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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Pavel Datsyuk healthy for Russia

By Pierre LeBrun
ESPN.com

SOCHI, Russia -- Star center Pavel Datsyuk practiced for the first time Tuesday with Russia and proclaimed himself fit to start the tournament.

"Excellent," the Detroit Red Wings star center told reporters when asked how he was feeling after missing Monday's opening practice.

Then asked on his injury which kept him out about a month with Detroit, he said: "What injury?"

Russia opens Thursday against Slovenia and Datsyuk says he'll be there.

"Yes. I'll play in the first game," said Datsyuk, who skated Tuesday between Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

It's clear there's no way Datsyuk would miss a chance to play for Russia in a home Olympics, saying he's been preparing for it "all of my life."

"It's a good feeling," added Datsyuk. "Now, to come back and play in a home Olympics in front of your fans. It's an unbelievable feeling."