Datsyuk says he’s not “100 percent” set on playing in Russia next year

So uhh… maybe Pavel Datsyuk isn’t leaving the Red Wings following the playoffs after all? The key word, however, is maybe.

Datsyuk held a press conference today, where he said a lot of things.

The most important thing, though was this short quote:

I’ve compiled a list of a few possible reasons why Datsyuk would say this, despite earlier reports that it was basically a done deal:

He wants to avoid distractions: Even if Datsyuk is set on leaving, he perhaps doesn’t want the media circus or fanfare that will come around with the situation. However, this could easily have the opposite effect. Don’t expect to watch a Red Wings playoff game where Datsyuk’s future isn’t mentioned on the broadcast no less than every time he touches the puck. I’m kidding, of course, but this likely only will create even more of a media interest around his future.

He doesn’t want to let down the fans: Datsyuk has molded himself as to arguably the Wings’ most popular current player amongst their fanbase. Leaving may sour that relationship with a few of the team’s fans. He wants the support during the playoff run of as many fans as he can get, and it’s not good to have a fan base who’s divided on cheering for you and constantly refreshing the Wings’ salary cap page for next season.

He never actually was decided on leaving: Perhaps Pavel mentioned he was thinking about Russia, and it snowballed into a “definite yes” when for him it was always just a “maybe”.

An epiphany: Somethng may have clicked in Datsyuk’s mind in the past few days that has swayed his opinion on leaving. Maybe an “am I really going to end my career like this?” thought. 

Management/ PR: Someone higher up had a chat with Datsyuk and told them to say this, or had a chat with Pavel and convinced him that maybe he should stick around for one last hurrah. Maybe they even guilted him into explaining the contract penalties he’d be inflicting by leaving after two years of a three-year deal.

???????: Honestly, who really knows what Datsyuk’s motivations were. Especially when family and personal reasons are involved, perhaps it’s best we leave Pavel alone on this issue until some more new information comes out without trying to pick his brain. 

It’s highly within the realm of possibility that Datsyuk is not a Red Wings player next season which would have a major negative impact on the team, but it seems like for now it’s unclear whether that statement will come true. The ball’s in Pavel’s court, though. If he wants to retire from the NHL, he can, if he wants to play in Russia, he can as well. This issue isn’t going away any time soon though, and it’s a waiting game for the next new soundbite or tidbit that will lead us one step closer to where we’ll see Datsyuk next season.