Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/19/05 at 10:50 PM ET
Pavel Datsyuk will return to the Detroit Red Wings for the upcoming season, general manager Ken Holland said Monday. The Russian center will sign with the team and be in Detroit by the weekend, "unless I get a major curve thrown at me," Holland said. Datsyuk is a restricted free agent, who signed a contract with Avangard Omsk, which was then matched by Moscow Dynamo, the team that Datsyuk played with during the lockout in 2004-05. Both teams are in the Russian SuperLeague. Holland said he talked to Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, before Monday night's exhibition opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two sides have been negotiating since before the NHL lockout began on Sept. 16, 2004. "He said, 'We have a deal,'" Holland said of his conversation with Greenstin.
update 9:15pm, Wings looking for volunteers to travel to Siberia to pick up Datsyuk. Must be proficient in Russian and know how to operate James Bond-like devices. Driving in the dark and thru back roads is preferred.
update 11:47pm, Holland mentioned tonight that Datsyuk was in Moscow but has gone home to be with his wife for a few days then will head to Detroit. Pavel will not be at the arbitration meeting on Tuesday that is supposed to clear up what team he would have played for in Russia.
update 1:18am Tuesday, more on Datsyuk from the Detroit News,
Ken Holland said he expects Datsyuk to be in Detroit by the end of the week after talking Monday with Datsyuk’s agent, Gary Greenstin.
“Gary told me that Pavel has decided he wants to come back to Detroit,” Holland said. “At this stage in the game, it looks as if Pavel is returning to Detroit unless something gets derailed here in the next 24 to 48 hours. Certainly it’s an exciting day for the Red Wings.”
Datsyuk’s contract would be for two years and $7.6 million.
What makes the Wings hesitant is an arbitration hearing in Russia today between Avangard Omsk, which signed Datsyuk to a one-year contract this month, and Moscow Dynamo, which matched the offer.
The hearing supposedly will decide which of the teams holds Datsyuk’s rights in the Russian Superleague.
Datsyuk said in several Russian news reports last week that he is committed to play in Omsk this season but would like to return to the Wings eventually.
Russia is not part of an International Ice Hockey Federation agreement, so Datsyuk is easily capable of returning to North America without incurring a penalty from the Russian league.
“Over the last four or five days, I felt we were more and more of a legitimate option for Pavel,” Holland said.
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