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Slink, slank, slunk: It’s no news that Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk’s nearly unstoppable

Yahoo Sports’ Justin Bourne pondered the difficulties of attempting to defend against Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, suggesting that Datsyuk’s combination of tremendous strength, impeccable stickhandling and a limitless amount of creativity makes Datsyuk so inherently unpredictable that attempting to defeat #13 is almost always a losing proposition:

He changes the pace with a sharp fluidity, if that’s possible, and they seem to know — if we go at him because he’s stopped, he’s going to dish to a linemate flying into the zone and we’d be hosed. If we give him space, well, then we’ve just given Pavel Datsyuk time and space in the offensive zone, which is just about as petrifying a concept as watching Gretzky with it, the father of the jam-packed arsenal.

He’s one of the rare players in the league that nobody has a book on because of that seemingly endless creativity, his inability to get stuck in one mode which so many other forwards succumb to. It’s easy to get locked in — “I’m shooting here” — yet he seems to have no lock.

In these playoffs, he’s transcended being “one of the league’s great players,” and joined the upper echelon which once housed only Crosby and Ovechkin. And while Ovy seemed to have one foot out the door this season and Stamkos is still on the long journey to see if the club will someday accept him, it seems that Datsyuk has walked in the back door.

His game has no excess, just artistry. Somehow he’s flashy but not showy, confident but not cocky, and along the way he helps folks remember what being a “fan” is supposed to be like.

The way the older generation discusses the greats of the game before us, deifying the heroes that brought them so much joy, I’ll tell my kids about watching him at his prime.

With all due respect, Datsyuk was in the “upper echelon” by the time the Wings won the Cup in 2008. He’s just finally getting the notoriety he’s deserved for a long time now, and at 32 going on 33, he works do damn hard on both physical fitness and trying to come up with new ways to defeat his opponents via experimentation at the end of every practice that he’s not going to slow down for a long, long time.

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Comments

Avatar

I agree with you, but I kinda agree with the original article, too

I think Pavs was “upper echelon” in 2008, as much as you do
But I also think he’s even better today

Right now, I dont think anyone can match him
This has been his best year so far.

Just for fun, compare Red Wing’s regular season records and stats while he was on the team, and while he was injured
The difference is just mind boggling

Posted by Zqto from Brazil on 05/12/11 at 04:02 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

Bourne is a tool.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 05/12/11 at 04:11 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I saw Pavel play his very first NHL game on October 12 2002, IN San Jose.
I thought “what the hell is this guy doing on the Wings roster???”. He spent more time picking himself up off the ice you couldn’t see his #‘s half of the time.
Boy-oh-boy was I wrong. Prove me wrong again tonight.
LOVE ME SOME DANGLE.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/12/11 at 04:43 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...to earn the label “gentlemanly” takes it to a whole other level. The best defensive defensemen in the league can certainly make no such claim…

Excuse me? The best defenseman in the league (“defensive” and “offensive”) not only can make that claim, he’s nominated for the Lady Byng this year (and should have been nominated for it many times before).

I get the guy’s point, but he should at least get his facts straight when it comes to one of Pavel’s own teammates.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/12/11 at 04:47 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Posted by MOWingsfan19 on 05/12/11 at 03:43 PM ET

Correction to my post, it was October 10th not 12th.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/12/11 at 04:52 PM ET

awould's avatar

I think he’s risen to a higher level just since these playoffs started. He just gets better and better. I expect him to have a huge night.

Posted by awould on 05/12/11 at 05:41 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

he’s transcended being “one of the league’s great players,” and joined the upper echelon

He’s been there for some time now, you just never noticed.

He is Magically Delicious.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 05/12/11 at 06:08 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

he’s transcended being “one of the league’s great players,” and joined the upper echelon
He’s been there for some time now, you just never noticed.
He is Magically Delicious.
Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 05/12/11 at 05:08 PM

He is the upper echelon.

Ovie and Cindy aren’t fit to carry his jock.

Even Ovie’s fellow Russians know it; they voted Pavs as the best Russian in the NHL this season. And Cindy, he may have decent vision, hockey sense, and above-average passing skills, but only a basement-dwelling pensblog fan boi would think she was in the same league as Pavs.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/12/11 at 06:13 PM ET

TheRealYooper's avatar

Phil Esposito, picked the Red Wings to win today, on the XM program, In the Slot at 5:55 Thrusday.

Pavel Datsyuk, with the game winning goal.

Posted by TheRealYooper from within sight of the edge of the Earth. on 05/12/11 at 07:01 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Even Todd McLellan said:  “If he’s not the best player in the world, he’s in the top 3.”

Pav!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/12/11 at 07:51 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

With all due respect, Datsyuk was in the “upper echelon” by the time the Wings won the Cup in 2008. He’s just finally getting the notoriety he’s deserved for a long time now

Amen !!! 

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 05/12/11 at 09:19 PM ET

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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.