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McKenzie: It appears Datsyuk, Lidstrom will not play Tuesday

Bob McKenzie
1/27/2009 2:03:09 AM
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It appears certain that Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom will not play for the Detroit Red Wings in Columbus on Tuesday night, but the NHL Players' Association will file a grievance against the league on this issue.

That won't get either one of the two Red Wings into the game, though, because it's a "procedural" grievance and will take some period of time, probably weeks if not months, before it's heard. So the two Red Wings and Detroit management must adhere to an NHL policy that says designated players who do not attend the All-Star game and its festivities must miss one game, with pay, on either side of the weekend.

NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly said the NHLPA never agreed to the policy or has ever seen any written policy from the league addressing this issue. And that even though Marty Brodeur and Roberto Luongo sat out a game with pay after last year's All-Star game, that doesn't mean the NHLPA endorses the policy. Kelly did say, however, it's in everyone's best interests going forward to be served clear notice on what rules apply.

The league instituted this policy to dissuade players from rejecting All-Star game invitations in order to heal injuries or get more rest and believes it was correctly implemented.

This could leave the Red Wings short-staffed for the game as Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart are questionable with injuries. The Red Wings aren't thrilled with the ruling and don't understand why it became a cause celebre on All-Star weekend, but the league says the club was well aware of the policy and the consequences for Lidstrom and Datsyuk not being in Montreal. 

Bob McKenzie

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