Detroit Red Wings: Four More For the Rafters in Motown

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 13: Center Sergei Fedorov #91 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes in game five of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 13, 2002 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings won the game 3-1 and the series 4-1. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images/NHLI)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 13: Center Sergei Fedorov #91 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes in game five of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on June 13, 2002 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings won the game 3-1 and the series 4-1. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images/NHLI) /
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(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Pavel Datsyuk was the definition of stick handling in a phone booth.  The star player often referred to as the “Magic Man” never seemed to disappoint.  Datsyuk had such a crafty playmaking style that would keep fans and players on the edge of their seat.  You never knew what he was going to do, or try to do next.

When all else failed, Pavel could lower his shoulder and run you over just when you expected him to stickhandle around you.  Datsyuk became an extraordinary player that the Detroit Red Wings found in the 6th round of the 1998 NHL Entry Level Draft.

Pavel Datsyuk was a part of two Stanley Cup Championships with the Detroit Red Wings. A much more significant impact as a top two forward in his second go-round, rather than as a bottom three forward during his first championship. Datsyuk, for much of his rookie season, centered a line with the great Brett Hull and Boyd Devereaux but played sparingly in the playoffs.

Pavel’s first season, although ended with a Stanley Cup ring, was more of a learning experience.  Pavel recorded 35 points in 70 regular season games.  During the playoff run, he only played just over 10 minutes a game recording 6 points in 21 contests.

Datsyuk started to produce like a star in his second season 51 points in 64 games.  He would never look back on his way to what will inevitably be a Hall Of Fame career.

Pavel Datsyuk would go onto win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in four consecutive seasons from 05-06 to 08-09.  The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded to the NHL player who best exhibits sportsmanship combined with a high standard of playing ability.

The Magic Man would also win the Frank J. Selke Trophy in three consecutive seasons spanning from 07-08 to 09-10.

Number 13 for the Detroit Red Wings was never going to win the fastest skater award or the hardest shot like Fedorov.  Datsyuk crafted his style in a way the NHL didn’t exactly see, his puck skills and stick handling was second to none.

Pavel Datsyuk ranks on the DRW all-time scoring lists as follows; 8th in game-winning goals (51), sixth in assists (604), 7th in total points (918) and 9th in games played with 953.  A neat fact Datsyuk is one of two players to ever wear number 13 for the Detroit Red Wings.  The other being fellow Russian Slava Kozlov.

Datsyuk stickhandled while he skated like he was in cruise control gliding down a Motor city freeway.  His unselfishness, passing ability and willingness to buy into the Red Wing style, as the great centers before him, being an elite “two-way” player should not be forgotten.

Like Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Datsyuk deserves to see his number 13 jersey sway in the rafters at Little Caesars Arena.