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Red Wings’ Datsyuk Gets The Call From the Hall

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Pavel Datsyuk, former Red Wings

Pavel Datsyuk, known as the Magic Man during his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, will now be taking his act to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Datsyuk, 45, will be inducted at a ceremony Nov. 11 in Toronto. The Russian standout, elected in his first year of eligibility, will join a class that also includes former NHLers Jeremy Roenick and Shea Weber, plus long-time NHL general manager David Poile, plus U.S. women’s stars Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell-Pohl and league executive Colin Campbell. The latter is a former Red Wings player (1982-85) as well.

“Of course I’m pumped,” Datsyuk said. “Exciting. Maybe nervous before and now I’m like a boy, I’m happy.”

Detroit’s 2002 Team Special

Datsyuk is the 10th player from Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup team to enter the Hall.

“You need good people around you who do same as you do,” Datsyuk said. ” Of course, I’m proud. They give me the trophy but I appreciated people around me who helped me. How many practices we do together and hard work together.”

Players around the NHL routinely voted Datsyuk the player they liked to watch on video in the NHL Players Association Annual poll. He was a superb stickhandler, and controlled the puck like he was working a yo-yo.

“Pavel was one of the most talented players in league history. (He) had Red Wings fans around the world on the edge of their seats every time he touched the puck,” said Red Wings CEO and governor Chris Ilitch. “Throughout his career, he was consistently recognized for his stellar defensive play, a testament to how great of an all-around talent he truly was.”

Weber said Datsyuk was one of the league’s hardest players to defend against. “It wasn’t fun to be sure,” said Weber, remembering it was particularly challenging when Weber was young.

World-Class Skill

Datsyuk played 14 seasons with the Red Wings from 2001-16 and ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders with 953 games played (T9th), 314 goals (8th), 604 assists (6th), 918 points (7th), a plus-249 rating (3rd), 97 power play goals (9th), 330 power play points (6th), eight overtime goals (5th), 51 game-winning goals (8th) and 2,244 shots (9th). Datsyuk was honored as one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players during the league’s centennial celebration in 2017.

“Pavel’s world-class skills made him one of the best one-on-one players of all time.  But his high-end compete and work ethic separated him from his peers,” said Datsyuk former teammate, Steve Yzerman. “He was a dynamic force who excelled at both ends of the ice and in all situations. He was an exceptional player and will rightfully take his place amongst the game’s greats in November.”

Datsyuk was selected to four NHL All-Star Games (2004, 2008, 2009, 2012). Datsyuk was named the recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy four consecutive times from 2005-06 to 2008-09. That award is presented annually “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” He also earned the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward in three consectutive seasons (2007-08 to 2009-10). Additionally, Datsyuk won the NHL Plus-Minus Award in 2007-08 after leading all skaters with a plus-41 rating.

Datsyuk’s selection perhaps now puts Henrik Zetterberg on deck for the Hall of Fame.  The Red Wings liked to put Zetterberg and Datsyuk together at key times.

“It’s a good memory,” Datsyuk said.  “I enjoyed time playing with him. I’d be happy someday he’d be there. He’s good player, good person, he also deserves, too.”

Lidstrom Praise

Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said Datsyuk was the most skilled player he played alongside.

“I have been lucky in my hockey life to this point,” said Datsyuk in a news release. “I would like to thank all of the people who have helped me along my way.”

The Red Wings, and their fan base, weren’t pleased with Datsyuk at the end of his NHL career.  His decision to return to Russia to play meant the Detroit franchise was stuck with his $7.5 million salary cap hit. GM Ken Holland eventually was able to trade it to Arizona, but had to swap first round picks with the Coyotes at the 2016 draft. The Coyotes ended up with Jakob Chychrun and Detroit landed Dennis Cholowski.