Jul 19, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT
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.
“[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.
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