#13 for the Detroit Red Wings is arguably the most important player for the team. He hasn’t played since the Winter Classic on January 1st and the exact nature of the injury hasn’t been revealed. One assumes this is because it’s something that can be targeted. Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t had much of a timeline for a return, which makes his dedication to performing in the olympics… well… curious…
According to a Steve Simmons article in the Toronto Sun, Datsyuk is still planning on going to Sochi for the Olympics, regardless of whether or not he’s made his NHL return. This has irritated some fans, much like a parent would be irritated if their child was too sick to go to school but was suddenly healthy enough to play with their friends later that afternoon. According to the Simmons article, Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland had this to say:
“Am I worried?” said Holland. “Of course, I’m worried. But I understand what an opportunity this is for every Russian and every other player. Pavel has a decision to make and I understand that it’s his decision and I respect that it’s his decision.”
On the one hand, this had me a little bit perturbed at Pavel Datsyuk. If I had to call out of work because a doctor said I wasn’t in the right shape to work, and then I suddenly turned around and did something very similar to my job for a charity or something, my boss would probably be pretty annoyed. (I think two analogies is enough, moving on). The NHL is Pavel Datsyuk’s job, it’s what he’s paid to do, and it should be the number one priority. To say that you can’t do your job for a month and a half, then take two weeks to go do your job somewhere else, seems a bit backwards.
But on the other hand, suppose the Red Wings were going to try to stop Pavel Datsyuk. What would they do? They can’t ground him and send him to his room. If Datsyuk is determined to participate in Sochi, he’ll show up come hell or high water. Then what? The Red Wings aren’t going to suspend him for participating in the Olympics. The Red Wings don’t have much of a choice other than to respect Datsyuk’s decision and go along with whatever his plan is.
At the same time, maybe supporting Datsyuk is the best thing to do. Ken Holland and Mike Ilitch are the sort of guys that have always understood that there’s more to life that hockey, and certainly more than NHL hockey. The Winter Olympics only come around once every four years. Having your home country host said Winter Olympics is something that happens once in a lifetime, if at all. Oh and did I mention that Datsyuk is Team Russia’s captain? This is an incredible opportunity for Pavel Datsyuk and if Team Russia can win gold (which they might) it could very well be the highlight of Datsyuk’s career. To deprive him of that opportunity would seem criminal, even if the team could REALLY use him right now.
But enough about me. What do you guys think?