SKATING AWAY — Pavel Datsyuk may be skating off to the end of his career as a part of the Detroit Red Wings.
Pavel Datsyuk announced on April 10 that he will be calling it quits on his Red Wings career. After fans everywhere had started to dry their tears, he came back and said he’s keeping his options open on Monday.
“You never know what could happen,” Datsyuk said after a Red Wings practice. “It’s hard to make a decision on what happens tomorrow, today. Everything is possible. It’s not [a] final decision 100 percent.”
Datsyuk said that he only called the press conference because he felt pressure to clarify rumors that had popped up about his retirement.
“I’m thinking I go home after this season,” the Red Wings center told the Detroit Free Press on Sunday. “I may not be done with hockey, but it is hard to say. I think I am done playing in the NHL.”
Datsyuk has been with the Red Wings for 14 season, starting with the 2002 Stanley Cup winning season. He was also a part of the 2008 Stanley Cup winning team.
The announcement came at a bad time for the Red Wings. The team had recently made it into the playoffs after nearly missing them and the focus should have stayed on getting through the next few crucial games.
“Because of the rumors out there, I wanted to clear this up now before the playoffs started so I can focus only on giving my best playoff performance. And I wanted the fans to hear it from me, not someone else,” Datsyuk said in the press conference.
The news should not be all that shocking for fans, though. The Russian-born player has been pushing for a move since 2012, but the Red Wings have been able to convince him to stick around for a few more years. Management is hoping to keep him around for at least another season. Their reasons may be a little selfish, though.
Because of the collective bargaining agreement, teams in the NHL who sign multi-year contracts to players after the age of 35 still have to pay the salaries of those players until the contract is up. That means that the Red Wings would have to pay Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary. They’d be paying for someone who is no longer a part of their team.
“I feel very bad about it,” Datsyuk said. “Looking back, I wish I had done a year-by-year contract, not a three-year contract. I stayed (last year) in respect for the Ilitch family. I don’t want to leave the team in disaster. But if I had to do it over again, I would sign a different deal. I didn’t realize it at the time.”
All around, it’s a confusing time to be a fan of Datsyuk and the Red Wings. It seems that the 37-year-old player is struggling to make any definitive decisions.
“There’s a lot of information [going] around. It bothered me,” Datsyuk said. “I want to be fair with everybody. Especially the fans and everybody.”
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