Thoughts on Datsyuk’s Comments

As I’ve said on Twitter today, I’ve tried writing this post several times and have stopped myself for various reasons.

I don’t want to bring politics to DetroitHockey.Net but sometimes the sports world reaches out into bigger issues, as it has with athletes commenting on Russia’s anti-LGBT laws in advance of the Sochi Olympics next February. Last weekend we had Henrik Zetterberg speaking out against the legislation to much fanfare. Today we got comments from Pavel Datsyuk; comments which weren’t as well-received.

My position – I am Orthodox. That says it all.

By deferring to his religion, Datsyuk seems to be in support of laws that deny a portion of the Russian population what many consider to be basic human rights.

Is that truly what Datsyuk believes? If so, is it somehow “okay” in the context of religion? Or did he only say it as a political move, as not toeing the party line could lead to his being left off Team Russia for the Olympics?

Over at Winging it in Motown, J.J. from Kansas had a nice piece on his reaction, most of which I agree with but specifically this:

Personally? I’m disappointed to learn about this. I’m not angry and I don’t suddenly dislike Datsyuk, nor do I agree with any charge that any kind of moral code requires me to answer a judgment with a judgment. I wish I knew that Datsyuk didn’t agree with the head of his church when it comes to gay rights. I don’t wish he weren’t religious nor do I think that his being religious or even being a member of a church which promotes an agenda with which I disagree makes him a bad person.

Barry Petchesky at Deadspin asks this:

Do we really only want to hear about our athletes’ ideologies if they agree with our own?

I’m saddened that one of my favorite Red Wings seems to disagree with my personal worldview but I think it’s naive to assume that everyone I root for would have the same opinions or morals or ideology or whatever as I do.

Look around the NHL and you’ve got Florida prospect Rocco Grimaldi, who I would call a religious nutjob. Tim Thomas spent a year hiding in his Colorado bunker (a slight exaggeration, perhaps). Dany Heatley actually got a guy killed. Todd Bertuzzi nearly did.

The Wings alone have probably twenty prospects who won’t shut up about music that I can’t stand.

Whether it’s a big issue or some stupid little thing, we don’t have to agree with the players we support on the ice. If we knew more about all of the players we’d probably like them a lot less.

So, yes, I’m disappointed. No, it won’t stop me from rooting for him. I’d love to debate the issue with him but mostly I wish it was a non-issue so we didn’t feel the need to talk about it.

Red Wings’ Skid Continues with Collapse Against Wild

Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Red Wings lineup on Sunday night and scored a goal, but it wasn’t enough to hold off his team’s collapse against the Minnesota Wild in a 3-2 loss.

Datsyuk – who missed the Wings’ 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday – sniped a shot past Minnesota rookie goalie Darcy Keumper off a cross-ice backhand feed from Henrik Zetterberg just twenty seconds into the second period, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

A 4:10 span later in the period turned the tables, however, and the Red Wings never recovered.

At 9:35, Dany Heatley threw a shot through traffic that beat Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek after Mrazek while Mrazek was recovering from going down off an earlier chance.

Jason Zucker scored his first career NHL goal 3:38 later. After Jonathan Ericsson pinched in from the point in the Minnesota zone, Zucker blew past him, Valtteri Filppula and Mikael Samuelsson to have a clear lane down the right wing. He gained the Detroit zone untouched and snapped a shot past Mrazek to tie things up.

Just 32 seconds later, Torrey Mitchell knocked a loose puck past Mrazek off a faceoff in the Detroit zone.

Damien Brunner had opened the scoring at 8:48 of the first period when he deflected a Datsyuk chance past Kuemper.

Kuemper finished the night with 29 saves on 31 shots while Mrazek made 21 saves on 24 shots.

Red Wings Blanked by Wild, Drop Fourth Straight

The Detroit Red Wings lost their fourth consecutive game Saturday night, a 1-0 shutout by the Minnesota Wild.

Goaltender Josh Harding stopped all 36 shots Detroit threw at him to earn the win, with the one goal that Jimmy Howard allowed on twenty shots being all the Wild needed.

