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Red Wing Datsyuk lives up to scouts' praise // Detroit Free Press
BY HELENE ST. JAMES
When Pavel Datsyuk first appeared in a Red Wings uniform, none of his teammates knew anything about him beyond his name, that he was Russian and that the scouting staff thought highly of him.
Two months into the season, Datsyuk has won everyone's attention with his strong passing skills and solid defensive play. He rarely throws away the puck, and he has shown a keen sense for reading plays.
"I didn't know anything about him before he came in, but right from the second day of camp, he's really stood out," Wings captain Steve Yzerman said Wednesday. "He's a tremendous talent -- just a guy who is really, really good. He's been a real boost for the team."
Datsyuk has played about 12 minutes per game most of the season, but in two games last week, against Columbus and St. Louis, he played just 11:35 combined, dragging down his overall average to 10:44. He was back up to 13:20 and had two assists Tuesday to help the Wings to a 4-2 victory over Calgary. Among NHL rookies, Datsyuk ranks seventh in assists with six. He also has one goal.
Coach Scotty Bowman has used Datsyuk in all but the fifth game of the season, mostly as the center on a line with Boyd Devereaux on one wing, and anyone from Luc Robitaille to Brett Hull to Tomas Holmstrom to Mathieu Dandenault on the other wing.
Datsyuk's strong play has earned him a fan in New Jersey, too, where Russian Olympic general manager and Devils assistant Slava Fetisov is assimilating the final roster any Olympic team must release next month.
"I know Slava is looking at him very closely," Wings center Igor Larionov said.
Having seen Larionov up close on and off for 20-plus years, Fetisov didn't hesitate to ask Larionov to join him on the Olympic team as either an assistant coach or a player. Larionov plans to give Fetisov his answer tonight, when the Devils arrive in town for Friday's game at Joe Louis Arena. Larionov, who turns 41 Monday, said he will be part of Fetisov's team, but he would not reveal which role he has picked.
An Olympic spot for Datsyuk, 23, has become more and more likely as he has grown comfortable with the NHL. Teammates marvel at how quickly he has learned -- all the more impressive because of his limited English.
"I see him at the beginning of the year -- he used to lose face-offs," Robitaille said. "Now, he's figured out ways to beat bigger guys. You see him in the third period -- he won't take as many chances. It's funny, because it doesn't seem like anyone is telling him this stuff. He just figures it out by watching the veterans. I think that shows a lot. This guy is going to be a superstar in this league."
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"Звёзды с Востока"
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9 февраля. Awed Datsyuk too shy to shine - Detroit Free Press
26 августа. Red Wings expect Datsyuk to flourish in key season - The Detroit News