No Apologies Necessary: Just Play the Game

Since news broke Tuesday morning that Pavel Datsyuk would be missing from the Detroit Red Wings line-up for the next 2-3 weeks, it has been said and it has been written that a Vancouver Canucks win at Joe Louis Arena Thursday would somehow require an asterisk. The suggestion is that if the Canucks are the team to snap the Wings NHL-record 23-game home win streak, the victory will be tainted due to the fact Datsyuk won’t be present and accounted for. It’s a preposterous notion.

Read on past the jump!

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Pavel Datsyuk is an amazing player who can control the game at both ends of the ice. He produces on offense for the Wings, and he shuts down opponents best players. He is among a very small group of elite NHL’ers who can truly do it all, and there is no doubt that the Red Wings are not as formidable with their best forward on the mend after having his knee scoped.

While there is no question that the match-up of Western Conference superpowers will be lacking Datsyuk’s star power, those people who want to make the claim that a Canucks victory – should they get one – won’t be recognized the same way it would be if Datsyuk was playing, need to step back for a moment and look back to October 13, 2011.

Not a single person suggested that night that the Wings 2-0 victory over the Canucks at the Joe was tainted or required some sort of demarcation because Ryan Kesler was not in the Vancouver line-up. Kesler missed the game as he recovered from off-season hip surgery, and there is no doubt the Canucks weren’t quite as formidable without the reigning Selke winner in the line-up that night.

Injuries happen. They are a big part of the game. The Wings are – and have been for a long time – the model franchise in the NHL, and their home ice win streak is incredible. But during the run, they’ve benefitted from teams missing key players and they themselves have won the last six games on home ice without starting goalie Jimmy Howard, leaning instead on third-stringer Joey MacDonald.

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It’s one game. One mouth-watering match-up, but it’s just one game. No one will win the Western Conference based on the outcome Thursday at the Joe. The teams will line-up, the puck will drop and let’s hope the best team on the night comes away victorious. Things transpire over the course of a long season and injuries are one of them. Great games – even without key players – are another. Regardless of what happens in Motown on Thursday night, neither side will have anything to apologize for when it comes to the end result.

  • It’s just like the folks who say that wasn’t really a “win” because it went to a SO. Okay, then, by that logic remove three or four, I forget, of the Wings’ wins that also went to a SO. So no, no excuses, I agree. Those are all the negative nellies and debbie downers anyway. Pfft.