Friday, September 11, 2009

2009-2010 Player Profiles: Pavel Datsyuk...

OK, it’s that time of year. Hockey’s so close that you can almost taste it. By my count, there are 21 days remaining before the Wings kick off their season in Sweden (which is still entirely too many, but at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel). In order to pass the time, I’ll be posting a player profile every day until then (in alphabetical order, because I’m one of those people). I want to make it very clear that these are not predictions, because I do not, under any circumstance, make predictions. They’re simply my thoughts on each player’s performances last season, and my hopes and expectations for them this time around. Today's subject:

Pavel Datsyuk

2008-2009 Regular Season: 81 GP, 32-65-97, +/- 34, 22 PIM
2009 Playoffs: 16 GP, 1-8-9, +/- 5, 9 PIM

Season Highlight: Nicknaming himself Dangle Dangle during his classic interview with Mickey Redmond.
Season Lowlight: Missing 7 games during the last two rounds of the playoffs.

Let’s see, last season Datsyuk won the Selke and Lady Byng Trophies, and was a finalist for the Hart. Oh, and he posted a team-high 97 points and +34, all while taking fewer penalties than any full-season Wing but Brian Rafalski. Not to mention the fact that he had a blog half named after him. All in all, I’d say that’s not too shabby. The playoffs were a bit of a different story, as he only managed 6 points, but I suspected that he was injured for a long time before he finally went down with his foot injury. I don’t believe that the team ever said exactly when he developed his charley horse, but I choose to believe that it played a factor from early on. Despite his lack of production, he created tons of scoring chances, and there were times when it seemed like he couldn’t have bought a goal at the Dollar Store. His return to the lineup for Game 5 of the Finals provided the Wings with a burst of energy, but alas, it didn’t carry over into the next two games.

This season, I’m looking for Datsyuk to finally reach that elusive 100 point mark. He’s finished with 97 two years in a row now, and I’d like to see him step up and hit triple digits. You can almost count on him challenging for the Selke and Lady Byng once again, and quite possibly the Hart. He’s starting to finally get the national recognition that we here in Hockeytown know he deserves, and that will only increase with time. He’s one of the most captivating players in the NHL right now, and you’re almost guaranteed at least one “How did he DO that!” moment per game from Dangle Dangle.

What he needs to do to make me happy: Give more interviews. Bonus points if he discusses dangling every time.

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