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Rambler's Top100

23 2003 . 
On the ice with ...Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings forward - The Detroit News

By Ted Kulfan / David Guralnick 

Datsyuk or Fedorov?

Who would you rather have on the Red Wings Sergei Fedorov or Pavel Datsyuk?

It would have been an easy choice a season or two ago. Now, with Datsyuks rapid rise, its no longer a slam dunk decision.

The way Pavel Datsyuk is playing, I wouldnt trade him straight up for Fedorov, said Darren Pang, an ESPN analyst.

Pang likes the consistency and work ethic Datsyuk brings to the ice, traits Fedorov doesnt have on a nightly basis.

You know what youre going to get (from Datsyuk), Pang said.

But Fedorov, who won the Hart Trophy as NHL Most Valuable Player in 1994, still is capable of dominating a game.

Hes one of the most talented players in the NHL today, ESPN analyst Barry Melrose said. Fedorov has as much skill as anyone.

It wouldnt be an easy choice.

Igors influence

Dont underestimate the influence Igor Larionov, above, had on countryman Pavel Datsyuk the last two seasons.

Larionov signed a free-agent contract with the New Jersey Devils just before the start of training camp. But when he was with the Wings, Larionov provided Datsyuk with sage advice. He helped Datsyuk learn how to become a professional hockey, how to deal with situations on and off the ice. He also helped Datsyuk get acclimated to life in North America.

He helped me so much, Datsyuk said. He helps a lot of young players.

Larionov knew last season Datsyuk had the skills to be a special player.

Datsyuk was eager to learn, which is somewhat uncommon among many young players in the league today.

He listens and learns, Larionov said last season. He wants to be a good player, and he wants to learn how to become a player like that. Hes willing to wait for his chance and hes patient. Hes going to be a good player for many years.

Best move

Pavel Datsyuk has become a regular on SportsCenter this year, with his offensive creativity and stickhandling ability leading to jaw-dropping goals.

What has been his best move?

Datsyuks former linemate, Henrik Zetterberg, remembers a move during training camp in Traverse City that was dazzling an inside-out beauty during a shootout that left a junior goalie in a pretzel.

That was pretty good, Zetterberg said.

Not bad, but Datsyuks final-minute goal in Dallas on Nov. 12 gets top honors. It left Stars goalie Marty Turco sprawled and dazed on the ice as Datsyuk put all of his deft stickhandling on display.

The play was a staple on ESPN highlights for days. Its likely to show up on year-end review shows in the next week or so.

Just ridiculous, the Red Wings Steve Thomas said of Datsyuks goal. I couldnt contain myself on the bench.

Hot streak

There simply arent many playing better in the NHL right now than Pavel Datsyuk.

Heading into Mondays game against St. Louis, Datsyuk ranked third in the league with 40 points. Only Washingtons Robert Lang (44 points) and Atlantas Ilya Kovalchuk (42) had more.

Datsyuk had more points than established stars such as Markus Naslund (39 points), Joe Sakic (37) and Jaromir Jagr (34).

Thats not at all a surprise, said Datsyuks linemate, Brett Hull, who is having a good season himself, but still trails Datsyuk by four points. This kid can be as good as he wants to be. Hes got all the skills.

Datsyuks recent six-game goal-scoring streak coincided with the Wings climb to the top of the Western Conference. Datsyuk had 13 points during those six games, including eight goals. The streak stopped with the Wings 3-2 victory over Chicago on Friday.

Pavel has taken the team over, Wings Coach Dave Lewis said last week.

Datsyuk shrugs off such praise.

Good teammates, good linemates, Datsyuk said. They give me good support. The team is playing good. Thats important.

Speakeasy

The only thing more impressive than Pavel Datsyuks play this season might be the improvement hes shown in speaking and understanding English.

In past seasons, reporters needed an interpreter. That role was usually filled by former Wings defenseman Maxim Kuznetsov.

This season, Datsyuk is getting more comfortable doing interviews on his own, even for television, which he used to avoid like the plague.

Better? Datsyuk asked after completing an interview recently.

Indeed.

Datsyuk took an English class, but simply being around the locker room and watching television has helped him pick up the language better. 

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9 . Awed Datsyuk too shy to shine - Detroit Free Press

8 . Others believe Datsyuk's magical play will make him one of best in NHL - Booth Newspapers

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