Datsyuk's agent: 'Pavel is not ready to finish hockey'
Of Pavel Datsyuk, above, agent Dan Milstein says: “It’d be appropriate to return to Detroit where he spent all his North American career.”
The possibility of Pavel Datsyuk returning to the Red Wings has picked up steam after comments by his agent, Dan Milstein.
Datsyuk, who will turn 41 in July, is in the last season of his three-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. Datsyuk left Detroit in 2016 after 14 seasons, saying he wanted to be closer to his daughter, who lives in Russia.
“I’ll tell you one thing, Pavel is not ready to finish hockey in the coming years,” Milstein said in a story translated from Russian on www.tsn.ca. “So the decision is his – whether to leave for America, whether to play further in the KHL.”
He added: “Three years ago, Datsyuk left Detroit on his own. The same desire can bring him back.”
Datsyuk’s NHL rights currently belong to the Arizona Coyotes. The Wings dealt them at the 2016 draft because they did not want to absorb his $7.5 million cap hit. They moved down two spots to draft defenseman Dennis Cholowski with the 20th overall pick and obtained the second-round pick (53rd overall) to take defenseman Filip Hronek.
According to tsn.ca and NHL.com, the Coyotes own Datsyuk’s NHL rights until July 1, after which he would become an unrestricted free agent.
“He will have a lot of options if he decides to return to the NHL,” Milstein said on NHL.com. “But it’d be appropriate to return to Detroit where he spent all his North American career. Though it’s up to Datsyuk. Will he want to make this comeback?”
Datsyuk has nine goals and 25 assists in 44 games this season, 29 goals and 74 assists in 125 games the past three seasons. He won an Olympic gold medal with the Olympic Athletes from Russia in 2018.
“Pavel is getting slower with age, but his skill and vision are still there,” Milstein said. “People would go to the stadium to see him. I think it’d be lovely and appropriate for him to return to North America. But again, he will make a decision.
“He would be a center (on the) second or third line, or wing on the first or second line and play on the first power play.”
Ovechkin ties Fedorov
Alex Ovechkin scored a goal in the Washington Capitals’ 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 23 to tie former Red Wing and Hockey Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov’s record for the most points (1,179) by a Russia-born player in NHL history.
Ovechkin scored his league-leading 37th goal 3:51 into the second period to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead.
Ovechkin and Fedorov were teammates with Washington in 2007-08 and 2008-09, the last two seasons of Fedorov’s NHL career.
“It’s a big privilege, especially when you played together and you learn a lot from that legend,”” Ovechkin said. “I’m pretty sure Fed is very happy it's me.”