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Abel to Yzerman

Source in Detroit: Datsyuk’s Got One Year Left

Pavel Datsyuk turns 36 on July 20th, 2014.  That birthday will be celebrated a few months after the last minutes of hockey he'll ever  play for the Detroit Red Wings.  Next year will be his last in the NHL and that's according to a very reliable source in Detroit, someone close to the organization and entrenched in regional hockey programs.

Why? Datsyuk wants to go home.  We all understand that.  But according to this source, a guy who skates with at least one recently-retired Red Wing and whose family is a staple in the Michigan hockey world, it's not just the lure of mother Russia.

Datsyuk sees the realignment, knows the kind of nightly abuse he's going to take in the Eastern Conference and wants to "go out like Barry Sanders did."  Healthy, in other words. And he wants to give the KHL a few years of brilliance. He wants his home country to see him while he still has magic left. 

Interesting comparison to Barry Sanders isn't it?  Are you thinking about it? If not...go ahead.  A few similarities. Health, retirement at an early age, a career of brilliance in Detroit.

And stubborn coaches who refuse to budge, even if it means hamstringing their best players--and the team at the same time.

Barry Sanders left because of his relationship, or lack thereof, with Bobby Ross. 

Pavel Datsyuk hasn't scored a goal in 12 games.  He's had Justin Abdelkader on his wing since February 17th.  Datsyuk hasn't had a primary assist on an even strength goal scored by a forward since the day that line (with Dan Cleary up until last night, now with Johan Franzen) was formed.  It's unfathomable.  It's disgusting.  And it's all on Mike Babcock. 

I get it. I get the desire to go home. Loyalty's a powerful drug.  And it's admirable. Everything about Datsyuk is admirable.  Many of us wouldn't have been surprised if he'd elected to stay in Russia after Gary Bettman's third work stoppage, the second Datsyuk's had to endure.  If he'd stayed, not a single one of us would have begrudged him because he loves his country just as we love ours.  Patriotism. Nationalism. It's a strong pull for those who feel it.  And he does.

The Eastern Conference thing. Got that too.  Primeau.  Lindros. Crosby. Malkin. Pronger. Five big names from two different eras. All of them fuzzy from concussions.  All in the East.  Yes. The Western Conference has its share. Corey Perry's making sure of that.  But the East is a rougher conference. Always has been.  Datsyuk isn't scared of it. We've seen him give back.  But he wants to be sure the Russian people see him at his best, if only for one or two seasons.

He'll take that abuse next year and he won't complain one bit.  He's taking a different sort this year and saying nothing. Literally.  When's the last time you saw a quote from him, a funny clip, a post-game interview.  You haven't.  Not in at least a month.  Nik Kronwall, in case you haven't noticed, is the voice of this team. And that's fine.  But Datsyuk has fallen silent. 

On the ice and off, that is.  And that's on Mike Babcock.  He has silenced the most offensively gifted player to ever wear the Winged Wheel.  It's deplorable and it's an offense that should lead to his dismissal.

You have about 100 games of Pavel Datsyuk left.  Don't blame him. He's going home.  If it pisses you off,  turn your attention to the guys with the nice hair and the suits. One has let a team disintegrate without replacing or even offsetting big-name departures, and the other has somehow done what the rest of the league's never been able to accomplish: he's shut Datsyuk down.

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Comments

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Vladimir16's avatar

I think he’s gone as well and as I never got mad at Barry when he hung them up, because I understood why, I won’t get mad at Datsyuk either. If’n I was The Brass I’d give him one or two big mean scoring forwards to help and protect him. I don’t give two shits how they do it…. just do it. They did it with Yzerman in the old Norris days. Barry saw the writing on the wall and so does Pasha. This shit makes me sad downer

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/14/13 at 10:56 AM ET

FranzensMouthguard's avatar

this season and babcock have me in a constant “HEAD ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO FOREHEAD” mode all the time, ARRRGH

Posted by FranzensMouthguard from Chicago, IL on 03/14/13 at 11:03 AM ET

Heaton's avatar

I’m just as frustrated as you guys are about the line combos and KH refusal to replace the talent that’s left.  But regardless of whatever ‘source’ may be saying whatever, Datsyuk’s final straw isn’t because he had to play with Abdelkader and Cleary for 15 games.

