Injury keeps Datsyuk from practice

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Detroit centre Pavel Datsyuk didn't practice yesterday and is nursing a foot injury.

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said Datsyuk was day-to-day, but wouldn't confirm he would play Friday when they face the Chicago Blackhawks in the third game of the best-of-seven series.

"At this time of year, there's lots of players that don't skate," Babcock said upon arriving in Chicago. "He got hit by a shot last game, in the foot, and I don't think we're hiding anything there. He came to the bench.

"The same thing happened to (Jonathan) Ericsson last series, and he found a way to play. They were able to freeze him up and get him going.

"We'll see what happens. The good thing about it is coaches don't make those decisions. The doctors do."

Datsyuk is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the top player in the NHL and coming off a 32-goal, 97-point regular season, but has gone 11 games without scoring a goal.

For what it's worth, goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, defencemen Duncan Keith and Matt Walker and forward Sami Pahlsson didn't practice for Chicago.

However, all four of those players have skipped practices and still played.

Kane still a focus

While Datsyuk's scoring struggles have been brushed aside in Motown, Hawks forward Patrick Kane continues to be bombarded about his offensive production this series.

He was held without a shot in the opener and now gone two games without a goal.

He believes the strides he made in those games will serve well tonight.

"Sometimes stats are deflating, but I felt I was a lot better and was creating more," said Kane, who skated on a line with Jonathan Toews yesterday after they were split apart last game. "I got more shots on net, obviously, but I created more and know I can do it. Now I have to put a better game together (tonight).

"Coming off Game 6 against Vancouver, I was pretty high. Then you see the lowest of lows the next couple of games. The confidence is still there, but I want to step up for the team. It feels like I kinda have to produce if we want to go somewhere."

Kane used the evening off Wednesday night to take in the Chicago White Sox game, and was uplifted by connecting with some of the city's rabid sports fans.

"They're still at our back. They want us to win as bad as we want to win."

However, there have been stories in the local media all but writing off the Hawks after they lost the first two games of the best-of-seven series.

"Oh, they don't know anything," he said, with what was a good-natured jibe. "I guess if I was a writer, too, I'd probably say the same thing. They're the defending Stanley Cup champs and we're a young team. Obviously we feel a little bit different in here. Sometimes, it's better not to read the paper.

"We feel we can put something together. We win Game 3, you never know what can happen."

Big hairy deal

You get a real sense just how young Toews and Kane really are when you see their face.

It's the third round, and several players have had to trim their beards at risk of looking like a character out of the Grizzly Adams movie.

Kane, 20, isn't sporting a very thick beard, while Toews, 21, has patchy facial fur, save for his sideburns, which make it appear more like mutton chops.

In fact, his teammates have been calling Toews Wolverine after the X-Men character.

"That's a good nickname. I like it," Toews said. "Mine's not great, but better than I thought I would do."

Told Kane mocked his attempt at a first playoff beard, Toews replied: "He's got thick peach fuzz. I don't know what you'd call that. I like mine over his."


Videos

Photos