Sunday, August 20, 2017

Yekaterinburg's Pavel Datsyuk scores as major NHL force

Pavel Datsyuk, considered one of the best two-way forwards in professional hockey, was born in Yekaterinburg on July 28, 1978.

Because of his smaller size growing up, Datsyuk was often overlooked despite his above-average hockey skills.

In the mid-1990s, however, the Dynamo Yekaterinburg farm club took notice and brought Datsyuk in. Under the tutelage of Olympic trainer Vladimir Krikunov, he began to draw wider attention.

Despite the added attention, Datsyuk was not drafted in the 1996 or 1997 NHL drafts. He instead went to play in the Russian Superleague, where he caught the eye of Red Wings Director of European Scouting Håkan Andersson.

Andersson, who was scouting Dmitri Kalinin, made a second trip to scout Datsyuk. The Red Wings then selected Datsyuk with the 171st pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Datsyuk was mentored by Soviet stars Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov in his first year with the Red Wings, eventually scoring three goals and recording three assists during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup run.

Datsyuk's second year with the Red Wings was cut short by injuries, but the departure of Sergei Fedorov during the 2003 off-season allowed Datsyuk to take the spotlight, earning a spot in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game.

During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Datsyuk played with HC Dynamo Moscow before signing a one year contract with Avangard Omsk of the Russian Superleague. Moscow Dynamo, however, matched the offer two days later.

On the day that the Russian Superleague's arbitration committee met to determine which club held Datsyuk's right, he agreed to a two year, $7.8 million deal with the Red Wings.

In his career, Datsyuk has been selected for our NHL All-Star games and won two Stanley Cups, four Lady Byng Memorial Trophies and three Frank J. Sleke's Trophies.

He also appeared in three Olympics for Russia, capturing the bronze medal in 2002, and five World Championships, winning the gold medal in 2012.