There is only one week left before the NHL closes down for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which gives Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk a finite period of time to ease those concerned with his day job. That's because Datsyuk's status for the Olympics has yet to be determined and the Red Wings have expressed that they won't play a role in his decision to participate.
Datsyuk has missed 13 consecutive games with a lower-body injury and has not played since logging 24 minutes in the Winter Classic, which accounts for an absence extended beyond a month. The superstar was named the captain of Russia's Olympic team, an honor that brings with it a great deal of pressure and responsibility.
Head coach Mike Babcock commented on Sunday that Datsyuk still struggled with his leg injury and stated that he didn't know whether Datsyuk would be available for the Olympics, via Dmitry Chesnokov:
"I just watched him in practice, his one leg isn't holding up. Obviously, Pavel wants to play for his country, and he wants to be a part of things, but you got to be healthy.
"I'm not the doctor. I don't have a clue."
Manager Ken Holland commented on the topic a few days earlier and expressed that he didn't find it appropriate to tell a player whether or not they could participate in the Olympics, via the Toronto Sun:
"I don't believe I have the authority or the power to prevent someone from going to the Olympics. That's the player's call. When it comes to Pavel Datsyuk, I certainly understand the special opportunity he has, representing his country in his homeland, to be captain, to maybe win a gold medal in your home country, that will be with you for the rest of your life.
"Am I worried?" Of course, I'm worried. But I understand what an opportunity this is for every Russian and every other player. Pavel has a decision to make and I understand that it's his decision and I respect that its his decision."
The Red Wings have three games remaining before the tournament begins, which means Datsyuk might not play before the Olympic tournament. Canadian superstar Steven Stamkos is facing a similar predicament, as he is attempting to return from a serious leg injury with the ultimate goal of playing in Sochi. Stamkos recently stated he could make his return during the Games.
The same could also be true for Datsyuk.