Winter Olympics hockey: Russia's Pavel Datsyuk healthy, ready for debut

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Russian captain says he's healthy and ready to play after missing significant time leading up to the Olympic games.

SB Nation 2014 Olympics Preview

Team Russia captain Pavel Datsyuk missed nearly a month leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics but says he's fully healthy and ready to play in the first game of the tournament on Thursday.

The Detroit Red Wings captain has been dealing with a lower body injury that limited him to playing on the wing in the final two games before the break, prompting his own coach -- who is now the Team Canada coach -- to claim he feels the veteran is not fully 100% healthy.

Datsyuk missed the first team practice on Monday but was on the ice on Tuesday for nearly an hour, and declared himself ready to play in Russia's opener against Slovenia on Tuesday.

"Everything's fine," Datsyuk said during Tuesday's press conference. "My injury does not bother me at all. Babcock is not my concern right now."

The Russian men's hockey team appeared in front of the media in a mass press conference on Tuesday in a show of solidarity, saying that it will take the entire team to win the gold in Sochi. The Russian men's hockey team has not medaled in the Olympics since winning the bronze in 2002, and face extraordinary pressure to find success in Sochi.

"We do believe that as now we are playing on the home turf we will have even more brothers," Datsyuk said via interpreter. "The whole country is behind us."

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