Monday, September 13, 2010

2010-2011 Player Profiles: Pavel Datsyuk...

Hey, kids, guess what? Hockey's almost here. That means it's time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing that I've neglected during the off-season. Since I lack the creativity to come up with a new gimmick, I decided to continue the Player Profiles series I did last year leading up to the season. I'll be taking a look at a different player (almost) every day between now and when hockey starts. By my count, there are 25 days until the Wings open the regular season. Get excited. Today's subject:

Pavel Datsyuk

2009-2010 Regular Season: 80 GP, 27-43-70, +/- 17, 18 PIM
2010 Playoffs: 12 GP, 6-7-13, +/- 3, 8 PIM

Season Highlight: This was my favorite shootout moment of the year. I also love, love, love this goal against former tweeter Dan Ellis.  It was nothing short of amazing.
Season Lowlight: Let's face it, we're talking about Pavel Datsyuk here.

Datsyuk didn't quite put up the offensive numbers that we've come to expect from him last season. That doesn't really concern me though. If he'd been the only player to see his offensive numbers drop (a 27 point differential from one season to another is pretty significant), I might be worried, but the whole team was in such rough shape that it's hardly fair to look at stats like that. I don't really see them as being indicative of the contribution Pav made.

Last year, I fully expected to see a 100-point season from Datsyuk, but the Hockey Gods obviously had other plans in mind. I don't see any reason why he can't finally break the triple digit mark this season. The Flying Circus line is scheduled to be reunited and there should be a lot more offense to go around, both at regular strength and on the powerplay. With a full season of healthy linemates and more regular scoring, Pav's numbers should rebound.

Aside from putting up points, Datsyuk does so many other little things that continue to amaze me. The backchecking and pickpocketing he does are endless sources of amusement. He's every bit as valuable on the defensive side of the puck as he is on offense. Of course, you already knew that, so I really just included that sentence to take up some space. On a night-to-night basis, Datsyuk is one of the most electrifying players on the ice and watching him go to work is a treat for all of the good little Wings fans out there.

What he needs to do to make me smile: Just be Pavel Datsyuk.

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