As for Datsyuk himself and his play, it’s pretty incredible that Abdelkader only has like 1pt in all of his time playing with him.  Datsyuk is great, but he’s never really meshed with that many players nor has he really boosted the stats of his linemates like Rosby does with Dupuis and/or Kunitz (who both obviously have more skill than Datsyuk’s previous linemates). 

Fans will bitch and moan if Datsyuk leaves, but Datsyuk doesn’t seem like the type of guy who will take one season like this and leave, I think if he’s leaving, he’s had his decision made up for a few years now. 

KH needs to do a better job re-building this team and while Datsyuk definitely has many good years left, he will be 36.  His time of being one of Detroit’s best players won’t fade that quickly, but it is fading.

Posted by Heaton on 03/14/13 at 11:08 AM ET

Heaton's avatar

Oh, and another scary thing?  The thought of signing Howard to a 7 year 35m deal.  Jesus Christ.

Posted by Heaton on 03/14/13 at 11:10 AM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
I CAN’T HEAR YOU

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 03/14/13 at 11:21 AM ET

Avatar

Datsyuk is great, but he’s never really meshed with that many players nor has he really boosted the stats of his linemates like Rosby does with Dupuis and/or Kunitz (who both obviously have more skill than Datsyuk’s previous linemates).

There isn’t much Datsyuk can do when he is playing with guys who can’t handle the puck and/or can’t skate like Cleary, no matter how good he is. How many times have we seen Datsyuk make a nice place to Franzen who shoots 5 feet over the net.
Things have been going downhill ever since Holland let Hossa walk in favor of Franzen and Hudler.

Posted by George0211 on 03/14/13 at 11:30 AM ET

JesGolbez's avatar

knows the kind of nightly abuse he’s going to take in the Eastern Conference

The Western Conference style of game has always struck me as faster, more intense, and more physically challenging. Eastern Conference games always seem a bit slower, albeit with more thuggery.

Posted by JesGolbez from Burnaby, BC on 03/14/13 at 11:34 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

This is what a dying dynasty sounds like.

I was hoping to see #13 in the rafters (next to all the goal tender jock straps), but if he leaves after next year, I can’t imagine they’ll retire his number. Clearly, he is one of the greatest two-way players ever to hit the ice. It makes me sad to watch him be so underutilized this season.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/14/13 at 11:35 AM ET

Heaton's avatar

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/14/13 at 11:35 AM ET

Even if he plays for 5 more years the chances of him having his number retired is slim.

Posted by Heaton on 03/14/13 at 11:42 AM ET

Avatar

I saw this coming when they reported him not wanting to leave Russia earlier this year. I just knew it. I admire him for it.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the team, or who has been playing on his line. It has everything to do with family. Family comes first. If you had the chance to live in your home country with your wife and kids, get paid big money to play, and be a national icon, wouldn’t you take it? I sure as hell would.

It’s been an amazing run for Pasha and I’m grateful to have called him a Red Wing. He is a hockey dynamo.


NOW down to business.. DO. NOT. OVERPAY. FILPPULA.
We all know it’s going to happen. So I’m just gonna start grabbing my ankles now.
As a resident of the great Hockeytown, I have my torch & pitchfork ready. All eyes are on KH to take this club off of life support and put them back in the front running.

Posted by Hockeytown_Kyle on 03/14/13 at 11:50 AM ET

Avatar

I’ve heard that rumor from someone who skates with several Wings alumni too, and I think he’s gone too, but that doesn’t guarantee he will be gone as your pronouncement indicates.

Honestly, I would have traded him over the summer b/c this team had no chance to win a cup with him.  And the team’s performance and Babs’ stubbornness this year hasn’t changed my mind one bit. 

The dude is awesome, we all know that, but by the time the rest of the team gets good enough to contend again, he’ll be well past his prime even in the 33% chance he signs a 3-4 year deal to stay.  Might as well get something really, really good for him while you can.  His lack of recent production wouldn’t deter suitors from throwing the world at Detroit to get him right now.

Posted by jkm2011 on 03/14/13 at 11:50 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

We need to get him a countryman or two in the locker room.  Preferably ones that can play on his line.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 03/14/13 at 11:50 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

We need to get him a countryman or two in the locker room.  Preferably ones that can play on his line.

