At times this season, Pavel Datsyuk has had to remind himself exactly what he does.

He'll finally get an opportunity to ply his craft Friday when the Red Wings host the Sabres.

Datsyuk, who has been bothered by an inflamed knee, hasn't played since Feb. 27, and played four games total since participating in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.

He also played four games in the Winter Olympics -- with those four games he played with the Red Wings sandwiched around those games in Sochi.

So there hasn't been a ton of hockey played by Datysuk.

"Long time I don't play," said Datsyuk, who practiced Thursday on a line with Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, who'll he likely play with against the Sabres. "I forget I'm a hockey player. It's exciting to come back."

Datsyuk was shut down by the team March 5, given three weeks to rehabilitate and rest, and apparently it’s worked.