Pavel Datsyuk, a candidate for this year’s Hart Trophy which goes to the MVP of the NHL, has been held out of the last five Red Wings playoff games due to a foot injury he suffered when he blocked a shot. Well, he appears to be doing a lot better and will make the decision himself tonight on whether or not he will play. I think it’s obvious that having Datsyuk drastically improves this Red Wings team, so even a 50% Datsyuk might be better than 0% Datsyuk.
Here is a transcript of the Q & A session Datsyuk had with the media. This is taken from Puck Daddy, one of the best hockey blogs on the ‘net. Before you read on, take a look at this video and say a few prayers that we’ll be seeing our lucky #13 on the ice tonight.
Q. Can you tell us how you feel?
DATSYUK: I feel much better today. I think I’ll go in the pregame skates and make a decision for sure. But it’s more better.
Can you put a percentage on it?
Percentage? … I don’t give a percentage.
Why did you skate so long this morning?
I just feel it, more confidence. I don’t skate for two weeks and I needed to pick up more ice, feel it. Just do more dangle, shoot it. I just tried to.
Are you encouraged?
Yeah, yeah. I don’t skate two weeks, it was a little bit hard for me.
Are you going to play?
I don’t know. Not sure. I just go for sure in the pregame skate and then make a decision from there.
Has coach told you it’s up to you to make the decision?
You skated so long to test it?
Yeah. During the game, it’s longer [skating], so I wanted to feel more like it’s going to be [skating] a little bit longer.
You skated a little extra yesterday. How did it respond?
It’s better. Better in the morning. But it’s one long practice. I needed more. I feel more confidence now.
How is your conditioning?
Condition? Eh, it’s close. It’s a different condition off ice than on ice. It’s different, especially when it’s the Final and you’re on the ice with a good team. It’s a little bit tough for starting.
What problems are you still having with it?
I don’t score for like 12 games. This is problems. (Laughter)
No, with the foot.
Foot, OK. It’s more better. Can more turn. What I need is quick turn, give and go.
Has there been improvement, even from yesterday?
Yeah. Every day, better, better and better. Today, much better. More [feeling] now. More smile, more happy. Still a little bit sore, but it’s fine.
If you play, will you have a more limited role on the ice?
It depends how I feel. Like I said yesterday: If the game is 60 minutes, I want to play 60 minutes. I try to keep every shift short.
Was there any other injury besides the foot?
Yeah, I don’t score 12 games and it hurt me. (Laughter)
Has there been any indication on who wouldn’t play if you play?
I don’t know. No idea.
Any beer last night?
No game. No beer.
You only drink when there’s a game?
Honest, yes. (Laughs) No.