Late in their Saturday night matchup against the Ottawa Senators, the Detroit Red Wings lost leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk after the Russian star took and elbow to the head from Ottawa’s Jared Cowen. There was no penalty called on the play but the league is reviewing it for a possible suspension. The Red Wings will not have Datsyuk in the lineup for their Sunday game against the Buffalo Sabres, as he remained in Detroit as a precaution in case he is dealing with a concussion. While the Sabres have shown some life lately, they’re still at the bottom of the league and there really couldn’t be a better game to sit Datsyuk for. Daniel Alfredsson will return to the lineup after missing five games with a groin injury, so the Red Wings will still have plenty of star power on their top two lines.
The loss to the Senators was the eighth in the past nine games for the Red Wings, so the hope will be that Datsyuk isn’t out for too long. His 12 goals lead the team this season, and his 23 points trail only Henrik Zetterberg (27). There’s no reason to rush him back if he isn’t at full strength, and the fact that he will miss at least one game could lead to more severe discipline for Cowen. After a game in which the Red Wings were beaten on the scoreboard as well as beaten physically all over the ice, seeing at least one Senator held accountable for one of a slew of questionable hits/elbows/slashes would feel pretty good. Alfredsson will make his return to Ottawa in eight days, as the Red Wings and Senators face off in what will be a must-see match-up. It would be great for Detroit if Datsyuk is back for that game, and even better if they can score a bounce-back win without him against the Sabres.