In 11 days, the Russians will open the men's Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi against Slovenia. We all know the pressure facing the players to deliver gold on home soil. And with that, there's certainly pressure for the country's biggest stars to be there to help.
One of those stars, Pavel Datsyuk, has missed 19 games this season with various injuries and hasn't suited up for the Detroit Red Wings since the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 with a lower-body injury.
The team isn't sure if he'll return for any of their four games before the Olympic break, and that puts the Red Wings in a tough spot. If Datsyuk's injury is still nagging him in a week, they'd certainly prefer the 34-year old to not go to Sochi, but the decision is basically out of the hands of general manager Ken Holland's hands. All he can do is wait and hope.
“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.”
Datsyuk was named captain of the Russian team earlier this month, adding to the pressures of playing for his home country and trying to win gold. It wouldn't be surprising if he sits out this week with the Red Wings and is in the lineup against Slovenia on Feb. 13th.
Said Datsyuk last week to the Windsor Star: “I have two weeks. We do everything to help.”
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