Datsyuk set to return vs. Sharks

March 16, 2012, 8:52 pm
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SAN JOSE Red Wings superstar forward Pavel Datsyuk is set to return on Saturday night at HP Pavilion, when the Sharks host Detroit.

Datsyuk has been out for nearly a month with a knee injury suffered on Feb. 21, but skated in his regular place between Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom on Friday morning at Sharks Ice.

Looks like it, yeah. Looking forward to playing tomorrow, Datsyuk said, when asked if he was ready to rejoin the team.

The man voted by his peers as the best player in the NHL not named Sidney Crosby is anxious to get back on the ice. He hasnt enjoyed his view from the press box and on television.

Its tough to watch hockey because you always want to play, he said. You want to go with your teammates, skate, and everything. Every day its tougher and tougher. Its too much emotion when you watch a game, its better to play.

He also expects a tough game from the Sharks, who have beaten the Red Wings twice this season, although Detroit claimed a 3-2 win in the most recent game at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 19.

Its a good team but now its the end of the season. Every team is fighting for the playoffs. Every game is very tough. Its going to be a challenging game tomorrow, for sure, Datsyuk said.

His teammates are also excited to see him back in action, as the Red Wings will try and snap a three-game losing streak against the club that has ended their playoff run the last two seasons.

In my mind, anyway, hes the best player in the world. Any time you can get a player of his caliber back in the lineup, its always a good thing, Niklas Kronwall said.

Hes got that presence with him. All the superstars do. Nick Lidstrom is the same way. Any time a guy like that comes back in the lineup, it makes their surroundings better, as well. Obviously, were excited about that, and wed like to turn this around right now.

Lidstrom remains out with an ankle injury suffered on Feb. 25, and has returned to Detroit ahead of the team. Johan Franzen left the ice early in practice and is questionable for Saturdays game with reported back spasms.