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The Malik Report

A pair of Winter Classic promos and a Datsyukian ‘most intriguing HBO 24/7 character’ endorsement

The NHL "officially" posted a slightly Leafy HBO 24/7 commercial today...

NBCSN posted its first Winter Classic promo, which leaked this morning...

And I simply cannot disagree with Sportsnet's Brett Popplewell's suggestion as to which player will be the "most intriguing character" of any of the players and coaches taking part in the HBO 24/7 experience:

They call him the Magic Man for the way he dangles the puck on ice. But inside the Red Wings dressing room Pavel Datsyuk is better known as the funny man, and not only because he dances to the tune of his own ringtone (James Brown’s “I Feel Good”) but because he gives amazing quotes like: “I want to be more shooter.”

He’s the most likeable player in the NHL, and arguably the most entertaining member of the Red Wings roster. But he’s also the hardest working man on skates most nights. We’ve become so accustomed to admiring his on ice prowess, we sometimes forget that for the first five years of his professional career he struggled to convince anyone outside Russia that he was any good.

But now he’s an institution unto himself: one of the only players left on the team who played alongside Red Wings greats like Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov. It was those last two who taught him how to speak English in 2001 when he got off the plane from Tatarstan and took his spot on a line between Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux (two men with whom he succeeded to score but struggled to communicate).

Those who know Datsyuk say he’s a true player’s player, which helps explain why he won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy four times in a row. But might he also be the type to sit down inside his mansion with a bowl of Frosted Flakes and watch himself on the morning highlight reel?

Regardless, expect Datsyuk to embody that old Chekhovian line: “Man is what he believes.”

Technically speakig, he says, "I need more shoot," he's from the Sverdlosk Oblast, not Tatarstan, and he lives in a large home, not a "mansion," but you get the picture, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he's one of the most intelligent people to ever have donned the Winged Wheel.

We'll see how far he's willing to pull back the curtain to show "where the magic happens," but I get the feeling that as much as we've been told that he's a hilarious prank-pulling jester, we're going to see a very serious, very religious and incredibly hard-working man go about his business in a very professional manner.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.