The Malik Report
Updated 6x at 7:39 PM: Here's a summary of the Datsyuk articles thus far:
1. The Associated Press offers the following...
Pavel Datsyuk said on Saturday that he will indeed play in the KHL next season.
The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as rumours of his intentions to play in Russia and be closer to his family surfaced at the beginning of April.
“It was not an easy decision but it’s time for us to return home,” said Datsyuk.
The soon-to-be 38-year-old has played his entire NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, who will now look to move the final year of his contract, which carries a $7.5-million cap hit.
2. The Free Press's Helene St. James weighed in...
from Kevin Woodley at NHL.com,
If there is one group in the NHL that won't be sad to see Pavel Datsyuk leaving, it's the goaltenders he tortured and toyed with during his 14 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.
"Especially that he's in our division," Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said with a laugh....
"I recall one week where they did the top-10 goals in the NHL and I was in two or three of them and Datsyuk scored all of them … in the same week," said Dan Ellis, who saw a lot of Datsyuk during his three seasons with the Nashville Predators from 2007-10, when both teams were in the Central Division. "Going up against him in a shootout you knew you were about to be embarrassed."
"When he is coming down you are almost nervous because you have seen him destroy guys," said Alex Auld, who stopped Datsyuk the only time he faced him in a shootout during his 10-season NHL career. "I was almost disappointed he didn't pull one of his 'A' moves on me."
Marty Turco wasn't as fortunate.
Turco was the first victim of a Datsyuk breakaway move now copied all over the world. Datsyuk was sent in alone late in the third period against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 12, 2003, and got Turco to bite on a fake to his forehand before toe-dragging the puck back behind him while cutting right with only his left skate on the ice, and lifting the puck into the open net.
"I like my ability to read guys, but he did that and I couldn't wait to jump in the corner like a fool," Turco said. "He was just so silky and so deft in his movements. You couldn't get a read on him. He was all-world. But at least I was the first one. I told the other guys, I don't know how they fell for it afterwards."
Updated 11x at 5:05 PM:
This is just raw audio, but it's what I've got, from the Datsyuk presser/Q and A (the "good stuff" starts at the 2-minute mark) and Datsyuk's agent's post-presser media scrum:
A stuffy room above Orchard Lake St. Mary's rink, a crowd of media members clutching sound recorders and focusing cameras on a dais, and an NHL player making an emotional yet distant admission that yes, he's going home to Russia.
The scene at Pavel Datsyuk's retirement-from-the-NHL presser was surreal, and as a fan, it was hard to listen to, even though we had all known that Datsyuk was probably leaving as soon as Mickey Redmond mentioned the possibility on a Wings broadcast just before Elliotte Friedman rocked the hockey world with his Saturday Headlines story.
Today, Datsyuk highlighted the difficulty of his decision-making process, still somewhat uncomfortable with the news he delivered in what was ultimately a 14-minute Q and A with Metro Detroit reporters:
Being there didn't make it any easier. It made it more surreal, harder to listen to and palpably painful. Now we await Ken Holland's 2 PM presser, a presser in which he's probably going to announce that he's traded Datsyuk's cap hit...
And I guess all that can be said is this: the day has come. Pavel Datsyuk has played his last game as a Red Wing, and while he will continue to hold hockey camps here in Metro Detroit, we're not going to see him around very often as he's decided to go home despite owing the Wings a year of service on a 35-and-up contract. For Datsyuk, the pull of family was too much to bear, and fatherhood too great a responsibility to shirk for one more year. Whether that's justification enough for his decision is up to you to decide.
Watch it below, via Fox2 Detroit.
George is at the Datsyuk press conference so I will be updating this post as the information flows in.
He made decision after his family vacation.
Sportsnet's John Shannon posted a pair of Tweets that may explain how Pavel Datsyuk will be allowed to play in the KHL despite having a year remaining on his NHL contract--which the KHL would have to honor under their Memorandum of Understanding with the NHL:
Of (mostly) Red Wings-related note this morning, from a blogger who's missed two days due to being sick as a dog:
1. The Wings posted a video chronicling the Gordie Howe visitation "From 9 to 9"...
2. Ansar Khan spoke with several Wings alums and Howe's contemporaries about #9's influence upon them;
3. AWood40 posted a clip of Pavel Datsyuk's playoff goals...
NHL.com's Mike G. Morrale spoke with Red Wings draft guru Hakan Andersson about his many late-round draft pick hits:
In 26 years with the Red Wings, Andersson has proven to be one of the top talent evaluators in the business, capable of unearthing that diamond in the rough that has helped sustain Detroit's run of success. Among them have been late-round picks like forward Pavel Datsyuk in the sixth round (No. 171) of the 1998 NHL Draft; forward Henrik Zetterberg in the seventh round (No. 210) in 1999 and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in the ninth round (No. 291) in 2002.
"Pavel Datsyuk played in a faraway place in Russia and there weren't many guys who saw him," Andersson said. "And to be honest, the fact we drafted him in the later rounds shows that maybe I didn't even believe in him that much at the time. If I would have known these players were this good, I would have pushed it and said, 'Let's draft them higher.' But I have to give a lot of credit to [former vice president/assistant general manager] Jim Nill, [former director of amateur scouting] Joe McDonnell and [general manager] Ken Holland for giving me the chance to make a pick in the late rounds."
General managers rely on their scouts to provide the necessary information when the clock is ticking at the NHL draft. It makes no difference whether it's a first- or seventh-round choice.
With the proper foresight to project a future star in the League, picks in the fifth round can turn out to be just as valuable as those in the first.
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