Detroit Red Wings: Getting nostalgic about Pavel Datsyuk

Octopus Thrower

On Tuesday night, I sat down to watch the Detroit Red Wings game against the San Jose Sharks. It was great to see them cap off the win in overtime, but something during the Bally Sports Detroit telecast caught my eye.

Detroit Red Wings announcers Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond shared laughs after the crew showed highlights of Pavel Datsyuk deking Logan Couture out of his skates. It triggered nostalgia for the days when Datsyuk was putting on highlight reel plays night in and night out.

They showed a clip of Datsyuk in the corner working laterally to beat Couture when he fell over because of Datsyuk’s quick hands and shifty movements. This reminded me of the time that Datsyuk made a shifty move that resulted in two Sharks players colliding as they were trying to hit him.

Here’s the thread with the clip posted.

But the point is, this all left me thinking back to Datsyuk’s times with the Red Wings. Datsyuk was a wizard, and that’s partly why his nickname was “The Magic Man.” Thinking back on all the highlight-reel plays he’s had throughout his career, it was hard not to remember the good times.

The years of Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg carrying the Red Wings offense with a whole cast of players whom fans would love to see suit up once again. Datsyuk’s hands were unreal, and watching him go out there and make some of the games’ best look silly was a treat.

Getting nostalgic about Pavel Datsyuk’s time with the Detroit Red Wings.

Datsyuk’s last game played for the Red Wings came in 2015-16 before he opted to retire from the NHL and head back to Russia to finish his career in the KHL. As Ken and Mick indicated during the telecast, he has finally hung up the skates after a lengthy career that spanned 14 years in the NHL and then five more seasons in the KHL.

Just thinking back, he provided some of the best Red Wings memories of the late 2000s. He always had it out for the Nashville Predators and the then-Phoenix Coyotes. He always got it done between jaw-dropping dekes to create space in the offensive zone or putting the puck on a string to beat Thomas Vokoun and Pekka Rinne.

Against Phoenix, Datsyuk just always seemed to bust out the moves, being shifty and finding ways to make defenders look silly. The Sharks, though already mentioned, were another team that Datsyuk always seemed to show out.

After all, he showed out every game. The skills were Hockey Hall of Fame caliber and should land him there someday down the road. But this clip shown during the telecast really got me thinking of all the good times that Red Wings hockey contributed to my childhood.

Obviously, all of you readers are of different age groups, so some may have been in their 40s when the Red Wings won the cup in ’08, or some may have been in their 60s, or heck, some may have been in their 20s. But from the vantage point of someone who was a kid watching Datsyuk and is in their early-20s realizing the greatness they got to see, it was special.

Remembering when he buried a shootout goal against Antti Niemi, using his patented little flip move became one of my favorites. All of the shootout moves and the in-game puck control were things that my friends and I tried to replicate in our game, like many other youngsters who watched the Red Wings during that time.

Watching Datsyuk and all of the Red Wings from that time really was a special time for fans in Hockeytown. I may have been young, but getting to watch those players felt like a treat. I’m sure many fans would agree; it would be awesome to go back and watch Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and the early 2000s Red Wings play once again.

But, lucky for Red Wings fans, things are going in the right direction. Things are progressing, even if it feels like things are stalling and taking too much time. With the biggest hang-up amongst most Red Wings fans being the Dylan Larkin contract saga, things will be fine.

The Yzerplan term gets thrown around aplenty, but stick with it. The team has shown flashes of what they can be. The younger players have shown development; look at players like Jonatan Berggren and Michael Rasmussen.

Things are going in the right direction, and Red Wings hockey will be dominant once again. It just takes time. We can now enjoy some nostalgia for better times and prepare for the Red Wings to take on Montreal ahead of the 2023 All-Star Break.

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