Wings’ Datsyuk and Lidstrom to Miss Tuesday’s Game
Detroit will look to get back on track for the home stretch of the season after dropping two straight before the all star break but they will have to do it shorthanded - center Pavel Datsyuk and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom will be forced to sit out Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets because both were named to the Western Conference all star team but did not attend.
Lidstrom, a nine time all star, did not attend the all star game and related festivities due to tendonitis in his elbow and hoped to get some rest so that he could play pain free down the stretch. Datsyuk reportedly has a groin injury but his absence was not discussed nearly as much as Lidstrom’s.
"Lidstrom has played in nine or 10 all-star games, shown up at every NHL awards show and has been a tremendous ambassador for our league,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “He has tendonitis in his elbow that has been an ongoing issue for a number of years ... He has earned the right to miss a game to try to get 100% healthy."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, an assistant for the Western Conference, was the only representative from the defending champions at the All Star weekend. His Western Conference squad was downed 12-11 in a shootout.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL enacted the policy last season which calls for a one-game suspension for players who are named to the All-Star team but do not attend. Penguins’ star Sydney Crosby, who received the most votes, did not play in the game due to a knee injury but does not have to sit out because he attended the game and watched from the stands.
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The policy states All-Stars who are injured must have missed at least the last game before the All-Star break in order to be excused; otherwise, they must sit out the first regular-season game after the break.
Detroit was asked to send replacements for the two stars but was unable to because other players not named had already made plans. Sources say that Detroit is going to appeal the decision but with the game only a day away it seems unlikely that they will make any progress.
Datsyuk has been a key component to the Wings’ success; he leads the team in assists with 37 and points with 56, and has 15 in his last ten games. Lidstrom has been valuable as well, scoring 7 goals and adding 25 assists and leads the team in average ice time at nearly 25 minutes.
The Wings may really be shorthanded if rumors that defenseman Brad Stuart and forward Johan Franzen won’t be able to go turn out to be true.
The league justified the rule, saying: “fans vote the players in and they come to see the players”. While it seems silly to suspend players who are looking out for the best interest of their team by resting and trying to get healthy for the home stretch of the season, that seems to be the nature of professional sports today.
ProHockey-fans.com Detroit Red Wings Correspondent