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Magic Man Making Comeback? Russian Coach Asked Ex-Red Wings Star Datsyuk to Play

Datsyuk hasn’t played since the 2020-21 season

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Pavel Datsyuk, former Red Wings
Former Red Wings magic man Pavel Datsyuk was asked to make a comeback in the KHL.

Former Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is filling a new role with HC Avtomobilist of the KHL. The coach of the team was asking him if he was maintaining any interest in filling his old role with the club.

HC Avtomobilist head coach Nikolai Zavarukhin recently was telling Ivan Bohun of Sport-Express.ru that he spoke with the Magic Man to gauge his interest in returning to the ice.

“We communicate with him,” Zavarukhin said. “I suggested that he put on his uniform with number 13 again and return to Avtomobilist. But it was more in the form of a joke.”

Earlier this summer, at the farewell match of former NHLer Alexander Semin, Datsyuk, 44, was suggesting that he would soon be announcing his retirement as an active player. Over two months later, that date still hasn’t arrived.

“When he announces his retirement – the question is more for him,” Zavarukhin said.

With the Red Wings from 2001-16, Datsyuk was a winner of two Stanley Cup rings. Individually, he also won four Lady Byng Trophies and three Selke Trophies. Datsyuk and Steve Yzerman are the only players in Red Wings history to record successive 90-point seasons.

For his homeland of Russia, Datysuk earned both an IIHF World Championship title and an Olympic gold medal. He’s also won a Gagarin Cup KHL title.

Datsyuk Teaching The Youngsters

These days when he’s on the ice Datsyuk is spending time with the younger players of HC Avtomobilist to help them work toward increasing their skill level.

“Pavel is involved in the development of young players,” Maxim Ryabkov, director of HC Avtomobilist, explained on the club’s website. “In many clubs in the KHL, skilled hockey players now occupy such positions and perform similar functions.

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“Pavel showed great interest precisely in the individual development of the main talents of our club system – our main prospects, which we see and which he himself sees. He is also the head coach of the youth team.”

Datsyuk produced 12-23-35 totals in 51 games for HC Avtomobilist during the 2020-21 season. Following that season he was presented with two KHL awards. The league was presenting Datsyuk with The Sergei Gimayev Prize for loyalty to hockey as a top veteran player. He also won MasterCard Priceless Player Of The Season.

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