March 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) skates with the puck against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Year Without Datsyuk Is Worst Case Scenario For Wings

With the NHL already canceling regular season action and the potential for a year without hockey seeming more plausible every day these shameful “negotiations” trudge on, one issue continues to be at the forefront of my mind: the utterly disheartening realization of missing out on an entire season of Pavel Datsyuk’s dazzling on ice theatrics.

At 34 years of age, Datsyuk will be entering his 11th season wearing the winged wheel stitched across his chest. The days of “The Two Kids & An Old Goat Line” which featured a seasoned veteran named Brett Hull teamed with youngsters Devereaux and Datsyuk is but a distant memory. Where have the years gone? In fact, when Hull chaperoned that line he was 37 years old, only 3 years older than Datsyuk is right now. In the lifespan of a professional hockey player Datsyuk has reached that critical period when an athlete can abruptly transition from prime to past his prime at the drop of a puck. Even though Datsyuk is in his mid thirties he is arguably still Detroit’s best player in a league of twenty-something sharpshooters that lead the majority of today’s NHL franchises:

Sidney Crosby 25

Drew Doughty 22

Anze Kopitar 25

Jonathan Toews 24

Evgeni Malkin 26

Steven Stamkos 22

Taylor Hall 20

Claude Giroux 24

Corey Perry 27

Alex Ovechkin 27

In spite of the fact that just a few weeks ago I told you Detroit is younger than they have been in a number of seasons, the best players on the team (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Franzen) are all above 30 years of age. To say the window of opportunity for this Wings group to win another Stanley Cup is evaporating quickly would be a giant understatement. Not too mention the fact that Datsyuk’s 67 points last season were rather average when you acknowledge that from 2007 to 2009 he posted back to back 97 point seasons. If you haven’t got my point yet, let me lay it out for you: considering the dates of birth of the Red Wing’s best players, in particular Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit should be as urgent as any team in the league for this lockout to be resolved promptly.

As a long time follower of professional wrestling, I can only compare losing Datsyuk for a year at this point in his career to the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase losing his bodyguard Virgil’s services before his main event vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania IV.

Is it just me or does the Million Dollar Man’s theme song not sum up the NHL lockout perfectly?

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Tags: Alex Ovechkin Anze Kopitar Brett Hull Claude Giroux Corey Perry Detroit Red Wings Drew Doughty Evgeni Malkin JonathanToews NHL Pavel Datsyuk Sidney Crosby Steven Stamkos Taylor Hall

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