Dany Heatley scored the game’s only goal midway through the opening period, snapping a shot past Howard on a two-on-one..

The Red Wings look to snap their slump on Tuesday when they host the Wild in the back end of this home-and-home series.

Red Wings Complete Comeback, Force Game Seven with 3-1 Win over Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings became just the eighth team in NHL history to rally from down 3-0 in a series and force Game Seven, defeating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game Six Tuesday night.

The teams will meet in the deciding game of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup on Thursday night.

With their season on the line for the third consecutive game, the Red Wings dominated early but were unable to beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. Detroit outshot San Jose 32-13 through the first two period but the game was still scoreless heading into the third.

Logan Couture beat Jimmy Howard to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 3:54 of the closing period. After the Red Wings failed to clear their zone, Dany Heatley put a shot on net that Howard knocked aside. Couture swatted the rebound between Howard’s pads and it just barely crossed the goal line.

Henrik Zetterberg tied things up with 9:22 left in the period, tipping a Niklas Kronwall shot high over Niemi and into the top of the net.

Just 1:54 later, Valtteri Filppula took a feed from from Pavel Datsyuk at the top of the crease and tipped the puck past Niemi to put the Red Wings in front with 7:28 to play.

After Detroit killed a late penalty, Darren Helm added an empty net goal to finish off the game’s scoring and ensure that the series would return to San Jose.

Niemi finished the night with 42 saves on 44 shots. Howard made 24 saves on 25 chances.

Neither team scored a power play goal. Detroit had six chances with the extra attacker to San Jose’s four.

The Red Wings were without Johan Franzen for the game, out with a sore ankle that was aggravated in Game Five after a hit by Joe Thornton. Mike Modano replaced him in the lineup. Jiri Hudler was also swapped in for Kris Draper, while Jakub Kindl remained a healthy scratch on defense… The Sharks were without Ryane Clowe, who did not make the trip to Detroit. Ben Eager played in his place.

Helm’s Late Goal Keeps Red Wings Alive Against Sharks

Darren Helm scored with 1:27 remaining in regulation Friday night, giving the Detroit Red Wings a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks and forcing a Game Five in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

The Sharks lead the series, 3-1, and could have finished the Red Wings off in Game Four.

After a faceoff in the San Jose end, Brian Rafalski held the puck in and fired a shot on goal from the right point. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi made the stop but the rebound came out to Patrick Eaves in the right faceoff circle, who pushed it across to Helm in the left circle for a wrister past Niemi.

The tally made up for a first-period turnover by Helm, leading to San Jose’s first goal and the start of a comeback after Detroit took a 3-0 lead in the first period.

With 1:44 left in the first, just 15 seconds after the Red Wings extended their early lead to 3-0, Helm turned the puck over to Ryane Clowe at the Detroit blue line. Clowe carried the puck down low along the left wing boards and threw it on net. Logan Couture got a piece of it on the way through and it trickled through Jimmy Howard‘s pads to make it 3-1.

Dan Boyle pulled the Sharks to within a single goal with 6:16 remaining in the second, slipping past Jiri Hudler into the right circle all alone, then taking a pass from Kyle Wellwood and snapping a shot past Howard.

Just 1:14 into the third, Dany Heatley beat Howard from the top of the crease off a pass from Clowe to complete the comeback, but the Sharks would be unable to pull ahead.

Todd Bertuzzi had opened the game’s scoring at 6:22 of the first. Bertuzzi carried the puck into the San Jose zone and spun around Heatley at the top of the left circle before backhanding a shot that deflected and fluttered past Niemi.

Nicklas Lidstrom made it 2-0 with 8:51 left in the period, blasting the rebound of a Danny Cleary shot by Niemi.

Lidstrom’s second of the night made it 3-0 with 1:59 left in the opening frame. In the closing seconds of a Detroit power play, Henrik Zetterberg pulled the puck out of a scramble around the front of the net and brought it to the left circle. He sent a high pass out to Lidstrom in the right circle, who knocked it down off his knee and then whacked a shot out of mid-air on Niemi. The puck bounced off the ice and skipped past the San Jose goalie.

