Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/21/10 at 08:17 PM ET
from Rory Boylen of The Hockey News,
The best Russian in the NHL today, clearly, is Datsyuk.
Datsyuk beat out Joe Thornton on THN’s all-decade team at the center position – and Thornton had scored the most points of anyone in that 10-year span. It’s not always about points when you’re talking best player, not that Datsyuk lacks in that department. He has been remarkably consistent with seasons of 87, 87, 97 and 97 points in the first four post-lockout seasons. Yes, he did dip to 26th in scoring with 70 points last season (which still ain’t bad), but he led the league in takeaways by an astounding 49 en route to his third straight Selke Trophy. The only other player to win three Selkes in a row is Bob Gainey, who won the first four, and he never scored more than 45 points.
While the argument can certainly be made Datsyuk has better support players than his counterparts, it should be noted the Red Wings have been through a bit of a transitional period themselves. In the past six years, with stars aging and new players coming along, the Wings haven’t missed a step thanks largely to the consistency of players such as Datsyuk.
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