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Fedorov: ‘We had the chance’ to bring Datsyuk to KHL

Jul 19, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT

paveldatsyukgetty Getty Images

Just before signing his three-year, $22.5 million extension in Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk got one final offer from his native Russia.

But not just any old offer.

Datsyuk was contacted by KHL giant CSKA Moscow and legendary player-turned-general manager Sergei Fedorov, who was teammates with Datsyuk in Detroit for three years.

“Unfortunately for us, Pavel extended his contract with Detroit,” Fedorov told Russian news outlet R-Sport. “I had a meeting with him a few days before the signing.

“We had the chance to get Pavel in a year’s time, but as a person who knows what the NHL is all about, I understand perfectly well why he did what he did.”

Datsyuk, who turns 35 on Saturday, played for CSKA during the lockout and thrived, scoring 36 points in 31 games while representing the Moscow-based team in the KHL All-Star Game.

He’d been linked to a return to Russia on numerous occasions — even though both Datsyuk and his agent refuted the rumors — but, according to R-Sport, playing in Russia at this time wasn’t an option.

Why? Because Datsyuk wants to keep improving.

Seriously.

“[Datsyuk] said: ‘I want to grow as a player and I think that for me the best option is to stay in the NHL,'” Fedorov explained.

  1. polegojim - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Dats is a guy who could easily play impact hockey into is 40’s.

    Go RED WINGS!

  2. bardown66 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I wish more players would tell the KHL to shove it. If you like competition while still receiving more than fair compensation why not stay in the NHL?

    • micklethepickle - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      I suspect it has something to do with the greedy NHL owners locking out the players every 8-9 years to screw them over even more. I know it’s hard for Americans to understand, since we’re taught to be grateful to just have a job, and to show loyalty to corporations that give us none in return, but that may be a factor.

  3. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    A Russian player with class! Way to stay with us pav. Snipe dangle celly nation!

    • girouxed - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      How Datsyuk’s choice to stay in the NHL vs KHL impacts his classiness as a person makes no sense.

      To say someone like Kovalchuk has less class because he went to play in his home country is ignorant. Obviously Datsyuk and Kovalchuk (who are comparable) have different mindsets towards their game and what they want to do with it. When people get mad about Russians leaving its more whining than anything else. If the Flyers had a star Russian…. lol, would I be upset about them leaving for the KHL abruptly? Sure, but you have to look at why Kovalchuk did what he did. To some people its about money and others money isn’t on the top of their list… although why would it be when Datsyuk already has 10s of millions?

      • bettwoman - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        I don’t really think people are saying kovy doesn’t have class. However datsyuk is a lady bing winner that list of players screams class. His fans want him to stay just as sure as jersey fans wanted kovalchuk to stay. But datsyuk also extended during the season and his team knew where they were headed. Where as kovalchuk did all this after free agent frenzy. The top few wingers left are probably jagr and I dunno morrow? I love both of the guys don’t get me wrong all I’m saying is jersey drafted based on knowing kovalchuk would be a top wing for pmultiple years and then top 6 and so on. And then they made their free agent pick ups based on what they felt was best for their team and salary cap. So yeah I mean maybe u believe kovy went back to play at home and with family, that’s great but it would’ve shown a lot more class to tell the devils once the offseason began not surprise everyone with it days after free agency. He kinda screwed over management I mean they go and offer him a 17 year deal and he ends up squeaking by the cracks with a 15 year deal then he does 3 years and says whelp see ya later, oh and the devils lose a 1st round pick because of this decision? That’s not cool. I mean during the lockout players pushed to “honor your contract” well he’s not helping his fellow players by not “honoring his contract” I like kovy never had a problem with him but……kind of a douche move under the circumstances

      • girouxed - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        Maybe the NHL and NHLPA should stop locking out seasons.

      • hockeydon10 - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        @bettwoman

        The problem with your theory is the report that the Devils knew he was leaving a week before free agency. That would mean they could use the lure of playing with Kovy to sign free agents. Obviously with the financial strain the team is under they didn’t land any big names through free agency, but at least they had that lever.

      • bruinspaw - Jul 19, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        @hockeydon

        Or so they say…. I mean for a team that was basically inactive in free agency signings you have got to wonder if they did actually know. They were losing their best player and they haven’t really made any significant additions….

      • dtownbeatdown - Jul 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        Girouxed… then if it isn’t about money, and not about class, Kovy should have never signed a 15 year contract knowing the stipulations this organization brings including the crappy lockouts. I am in no way a Devils fan, but what he did was classless, and he is 30, I can almost bet he will show up back in the NHL one day, that is what annoys me. Call it whining or what you will, I still find it classless. I understand wanting to be with your family and in your native country, but don’t sign a (ridiculous) 15 year contract then.

        Datsyuk staying true to an organization that gave him a chance years ago, that is Class. You can twist and turn it whatever way you want. Now he is one of the best players in the world and probably the best two way player in the world, and now he is giving Detroit a chance to win another cup for the next 4 seasons.

        And to add to this article, I thought Federov left in 2003 for Anaheim, and Datsyuk didnt Start playing with the wings until 2002 (Drafted in 98 I think) so how did they play together for 3 years?

  4. LampyB - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Screw Fedorov, one of the worst guys to take advice from. “Come to the KHL it’s the best place for you.” How’d that work out for you when you decided to make a move to Columbus to be in the spotlight? Oh yeah, your career disintegrated and you lost the opportunity to have your number retired in Detroit where your name would have been forever remembered as a great.

    • shoobiedoobin - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Bingo. He could’ve been remembered as a hero on a team where the rafters have a ton of banners and only 6 of them are names. He could’ve been up there. Instead he’s a greedy joke of a player who ruined all of that.

      Datsyuk won’t follow you down the same path. He’s got the character you never had Sergei. Sorry.

    • darylj332000 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      for 1 thing LampyB.. Sergei didn’t leave Detroit for Columbus & the spotlight.. that would be Anaheim because he wanted to be the man… While we Redwings fan were upset about the move he still had a great career after leaving here and I will always be proud too say that he was a 3X stanley cup champion here

    • darylj332000 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      First things 1st LampyB… Sergei Left Detroit for Anaheim (not Columbus) and while the fans of Hockeytown were rightly pissed at the time. He did have a great overall career and I will always be proud too say that #91 was a 3x stanley cup champion here in DETROIT

  5. russiangretzky - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    The best way to measure your talents are to play with players of your skill level. Datsyuk knows this thats why he stayed in the NHL.

  6. brashranter - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    This is what I love about this guy; he is 35, and all he cares about is honing his craft and playing competitive hockey. Most guys would be resting on their laurels at this point in their careers, but He truly loves the sport and always wants to improve on an already nearly flawless body of work. Bravo Pavel, you are a true professional and a sports figure to be admired.

  7. northstarnic - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Datayuk might be my favorite player of all time. Just an incredibly talented, hard working, endlessly driven competitor. Would be an absolute shame to see his talents wasted in the inferior KHL at this point in his career.

  8. kicksave1980 - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I’ve always felt like the ‘older’ generation of Russian players were different. Those who are old enough to remember the way that country used to be, and not having the same opportunities that the younger Russians are afforded. When Nikolai Khabibulin went to play for Kazan during the first lockout, he talked about how much he missed the comforts of North America, and even the food. Nabokov didn’t last too long there, either.

    Not saying its good or bad either way, or that I’m even correct, just an observation.

  9. skarfacci - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    NHL isn’t missing anything w/o Kovalchuk. He was a lazy player. Anybody remember the 2012 SCFs. Horrible.

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