Lidstrom’s second was the lone power play goal of the night. Detroit had four tries with the extra attacker while San Jose had two.

Niemi made 36 saves on 40 shots on the night. Howard stopped 25 of 28 shots.

The two teams will meet in San Jose for Game Five on Sunday.

Mike Modano, Drew Miller and Jakub Kindl were the healthy scratches for the Red Wings.

Power Play Goals Not Enough For Wings in Loss to Sharks

The Detroit Red Wings scored two first-period power play goals Monday night but could manage nothing else against the San Jose Sharks as they dropped a 5-2 decision at Joe Louis Arena.

It was just the team’s second home regulation loss of the season.

Tomas Holmstrom redirected a Nicklas Lidstrom slap shot past San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 7:48 of the first to open the game’s scoring.

An apparent goal by Valtteri Filppula was waived off minutes later but officials blew the play dead as the puck slipped under Niemi, before it rolled out from under him and into the net.

With Detroit’s momentum halted Joe Thornton got the Sharks on the board while shorthanded.

Playing the point on the power play, Jiri Hudler pinched in to swat at a loose puck but Dany Heatley got it past him. Heatley and Thornton went in on a two-on-one, with Heatley passing across for an easy goal by Thornton with 4:01 remaining in the period.

Johan Franzen put the Red Wings back in front 2:36 later, scoring from an acute angle on a nice passing play from Brian Rafalski and Holmstrom.

Niclas Wallin’s shot from the point at 4:53 of the second was deflected past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to tie the game back up and Logan Couture put the Sharks out front eight seconds later, snapping a shot from the left circle past Howard.

Heatley scored on another two-on-one with 1:03 left in the period, this time keeping the puck and snapping it past Howard from the right faceoff circle.

Couture’s second of the night wrapped up the game’s scoring as he tipped a Ryane Clowe pass in behind Howard with 8:43 to play.

Niemi stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced, with only 11 of those saves needing to come in the second and third periods. Howard made 30 saves on 35 shots.

Detroit scored on two of their six power plays and allowed one shorthanded goal. The Sharks were scoreless on four tries with the extra attacker.

The Red Wings are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Nashville Predators.

Zetterberg’s Four Points Lead Red Wings over Sharks

Henrik Zetterberg factored in all but one of Detroit’s goals Tuesday night, notching four points as the Red Wings picked up a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks to open a three-game West Coast road trip.

Zetterberg helped the Red Wings open the scoring at 4:50 of the first period, working the puck to Danny Cleary at the top of the crease for a tap-in on a Detroit power play.

Pavel Datsyuk made it 2-0 8:01 into the game, splitting a pair of defenders just inside the blue line and skating around San Jose goalie Antero Niittymaki. Zetterberg picked up the second assist on the goal.

The Sharks pulled to within a goal just 1:34 later when a Joe Thornton chance from the bottom of the right faceoff circle deflected off of Dany Heatley and past Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard for a power play goal.

Zetterberg made it 3-1 2:58 into the second, swatting the puck out of mid-air in the slot and past Niittymaki. The goal came just seconds after the expiration of a Detroit power play.

San Jose once again replied quickly, with Benn Ferriero driving to the net and knocking the puck past Howard 1:54 later.

Patrick Eaves restored Detroit’s two-goal lead with 11 seconds left in the period, deflecting a shot from Cleary past Niittymaki.

Zetterberg finished off Detroit’s scoring at 7:55 of the third, roofing a shot into an open net off a fantastic pass from Datsyuk.

Ryane Clowe scored once more for San Jose after the Sharks killed a four-minute Detroit power play but the Red Wings would hold on to win.

Detroit finished the night one-for-four on the power play. The Sharks scored once on two chances with the extra attacker.

Howard made 25 saves on 28 shots to earn the win. Niittymaki stopped 24 of 29 shots.

The Red Wings will continue their road trip on Friday as they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

Red Wings Fall to Sharks in Penalty-Filled Affair

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 4-3 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, falling down two games to none in their playoff series in a game that was marred by 14 penalty calls.