Shame that Semin didn’t accept our offer. Wait…

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/14/13 at 11:53 AM ET

Colquhoun's avatar

I was hoping to see #13 in the rafters (next to all the goal tender jock straps), but if he leaves after next year, I can’t imagine they’ll retire his number.

I disagree.  As petulant as the suits on this team seem to be I fully expect #13 to be raised to the rafters with “Koslov” emblazoned on it.

I was willing to forgive what seemed to be a passive-aggressive showing of Yzerman the door.  As much as we love #19 he had given all.

This one has a permanent residence in the craw.

Posted by Colquhoun on 03/14/13 at 11:58 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I like our team.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 12:04 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

Man, haven’t had a good cry in awhile. Thanks, Master Chief.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 03/14/13 at 12:11 PM ET

Avatar

Don’t worry.  Kenny’s working on a deal that will bring Ville Leino back, so we won’t have to worry about filling Datsyuk’s shoes when he leaves.

Also?  I don’t believe Datsyuk has made up his mind before ever playing a game in the Eastern Conference and I won’t until it comes from him.

I was willing to forgive what seemed to be a passive-aggressive showing of Yzerman the door.

What?

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 12:12 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Things have been going downhill ever since Holland let Hossa walk in favor of Franzen and Hudler.

Posted by George0211 on 03/14/13 at 11:30 AM ET

I would go back to July 30, 2008 when Bowman left town.  Holland has yet to prove that he’s a savvy GM when standing on his own 2 feet.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 03/14/13 at 12:23 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Sometimes reading this blog makes me think of that hilarious “Who’s More Grizzled?” SNL sketch with Garth Brooks, Norm MacDonald, and Robert Duvall.


“The day I heard Pavel Datsyuk was leavin’ for Russia, I ain’t never wished more that there was a god in heaven…and I was never more certain that they wasn’t.”

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/14/13 at 12:26 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I just finished reading the LB and while I was hearing the blues, y’all were living the blues. And now this?

The Ilitches, KH and the rest of the brain trust need to cold-hearted, cutthroat and make the hard choice that is the only choice for the long-term health of the franchise. TRADE PAVEL.

It is incompetence of the highest order to let one of the most talented assets in NHL history WALK and receive nothing in return. Even as a rent-a-player for 1.5 seasons, Pavs is worth at least a first rounder and more.

jkm is right, this team is not going to win anything anytime soon. Trade him for as many high picks as possible.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/14/13 at 12:35 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Wouldn’t be at all surprised, and wouldn’t blame him a bit. 

I started expecting this when I looked at videos people were posting of him playing in Russia during the lockout.  He just looked so damned happy it made me cry.

He deserves to be happy.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/14/13 at 12:38 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Trade him?  No way in hell.

Filppula?  Yep.

Mule?  If anyone would take on his contract, sure.

But Pasha?  Sorry.  No.  I don’t care what they could get for him.  I really don’t.  Sometimes, loyalty IS more important.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/14/13 at 12:40 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Trade him for as many high picks as possible.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 03/14/13 at 12:35 PM ET

Disgusting.  But I don’t disagree completely.  If he’s gonna go, and I fully believe he will, losing him for nothing is criminal. 

But if we send him to a contender, what kind of picks could we expect?  Nothing high. 

Kenny…just a note, in case you’re paying attention:  Wing fans are discussing whoring out Pavel Datsyuk at the trade deadline.  Does that seem odd or unsettling to you?

BYBB.  As in, “Bring Yzerman Back, Bitches”.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/14/13 at 12:44 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

In other news, my unnamed source says that monkeys are currently flying out of my azz in record numbers.


The above statement brought to you by someone just as credible as the above unnamed source.

Just people trying to rattle cages and create internet traffic.

Posted by wedge56 on 03/14/13 at 12:44 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Two things come to mind. 

1. Kenny may have lost it.  I personally think he’s tired of this game, and Jim NIll deserves his chance.

2. Kenny and Babcock may be locking horns.  I say this because there is so much double standard shit between them.  Like Kenny saying that they won’t bring up Nyquist unless he plays top-six minutes, then Babcock slotting him in the 3rd line.  That sounds like Mike saying to Kenny, don’t tell me how to run my team. 

My suggestion.  Kenny fire Mike, and then fall on his own sword.  Be done with it.

Does Stevie want to coach?  Is Blashill ready? 

