Pavel Datsyuk took in the question, which figured to go down like milk that is 30 days past its expiration date. One look at the Detroit Red Wings center's face confirmed this notion.

"What will it be like to play without Nicklas Lidstrom this coming season?" Datsyuk was asked at the NHL Awards media gathering on Tuesday at the Wynn hotel and casino.

Datysuk, up again for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward, had already given this question some thought it seemed.

"It's been like a dream. A bad dream. A nightmare," he replied. "I keep thinking I'll see him again soon in [training camp], just like always. I keep telling myself this, thinking it will come true. I can't believe this has happened."