Hatcher Out 4-6 Months

Archived from 2003-04 season.

NHL teams

The Detroit Red Wings will miss defenseman Derian Hatcher for four to six months after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"Very disappointing for him, individually," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "Just getting familiar with everybody, just getting into the swings of things, and he's going to be out now for a while. He's an important player for our team."

Hatcher was hurt when he got tangled up with Vancouver's Markus Naslund and Bryan Allen during the first period of Detroit's 3-2 victory Thursday. He left the game after playing 1 minute and 45 seconds, and did not return.

"It's a big loss," captain Steve Yzerman said. "Derian's a pretty big impact player. Just his presence alters the way other teams play because they have to have their head up coming through the neutral zone and in our end of the rink."

The Wings signed Hatcher in July as an unrestricted free agent to a five-year, $30-million contract. He was the runner-up in voting last season for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top defenseman.

"This happened very, very early in the season, so he will be back," Detroit defenseman Jiri Fischer said. "I'm sure he's going to be a lot stronger than he was when it happened and he'll be a force in the playoffs."

Hatcher, who played the first 12 seasons of his NHL career with the Dallas Stars, is expected to undergo surgery within a few weeks, as soon as the swelling and trauma have subsided. The Red Wings hope he will be able to return in time for the playoffs.

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