It occurs to me: have we signed one premier FA since Babcock came on board besides Hossa?

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/14/13 at 12:44 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Just people trying to rattle cages and create internet traffic.

Posted by wedge56 on 03/14/13 at 12:44 PM ET

Exactly, Richard.  Because I’ve always been about the traffic.  Let me put it this way: I may fuch around when the situation calls for it, but I’d never post something like that unless I was highly confident it wasn’t BS. It’s not.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/14/13 at 12:46 PM ET

Avatar

Sometimes, loyalty IS more important.

Absolutely agree.  100%.

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 12:47 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Exactly, Richard.  Because I’ve always been about the traffic.  Let me put it this way: I may fuch around when the situation calls for it, but I’d never post something like that unless I was highly confident it wasn’t BS. It’s not.

Chief, I didn’t know you were tight with Darren Elliot.  wink

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/14/13 at 12:49 PM ET

Avatar

Datsyuk sees the realignment, knows the kind of nightly abuse he’s going to take in the Eastern Conference

Hmm.  All these years all I’ve heard is how desperately disadvantaged the Wings are by being in the West.  Turns out there were some advantages to it, after all, which apparently someone is finally willing to cop to? interesting.

Posted by Lex Talionis on 03/14/13 at 12:50 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Chief, I didn’t know you were tight with Darren Elliot.  wink

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/14/13 at 12:49 PM ET

Ha…exactly, MS.  We’re BFF.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/14/13 at 12:50 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Sometimes, loyalty IS more important.
Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/14/13 at 12:40 PM ET

Two things. Loyalty is a two way street. Doesn’t Pavs owe some loyalty to the Ilitches, the Wings and Wings fans? And what about the loyalty between the Wings and their fans? Shouldn’t the Wings be loyal to us by making the best hockey decisions possible and not wasting their most valuable hockey asset? Even when those decisions are very hard to make?

TPH made some noise about returning to Sweden, but the rumors were never as strong or confirmed as they are with Pavs. Basically, Pavs is a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta that the Wings own and they have no insurance. On 7/20/2014 the Wings know that that Ferrari is going to get stolen and theys will be out of luck with nothing to show for it.

It is a really stupid decision.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/14/13 at 12:54 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Sometimes, loyalty IS more important.
Absolutely agree.  100%.
Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 12:47 PM ET

But most of the time loyalty is for suckers

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/14/13 at 12:56 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Hmm.  All these years all I’ve heard is how desperately disadvantaged the Wings are by being in the West.  Turns out there were some advantages to it, after all, which apparently someone is finally willing to cop to? interesting.

Whatever “advantages” are being “copped to”? They pale compared to the violations the Wings have suffered at the hands of Gary Bettman. He’s been shafting this team for years with his empty promises of realignment. Detroit carried the Western Conference for more than a decade.  It was Detroit who filled Phoenix and Nashville, Anaheim and Dallas arenas…and literally every other WC venue. Either the hatred of the Wings or the transplants.  Detroit supported this league and that midget commissioner and were repeatedly lied to in return. 

The travel alone is enough reason the Wings absolutely need to be in the East.  They were disadvantaged. But, woops, they still won 4 Cups while Gary tried to shove it in further.  So, yeah, I’ll go ahead and “cop” to that.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/14/13 at 12:59 PM ET

gt500x's avatar

Loyalty can kiss my behind.  Dats WILL leave in the next two years. Get something in return for him? Do you really think Dat’s feelings will be hurt? He’s ready to go.  In fact, he probably wants to jump this sinking ship right now. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Posted by gt500x on 03/14/13 at 01:03 PM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

I don’t blame Pavel at all.  Pav and Z get abused constantly.  Our deterent of a lethal powerplay evaporated two seasons ago.  KH has done little else to protect his stars.

Honestly, this makes last year’s inaction that much worse.  With Pav, Z, Lids, (Kronner and Stu)  and a good goalie in Howard, that was our last chance at a legitimate run with this core.  I’m not saying we should have peddled our 1st rounbd pick for a Paul Guasted, but really, did we do much better with Quincy? 

I feel like the organization owed Dats and Lids more support last year to make a run at it.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 03/14/13 at 01:06 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Hmm, Trade Datsyuk. A little over a month ago, quite the discussion back then too.