The Sharks trailed 3-2 heading into the third period and the Red Wings seemed to have momentum. Then Todd Bertuzzi and Niklas Kronwall were sent to the box. On the ensuing five-on-three, Joe Pavelski scored his second of the night to tie the game 4:40 into the period.

Joe Thornton would score the game-winner with 7:23 left in regulation, putting home the rebound of a Dany Heatley shot on a three-on-one after Nicklas Lidstrom‘s stick shattered at the San Jose blue line.

Pavel Datsyuk had opened the scoring at 6:51 of the first period, flinging a wrister off the post and in behind goalie Evgeni Nabokov while covered by two Sharks.

Pavelski tied things up on a power play blast from just inside the blue line 2:10 later.

Ryane Clowe put the Sharks ahead with a backhander from in close with 9:28 left in the first but Tomas Holmstrom tipped a Brian Rafalski power play shot past Nabokov 2:45 later to tie things back up.

Nicklas Lidstrom blasted a shot past Nabokov to put Detroit in front just as a power play expired, two minutes into the second period.

The Red Wings finished the night one-for-four on the power play with 4:38 of time with the extra attacker. The Sharks went two for ten in 12:54 of time, including 1:06 of five-on-three.

Jimmy Howard made 41 saves on 45 San Jose shots. Nabokov stopped 28 of Detroit’s 31 chances.

The series will shift to Detroit for Game Three on Tuesday.

The Red Wings were without forward Patrick Eaves, out with an elbow injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Jason Williams.

Quick Goals Doom Red Wings in Game One Loss

The San Jose Sharks scored three goals in a 1:19 span in the first period Thursday night, putting the Detroit Red Wings in a hole that they couldn’t dig out of.

Joe Pavelski opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal at 9:05 of the first. Pavelski was left alone in the slot to take a pass from Dan Boyle and whip a shot past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

Dany Heatley scored his first of the playoffs 56 seconds later. After the Sharks controlled a faceoff in the Detroit end, Joe Thornton took the puck behind the net and sent a pass out to Heatley at the top of the crease. Heatley banged it past Howard to give San Jose a 2-0 lead.

Just 23 seconds later, Devin Setoguchi made it 3-0 on another goal from the slot, snapping a shot into the net with Howard caught slow coming across.

The Red Wings got on the board 1:16 later, when Danny Cleary scored his first goal of the postseason. Cleary was all alone in front of San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov and redirected a Jonathan Ericsson pass into the net.

Johan Franzen pulled Detroit to within a goal at 4:45 of the second period, snapping a shot from the slot into the top of the net.

Pavelski restored San Jose’s two goal lead 50 seconds into the third, swinging a shot from the inside edge of the left faceoff circle between Howard’s pads while the Sharks skated on a five-on-three.

Brian Rafalski responded 2:07 later, pinching in to snap a shot from the right faceoff circle past Nabokov.

The Red Wings failed to even the game up despite pulling Howard for the extra attacker in the game’s final minutes, with the Sharks holding on for the 4-3 win.

San Jose scored on two of their six power play chances, including 57 seconds of five-on-three time. The Red Wings were scoreless on five power play tries.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 27 shots. Nabokov stopped 20 of 23 Detroit chances.

The two teams will meet in Game Two on Sunday night.

The Sharks were without forward Patrick Marleau, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms.

Wings Sign Hossa to One Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Wednesday the signing of free agent forward Marian Hossa to a one-year deal.

As per team policy the financial terms were not announced but TSN of Canada reports that the contract is worth $7.4 million.

That amount was the most that the team was willing to pay any player as they were determined to make sure that captain and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom would remain the team’s highest-paid played.

Hossa was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins team that the Red Wings defeated in the Stanley Cup Finals in June, having been dealt there from the Atlanta Thrashers at the NHL’s February trade deadline.

He scored 12 goals and added 14 assists in Pittsburgh’s 20 playoff games after scoring 29 goals and 37 assists throughout the regular season.

The Penguins dealt Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft to the Thrashers for Hossa and Pascal Dupuis on February 27.

Hossa was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators, who traded him with Greg deVries to Atlanta for Dany Heatley in the summer of 2005.

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