International Ice Hockey Federation

Russia’s wizard

Russia’s wizard

Datsyuk about Red Wings, large rinks and his plans

Published 14.12.2021 15:38 GMT+2 | Author Pavel Lysenkov
Russia’s wizard
Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
This World Championship should be fantastic with the magic and technique of forward Pavel Datsyuk, who captains the Russian team.

Before the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs Datsyuk said in an interview to a local journalist in Detroit that he wants to return to Russia because he misses his daughter, who lives in Yekaterinburg. Will he play for the local KHL team soon?

“Nothing has been decided yet and I still have a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings,” he said afterwards. He first wants to focus on the World Championship and make a decision about his future afterwards. He last participated in the tournament in 2012 when the Russian national team took the gold medals in Helsinki.

Can we ask you about your next season?
You can ask. But I will not answer.

How is your health situation? The doctor of the Red Wings said in an interview that you have problems with your tendons.
I feel in my legs that I am not 100 per cent ready. I was immediately warned that the recovery would be long. It will take 18 months for me to get back into my normal shape.

Where are you at right now in terms of recovery?
I had surgery in June. Ten months already. I’m halfway through.

You usually immediately respond to an invitation to the Russian national team when you are absolutely ready.
I also respond to the call when there is such an opportunity for me to play and help. It appeared now and I came.

How is it for you to adapt from the NHL to international-size rinks?
When I arrived I watched the exhibition game against Finland from the box. It caught my eye as I had not seen the European rinks for a long time. It is more skating but not a lot of shots.

Is it hard to play a home tournament in front of your fans?
We have a great responsibility. The preparing for the World Championship in Russia went on well and much has been done. There will be strong pressure. But if we get through this, we will have a great trump card. Our fans know how to support and might be a tremendous advantage for us.

How was your first meeting with head coach Oleg Znarok? Have you ever worked with him before?
No. I just played for CSKA against his Dynamo Moscow during the lockout. And last year we talked about whether I would come over for the World Championship. I don't think that it will be hard for me to get used to the requirements of Znarok - for example, to play more defence. I have never been scared of work. If it is what it takes to get a win, anyone would agree to work hard to be useful.

How has your teammate Alexei Marchenko from Detroit improved?
His game is much more confident. And this is not his limit, he is capable of much more. It is hard to say that it is the fault of Marchenko that he is not part of the team. After all, the NHL is a big business. There are times when little depends on the players.

What went wrong for Detroit in the series against Tampa Bay?
Many Russian guys play for the Lightning and they played well against us. What went wrong? If we score two goals each during the match, winning in the play-off is very hard. Our attack was messed up the whole season. We had to strengthen it. And this problem got in the way for the Stanley Cup.

According to rumors, Alexander Radulov is ready to move to Detroit next season. Would he be able to strengthen the team?
Radulov would strengthen any attack. He’s great player who has already played in the NHL. He knows exactly what to do in this league.

Did you have time to get used to your new linemate Sergei Mozyakin?
We have not had much time to practise together. We did change the course of the game. They tried to change something to make it easier on the court.

What went wrong in the opening game against the Czechs?
We need to create more scoring chances. We need to improve for the next game. You have to score dirty goals too and then all will be well. The fans know that we will fight until the end. We have to get better game by game, then we will have the results we want.

Russia started the game with many penalties.
I agree. It made us lose our way. We returned to the game but it’s hard to win if you don’t score goals. Of course we have to blame ourselves. It is necessary to play more disciplined.

How do you like the atmosphere at the World Championship?
It’s just crazy. On the ice we can feel that the Russian national team has a lot of support. Sometimes I had to reassure myself that I don’t act to emotionally. Sometimes we took hasty decisions.


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