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Datsyuk is the best 2 way player in the world

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Old
03-18-2013, 03:26 AM
  #501
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While I don't doubt he wasn't a Selke calibre player in first couple season, I don't think that those quotes are fair game.

Reputation is a major influence on whether a player is viewed as a good defensive player. Since he was a young dangler from Russia the default assumption was that he wasn't a great defensive player. From there people will more strongly remember the events that support their opinion ("Datsyuk missed his check today, he's horrible"). Eventually, his growth as a player and fans growing more familiar with him meant that his reputation changed.

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03-18-2013, 03:44 AM
  #502
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Originally Posted by Hynh View Post
While I don't doubt he wasn't a Selke calibre player in first couple season, I don't think that those quotes are fair game.

Reputation is a major influence on whether a player is viewed as a good defensive player. Since he was a young dangler from Russia the default assumption was that he wasn't a great defensive player. From there people will more strongly remember the events that support their opinion ("Datsyuk missed his check today, he's horrible"). Eventually, his growth as a player and fans growing more familiar with him meant that his reputation changed.
I'm not sure how much of that reputation had developed at that point. The previous generation of Russian hockey players had included many from the Soviet system, all of whom were taught defensively-sound hockey. In fact, the late 1990s and early 2000s was a time when drafting Russian hockey players was a popular thing to do for most teams.

The most concerning Russian star in terms of his defensive game was likely Ilya Kovalchuk, as another thread suggests, and he had only been in the league for two seasons. Nikolai Zherdev jumps out as a poor defensive player as well, but I don't think Russian players were generalized as defensive liabilities at the time as much as they are today.

In another thread from 2003, members discussed the idea of an all-Russian team in the NHL; nobody mentioned anything about the team being vulnerable defensively. In fact, most posters were intrigued at the idea:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...ad.php?t=14221

In a thread about one-dimensional players, Andy Delmore, Sergei Berezin and Ilya Kovalchuk were the most-frequently named. I don't think Berezin and Kovalchuk had single-handedly shaped the generalization of Russian players being poor defensively at that point. In fact, in terms of offensively-skilled players being defensive liabilities, there were those who mentioned Mario Lemieux as one of the biggest culprits. Russian players had not yet apparently been isolated or generalized as a major concern defensively.

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...ad.php?t=12928

I think, when those posters agreed unanimously that Pavel Datsyuk was not very good in his own zone, they were being quite genuine. They were hopeful as Red Wings fans, but admitted he had issues defensively.

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03-18-2013, 03:47 AM
  #503
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Isn't it kind of a no-brainer that defensive skill develops over a longer period than offensive skill? I mean isn't it common knowledge that defense prospects take longer to make the NHL than offense?

What this means is that experience perhaps more than anything contributes to a player's ability to read plays defensively, so a smart player like Datsyuk can and should get better defensively over the years regardless. So is it really surprising that a player -- a Russian player mind you -- can make the NHL on the strength of his offensive skills, then make ongoing gains in the defensive aspect of his game?

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03-18-2013, 03:50 AM
  #504
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Datsyuk had above average tendencies on D from the very beginning. He was learning the game and I don't think a lot of people if any really saw him becoming what he is today. Keep in mind when he broke in the other natural centers on the team were some guys named Yzerman, Larionov, Fedorov, and Draper. So a lot of those posts are a by product of watching guys that just didn't make a lot of mistakes.

Also for as much as everyone loves to talk about the different Hull post St. Louis. He still was usually at fault for some of what Datsyuk took the blame for while blaming the rookie. Datsyuk wasn't the force he is now, but he still backchecked and had a very active stick.

I have no problem saying I thought Zetterberg had a higher ceiling. There are times you could debate him being the better player through the years. Both guys had the drive to keep getting better and it is a big part of who each guy is. However, they each started with strong bases from the first second they showed up in North America they were often overlooked or nitpicked on role. When it was their chance to be the guys and play elite minutes I think people got a better understanding of what was there all along.

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03-18-2013, 04:23 AM
  #505
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Datsyuk is still not better than guys who put up 1.5-2x as many points as he does and play average defense.

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03-18-2013, 04:23 AM
  #506
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Originally Posted by BigBootsie View Post


Maybe another thread wasn't needed?

But on "topic," yes, I believe his two-way game was developed over time. I really doubt he was born knowing how to be a fantastic two-way player. Although maybe he was!

