Pavel Datsyuk is a Russian center for the Detroit Red Wings.
Datsyuk was disregarded by most NHL scouts because of his small size. Detroit drafted him in 1998, but he played in the Russian SuperLeague until 2001. In 2001-02, Datsyuk came to Detroit and began to learn from the wide array of veterans that Detroit had at the time. He skated with Brett Hull for his first season, and scored three playoff goals as the Wings won the Cup in 2002.
The addition of flashy Swede Henrik Zetterberg gave Datsyuk the teammate he needed to flourish, as he and Zetterberg skated with Hull all season as the “Two Kids and an Old Goat Line.” From 2003 through this season, Datsyuk has continued to increase his point totals, finishing the 2007-08 campaign with a career high 98 points. Pavel has also won the past two Lady Byng trophies for most sportsmanlike player, and is currently a finalist for the award this season. No one has won three straight Lady Byng trophies in over 70 years.
Datsyuk has led the Wings in scoring in each of the past three seasons, while continuing to impress with his defensive skills. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are both finalists for the Frank J. Selke award, which goes to the best defensive forward in the NHL.
Datsyuk has represented Russia on the international stage since 2002. He won bronze at the 2002 Winter Olympics, as well as bronze in the 2005 World Championships.
Pavel has also become somewhat of a shootout master, developing a move which has become known simply as “The Datsyuk.” While skating in on a breakaway, he first fakes a forehand shot at the left goalpost, while shifting his body to the right. He then pulls the puck back to his front left skate and around the goalie. The head fake is almost always so deceptive that the goalie is left completely out of position.