Datsyuk on return to Wings: ‘Everything is possible’

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Pavel Datsyuk

Detroit – For a guy who is supposedly leaving the NHL, Pavel Datsyuk is leaving the door pretty wide open to staying.

The Red Wings star acknowledged Monday the pull of being able to see his daughter more in Russia is strong. But he admitted that it’s possible he could return to fulfill the final season of his three-year contract with the Red Wings.

“Everything is possible,” said Datsyuk after the Wings' practice at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s hard to make a 100-percent decision now. Now, I’m more focusing on the playoffs.

“I want to be fair with everybody, especially the fans.”

Datsyuk’s daughter, Elizabeth, is 13 and living in Russia.

“My oldest is at home (in Russia),” Datsyuk said Monday. “But I know this is the best league and the best organization and they always helped me and supported me.

“(But I want to) stay as long as possible in the organization.”

Datsyuk's comments Monday echo what his agent, Dan Milstein, told The Detroit News on Sunday -- that Datsyuk could return to the Wings.

“Never say never,” Milstein said, “until that plane (to Russia) is up in the air. Obviously, at the conclusion of this season, Pavel will sit down with (Wings general manager) Ken Holland and Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch (Mike and Marian) – he has such respect for all of them – and they’ll discuss the future.

“But this isn’t about the money. It’s never been about the money. Pavel has done very well for himself. This is about family.”

Holland told The Detroit News on Sunday that the Wings would have no comment on the Datsyuk situation until after the season.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuik’s closest friend on the team, said this situation reminds him of earlier situations with Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom, when speculation was rampant about when they’d be retiring.

‘Never say never’: Datsyuk could return to Wings, agent says

“It’s like when all the guys that have been here for a long time move on,” Zetterberg said. “We went through it with Steve and Nick and now it looks like we’ll go through it with Pavel. I’m just glad I had a chance to play with him all these years and look forward to a last pow-wow.”

There have been hints, said Zetterberg, that Datsyuk might be leaning toward going back to Russia.

“I had a feeling,” Zetterberg said.