It has been reported for a few days now that Ilya Kovalchuk has not been so eager to get back on a plane headed to the United States, but instead wants to stay in Russia for an extended period to partake in the KHL All Star Game on Sunday – or perhaps longer. While Kovalchuk has not gone about it in the best way, stating that he needs to read over the CBA before he returns, another NHL star has been a bit more proper about things.
According to Pavel Datsyuk’s agent, Gary Greenstin, Pavel will stay in his native Russia for the KHL All Star Game. He received approval from Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, and will miss at least one day of training camp.
“I asked (Holland) if Red Wings don’t mind, (Datsyuk) would like to play in All-Star game, it’s a few hours from his hometown,” Greenstin said. “He’s one of the most popular players in Russia. Ken said no problem. He gave me permission.”
While receiving permission from Holland was the right thing to do, Holland really has no say in the matter either way. Because the new CBA has yet to be ratified by the players, which will happen this weekend, NHL teams have no say over what their players do.
Despite missing the start of training camp, Datsyuk will be in tremendous condition when he arrives in Detroit. Datsyuk has skates in 31 games already for CSKA Moscow of the KHL. In those games, the Red Wings star center has picked up 11 goals and 25 assists, good for 36 points. Datsyuk trails only Alexander Radulov in the points race for their squad. Radulov has 50 points in 38 games played.
The Red Wings are hoping Pavel continues to dazzle when he returns to the NHL. For the first time in more than 20 years, the Red Wings will be opening training camp without Nicklas Lidstrom. While they have filled defensive gaps, no one can truly replace Lidstrom. Instead, the Red Wings will count on increased production from players like Datsyuk to help fill the void.