Pavel Datsyuk coy about future with Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit – If Pavel Datsyuk is considering going back to Russia after this season concludes, he didn’t say Monday after the Red Wings’ finished practice.

Pavel Datsyuk

Datsyuk neither confirmed or denied there’s a possibility of him heading to Russia and end his playing career in the Kontinential Hockey League.

Datsyuk, 37,  has one more season left in his contract. But reportedly, family reasons are motivating him to consider leaving Detroit.

“I don’t want to share information about my family,” Datsyuk said.

Datsyuk didn’t deny he would like to finish his career playing in Russia at some point, but he has been open about that for a number of years.

“From the beginning of my career, Russian fans have helped me (grow up); I want to give back,” Datsyuk said.

But when pressed about the possibility of leaving after this season, Datsyuk was coy.

“I have one more year on my contract and have three games left this year, and that’s more the focus right now,” Datsyuk said. “Nobody knows –  you could be injured or something (next year).”

One thing Datsyuk was firm about was the disappointment in his performance this season. But with 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 63 games, Datsyuk is still tied with Henrik Zetterberg for the team scoring lead.

“Not happy little bit with myself,” Datsyuk said. “I have to play better and help.”

The focus right now, said Zetterberg, is on this week’s three crucial regular season-ending games and the possibility of making the playoffs.

Datsyuk’s exit would cripple Wings’ offense, salary cap

“That’s what Pavel is focused on and what we’re focusing on,” said Zetterberg.

Zetterberg added that players coming and going on pro sports teams is to be expected.

“You go through that,” he said. “I don’t know how many times we talked about Nick Lidstrom not being here. Players move on and players will retire and there’s other guys who step up.

“But as I said, we’re focused on these games.”

Said coach Jeff Blashill: “Our focus right now is on winning a hockey game Wednesday (against Philadelphia).”

Blashill said he didn’t pay much attention to Saturday’s report that he was considering leaving the Wings: “We’re solely focused on winning this game Wednesday just like we were Saturday (in Toronto). Anything with the future with players, we’ll sit down at the end of the year and we’ll talk with those players and we’ll see what that brings.”

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