And to wedg56, create internet hits?  So wrong.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 03/14/13 at 01:09 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

The benefit was not playing in a conference with Matt Cooke’s and Rinaldo’s and Marchand’s, a conference where STeve Ott is a top 6 foward…


I like our team.

You’re not gonna win it every year.

Lidstrom was a generational talent.

We’ve had injuries.

Once we have a fully healthy team we’ll be a better team.

Getting injured bodies back is like a deadline pick-up.

We don’t want to mortgage the future.

With parity anymore, all you have to do is make the playoffs then it’s wide open.

 

 

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 01:12 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Dats is a diamond. A pure class act that will do his job and not bitch. I’ve loved the guy(as much as any straight man could) since I first heard about him. I will never say a bad thing about him and wish him well whatever he decides to do. This is a warning shot very similar to nearing the ending of #5’s career. Look what moves were made to prepare for it: none. Lets see what approach and preparation(s) will be taken this time.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/14/13 at 01:12 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Garth on 03/14/13 at 12:12 PM ET

Agree completely with everything you said in your post.

It occurs to me: have we signed one premier FA since Babcock came on board besides Hossa?

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/14/13 at 12:44 PM ET

We were capped out the year after that signing, and UFAs are harder to come by than they used to be due to the raised requirements for eligibility and the salary cap. Not really a fair knock on KH or Babs, and there are plenty of fair ones to be made.

I actually agree with you that it seems KH and Babcock are not on the same page. In past years, even the tough injury riddled years they’ve had recently, they seemed on the same page. The plan was to utilize their best asset—veteran experience and leadership, hang in there, and let health improve the team.

This year, Babcock is the one behind the bench that is staring at the difficult task of getting a Lidstrom-less team that is riddled with injuries into the playoffs… and oh, by the way, he has to do it in half the sample size of games. To me, this explains why he’s done things like sit Ian White, or even, as crazy as it sounds, play the absurd Pav/Home Keys/Cleary line. We may disagree with him for these decisions (and maybe for good reason, too), but he’s in a situation where he has to make really tough choices about his lineup and who to play where because every game is close to make-or-break. In an 82 game season with Nick Lidstrom playing god on the blue line, maybe you let Ian White ride out a slump, and take your chances playing Pav with unproven rookies/prospects as a shot in the dark.

Again, not to say I agree with the decision to have that line together (especially not after it has been ineffective for almost a month). But I can understand some stubbornness from Babs given the spot he’s been forced into.

To me, the future of Ken Holland depends how he handles reacting to the events of this season. He has to know that squeezing into the playoffs, and at best maybe upsetting someone in round one, is not good enough for the Detroit Red Wings. If they don’t have a team that can contend for the Cup, then they shouldn’t be trying to add ancillary pieces to it to make incremental improvements. They should be figuring out what realistic options they have to get the club back to competing for the division, conference, and Cup. And I’m sorry, unless there’s a trade out there we can’t possibly foresee for a player like Drew Doughty or Shea Weber, this team is not a move or two away from contending again.

As such, unless tonite starts a massive turnaround of epic proportions, he needs to get on the phone ASAP, cash in best as he can on veteran guys with expiring contracts (that is, the types of guys contenders are always looking for at the deadline) like Filppula, Cleary, and White, and get ready to make more hard decisions in the off season.

This is something he’s never had to do. They’ve always been able to rebuild on the fly. And all is not lost—the core of the team is still solid if you look at Z, Pav, Kronwall, and Howard. The cupboard is full of skilled forwards to replace a Filppula and even a Cleary who has popped 20 goals and regularly held a scoring line spot. For me, it all comes down to the D. There is nobody particularly exciting in the pipeline on the back end. Fortunately, Smith looks legit. Lashoff was a nice surprise, but to me still has a ceiling (a nice one, to be sure) of a solid #4 or #5 that can play the PK sometimes. It is all about how they can get the D to improve, and short of waiting multiple years for the great white buffalo to hit the UFA market again (like Suter last season), and getting incredibly lucky in the trade market, we need high draft picks to make it happen.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/14/13 at 01:14 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

How many times have we heard those taglines?  How many years going?  I mean, identical, he’s says ver batum the SAME SHIT.

Let me axe you.

Does that sound like a Winner or Loser?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/14/13 at 01:15 PM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com