The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/19/14 at 10:45 AM ET
Updated 6x at 12:08 PM:
Utterly stunning, and...Both heartening for Red Wings fans (as my pal Thomas on Twitter suggested) and devastating for the Russians' best player and captain, Pavel Datsyuk.
The Russians somehow came into their quarterfinal game against Finland, they scored the game's first goal (Kovalchuk via Datsyuk), and then they more or less went to sleep--Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, almost everybody but the man wearing #13, who tried to take the team onto his shoulders, and Malkin, who sparked himself awake later in the game--and surrendered a stunning, stunning 3-1 loss to Finland as a result.
Russia's most important team playing the most important sport at the perfect Olympic games have bowed out and are done--so Pavel may end up flying back to Detroit alongside his dear "buddy" Henrik Zetterberg tomorrow--and he ought to leave town before he's sent to Kamchatka or has to board a slow train to Kazakhstan to be shot into space with the rest of his teammates.
Datsyuk had a wonderful game at both ends of the ice and everywhere in between, but the Russian team was a political animal, and like the Winter Games, the KHL-heavy team never had any fit or finish in terms of puck-movement, intensity, determination or heart. The captain was sailing a ghost ship at times, and it's sailed.
Now Pavel Datsyuk will be able to come back to Detroit and rest that ailing left knee/groin/fallopian tube before the Wings go back to work and attempt to extend their 23-year playoff-making streak, but my goodness, if your heart doesn't sink for the man who I can only hope will still be playing NHL hockey for the Wings at 39 years of age...
Datsyuk had an assist, went 9-and-11 on faceoffs (surprisingly), took 2 shots andplayed 19:33.
Sometimes not even a great leader and a selfless player can lead a team of bad eggs--it's telling that KHL'ers Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov led Russian forwards' ice time with 23:15 and 20:00 played, that Datsyuk played 19:33--less than KHL defenseman Yevgeni Medvedev's 19:38--and according to NHL.com's Dan Rosen, it was Evgeni Malkin who pulled the goalie:
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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.