The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/14/13 at 09:01 PM ET
Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk was in New York, NY to take part in a photo shoot for Reebok and the 2014 Winter Classic, and he spoke to NHL.com's Tal Pinchevsky about playing in the first of six outdoor games scheduled for 13-14...
"I like it for the Red Wings and Toronto. Original Six, will be a good game between a Canadian team and American team," Datsyuk told NHL.com Friday. "Also for Michigan, the people need it now. The economy is low. Kids will see, and parents can explain how they played outside. I think it's unbelievable."
The big game at the Big House will be a special event for everyone involved, but particularly for young Red Wings Damien Brunner, Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser, who experienced a trial-by-fire this season. Datsyuk, having participated in the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago, will play a large role mentoring those players into the fabric of the team.
"We have a younger team now. But we're still a good team. When I came 11 years ago, there were a lot of veteran guys. Now the team is younger, younger, younger. But I'm older, older, older," Datsyuk said.
Thankfully, Datsyuk told Pinchevsky that a certain player who played into his 40's was an inspiration early on--in one Igor Larionov:
"He was a person who helped a lot in the beginning," Datsyuk said. "Not just from listening to him but watching. I'm a lucky guy because I not [only] just watched him play games. We enjoyed every day at practice. I learned from the best."
Despite guidance from one of his childhood idols, Datsyuk's debut in Detroit wasn't seamless. An unheralded sixth-round pick from the industrial city of Yekaterinburg in central Russia, Datsyuk had recently represented his country for the first time at the World Championship when he arrived in Traverse City for his first Red Wings training camp.
With few words of English and little experience living outside his home country, Datsyuk's first camp went from surreal to scary fairly quickly: the tragic events of Sept. 11 took place. It was a chilling moment for the 23-year-old."What really shocked me when I came to Traverse City was 9/11. I didn't speak English and I saw the TV and I couldn't understand what was going on," Datsyuk, 35 in July, said. "When we came to Detroit from Traverse City, they put me in the Marriot Hotel on the 40-something floor. I had never been high like that. On the bottom, the metro [subway] went by. I thought I was in the future. I couldn't believe it."
Well, now you're in 2014 and you're going to sign a long-term contract extension, right? So you can buy your jetpack!
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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.