to heal.
Cleary has been a healthy scratch recently, as the Red Wings’ younger forwards have played themselves into the everyday lineup. Weiss has been out of action since early December.
A frustrated Datsyuk was susinct when asked about his current situation, telling reporters, "Can’t play. Issue with my knee. We’re looking day-to-day. Hard to say anything."
The good news for the Wings is, Datsyuk’s knee just needs rest and treatment at this point, not a medical procedure. They’re hoping he can play Thursday against Colorado at Joe Louis Arena.
"If Pav’s healthy and can help us win, he’ll be in the lineup," Holland said.
According to Wings coach Mike Babcock, Joakim Andersson will replace Datsyuk in the lineup Tuesday and will center a line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist.
"Well, he’s (Andersson) just got to be a guy who gets some pucks back," Babcock said, "got to be a guy who wins face-offs and plays well in detail, and the rest will look after itself."
At one time, it appeared that the Wings were happy with the depth at forward and were in the hunt for a veteran defenseman on or before the March 5 trade deadline.
Will Detroit’s injuries up front change their deadline-day approach?
"I’m looking at the trade deadline if there’s a hockey trade," Holland said. "I consider a hockey trade where you can get a player that’s going to be on your roster in September.
"Because of where we are in the standings and because of the unknown with the number of our key players with regards to injury, it’s pretty difficult to step up and trade high draft picks and real top prospects in order to get short-term players."
Bottom line: As Holland’s said time and again, the Wings aren’t in the market for a rent-a-player.