Former Detroit Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk is a professional hockey champion once again, though this time not in the NHL.
SKA Saint Petersburg defeated Metallurg in the KHL finals, four games to one, with the deciding game coming yesterday. Datsyuk did not dress for the deciding fifth game, but did participate in the on-ice celebration in which the team was awarded the Gagarin Cup. It was the team’s second championship in the last three years.
— KHL (@khl_eng) April 16, 2017
SKA Saint Petersburg featured plenty of former NHL talent, including Datsyuk, sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, and two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman Slava Voynov. In 44 games, Datsyuk scored 12 goals to go with 22 assists. In seven playoff games, he scored four goals to go with five assists.
In early March of this year, Datsyuk raised the collective eyebrows of the hockey world when he leveled an opponent with a massive body check out of frustration at having been hit from behind moments earlier. The hit earned Datsyuk 25 minutes in penalties and a game misconduct
Datsyuk announced that he was returning home to Russia last offseason after the Red Wings had been eliminated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning, which was their final playoff appearance before their streak of 25 consecutive playoff years was snapped this year.
In 953 career NHL games, Datsyuk scored 314 goals (8th overall in Red Wings history) with 604 assists (5th overall in Red Wings history), and was a plus-249. He burst onto the scene during the 2001-02 season as a rookie, and soon was placed on a line with Boyd Devereaux and veteran Brett Hull. The line was referred to as “Two Kids and a Goat”. Datsyuk and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup that season. He quickly became known as one of the most creative players the NHL had ever seen, and was also known for his keen two-way play on the ice.
He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times in his career, which is awarded to the league’s top defensive forward.