Draper also not expected to play

Updated: May 30, 2009, 8:26 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

DETROIT -- Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk will not play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, despite his assertion he is a game-time decision.

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Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Saturday morning that the Hart Trophy candidate will be unavailable for the fourth straight game because of a foot injury. Veteran checking forward Kris Draper, who has been out with a lower-body injury, likewise will miss Game 1.

However, the Red Wings' blue line will be bolstered by the return of six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, who skated again Saturday morning and said he's ready to go. He missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.

Rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson also will return to the lineup after having an emergency appendectomy Wednesday prior to Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Ericsson recalled how he hobbled from his hospital bed to a car and drove to Joe Louis Arena to watch the game. His girlfriend drove him home, because he wasn't supposed to drive.

There is some pain, he said, but doctors have assured him he can do no further damage by playing.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer