While Pavel Datsyuk may or may not have played his last game as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, he still appears to have plenty of puck left in him. It appears we’ll be seeing that magic man will be joining Team Russia for the 2016 World Hockey Championships.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 22, 2016
Datsyuk is no stranger to representing Russia in the tournament, typically opting to join the team whenever the Red Wings aren’t still in action. To date, he’s played in the 2001, 2003, 2005, 2010, and 2012 tournaments, winning Bronze (2005), Silver (2010), and Gold (2012) medals along the way. He was also named the best forward of the tournament in 2005 when he scored three goals and four assists in nine games.
The fact that Datsyuk has decided to head to this tournament adds another layer of curiosity to the retirement debate. Opting to stay on the ice shows that Datsyuk doesn’t quite yet feel physically worn down and that the decision is indeed personal. Coincidentally, this year’s tournament is in Moscow and St. Petersburg, meaning that he’ll be closer to home.
By going to the tournament, Datsyuk will get another taste of the Russian hockey atmosphere, get some international practice ahead of the World Cup of Hockey, and ultimately, get a little bit closer to making a firm decision. While the odds currently lie in favor of him staying in Russia for the remainder of his career, a good experience could make that a done deal within the next few weeks. It’s also possible that he’s turned off by the experience and decides to come back; an outcome that Red Wings fans will surely be cheering for.
The tournament begins on May 6th and runs until the 22nd.