Russia’s Head Coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov created an aura of uncertainty around whether or not Pavel Datsyuk would have to pull himself out of the Sochi Olympics.
Datsyuk on-ice for Russia practice
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 11, 2014
The uncertainty can be put to bed though. Pavel Datsyuk practiced with the team this morning and was no worse for wear, despite only playing two games since the Winter Classic.
He is certainly not 100%, but most NHL players battle through injuries throughout the season and playoffs. With Winter Olympics in Russia and him being the captain of the Russian team, there was never much doubt that he would be playing regardless of his injury concerns.
To down play the concerns over an injury, Datsyuk stated that he was playing in the opener and used his wit to draw focus away from any possible ailment.
Datsyuk: “What injury? Says he’s playing for Russia in opener Thursday vs. Slovenia.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 11, 2014
There is a lot of pressure on the Russian Team and Datsyuk is an integral piece of the puzzle if they hope to keep the gold medal in Russia after the Games are over.
Hopefully for the Red Wings, Datsyuk will stay healthy and feel better when he returns to Detroit after the Sochi Winter Games, but I cannot blame him for playing.