Most people around the league believe Pavel Datsyuk – or the ‘Russian Magician’, as I call him – is in the Hart Trophy discussion here on Dec. 23. With 39 points in 33 games, no one can argue that. But the Red Wings will be without their MVP candidate for the next month after Datsyuk suffered a broken hand in last night’s contest with the Canucks.
What does this mean for Detroit?
Obviously, Mike Babcock and company will be without of their uber-talented center that they rely heavily on in all situations. Going into Wednesday’s action, Datsyuk had steadily racked up 17 points in his last 12 games.
One player that needs to step it up in Datsyuk’s absence is Valterri Filppula, who will presumably take on a top-six role at pivot. Filppula is a great role player for the Wings (18 points in 33 games), but may have to become more of a go-to player offensively if they are to hold onto their lead in the Central Division.
Thanks to an unimpressive 4-4-2 stretch in the last three weeks, the annual powerhouse has seen their lead atop the Western Conference whittle down to just a single point, abruptly re-joining the ‘pack’.
Now they are dealt the news that their best player is sidelined for a month. Between now and Jan. 26, they will play 11 of their 16 games away from Joe Louis Arena. Here’s their schedule up until the All-Star break:
Their schedule isn’t so daunting; but without much breathing room in their own division, the Wings will have a difficult time re-gaining their previously padded lead in the West.
Going back to last year’s never-ending injury bug, the Wings are familiar with the situation. But one player that dodged injury a year ago was Datsyuk.
How will Detroit hold up without the ‘Russian Magician’?
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