We could have more discussions on how Crosby is the best player at everything or how great Anaheim/Chicago is or whatever else HFBoards likes to talk about

Though I will admit, as a Wings fan. These Datsyuk threads are getting abit much. He's a great player no doubt, but it's starting to get ridiculous. Though this thread is interesting. I don't remember much about his defense when he started, but I remember I was always watching him when he was on the ice. It's how he became my favorite players, seeing opinions on him from way back when though, it's mind blowing how he ended up being one of the top five best currently.

So glad he's a Wing

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03-18-2013, 04:43 AM
  #507
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Like some guys above have me said already, the guys he learned from were Hall of Famers, and add in Datsyuk's already amazing hockey sense, and he's able to pick up the defensiveness side of the game.

Just look at that power play in the clip, 19, 17, 5, 8 all on the ice with Datsyuk.

I think he's kind of like Crosby in the way that he could pick up parts of the game that he needs to work at, and learn them, and then be one of the best at them.

Keep in mind though there are a lot of guys who can play the defensive game that includes blocking shots, checking, clogging lanes, etc, but not a lot of guys can play the type of game Datsyuk plays, because you need such a high hockey IQ.

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03-18-2013, 04:48 AM
  #508
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I would think Datsyuk is much stronger today than he was back then. He uses his strength quite a bit on the defensive side and a lot of his steals are due to a good combination of quickness and strength.

He was weaker and not used to the heavy schedule when coming into the NHL.

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03-18-2013, 04:52 AM
  #509
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When Datsyuk first stepped on the ice as a Red Wing, it was a different time. For one, the Internet and scouting wasn't what it was today. I hadn't a clue about hockey message boards and thus knew next to nothing about him. In addition, Detroit was coming off of one of the loudest offseasons you could imagine: trading for Hasek, signing Hull, singing Robitaille, and to a lesser degree signing Olausson. It was literally the perfect storm for a relatively unknown player to enter with as little hype as you can imagine.

Despite the team and circumstances that surrounded him, it didn't take long for him to leave an impression. Almost immediately his puck skills were evident and you knew that they weren't normal skills. I remember thinking "this is a team full of rock stars and yet this kid is doing things with the puck that I've never seen before."
He'd frequently turn players around with his moves, but he didn't yet know how to fully engage and take advantage of his skill. Scotty Bowman had to tell him that he only had to beat an opposing player once, as he'd often make a great move but then end up in the same spot and seemingly try to play keep away with the same player. In addition, he was about as big as a "pass first" guy that you would see. One of the biggest complaints early on (and still sometimes today) about him was how he always looked to pass instead of shooting when in a scoring position. Eventually he got placed on a line with Hull (and Deveraux) and he got really hot during a stretch of the season. His pass first mentality was essentially made for a player like Hull. Bowman gave him PP time and you quickly realized that his offensive ceiling could be quite high.

Despite the flashes of skill and brilliance, Datsyuk was weak, soft, and shy. When I say shy, I mean that on the ice as well. At times it seemed like he was shy to engage.

The following two seasons he continued to blossom offensively. During his 3rd season (the first without Fedorov) he was given a bigger role and took it by the horns. In December of that year, he was actually leading the NHL in points at a point in time. Physically he would wear out easy though. He was still small and weak.

With all of the offensive potential crystal clear, the defensive side of the puck was a completely different story. He was learning the defensive side of the puck from day 1, but he wasn't good. Even during his 3rd season (03-04) I viewed him as a defensive liability. He got a little time on the PK and we seen flashes of his defensive stickwork, but he wasn't fully engaged IMO. His strength also made it tough for him to push players off the puck. His line with an aging Hull was fun to watch in the offensive zone, but they had trouble getting out of their own end when teams would cycle against them. With that being said, he was learning and improving. He went from 47% to 54% in faceoffs from year 1 to 3.

At this time (around the lockout), I thought his offensive ceiling was through the roof. If, however, you told me he was going to turn into a 2 way, complete forward I would have laughed. I can't imagine even his biggest fans would have predicted the soon to develop all around game that we would see...

After the lockout expectation were high. Offensively he delivered. He was clearly becoming stronger on his skates and with the team quickly becoming his and Zetterberg's upfront, you seen him become less "shy" and willing to engage more without the puck. With that being said, i still wouldn't have thought he'd continue to develop defensively like he did. And this is 2005-2006. He was no longer a liability, but Selke and Datsyuk didn't belong together.

2006-2007 is where things really took a turn. In addition to continued lower body strength that let him win more battles, he started becoming ridiculously disruptive with his stick. The player that is well known for stealing pucks really arrived here. He led the league in takeaways with over 100, edging out the brilliant backchecking Hossa. Babcock put him on the PK much more than he ever experienced in his career and he was for the first time in his career really engaged. His hockey sense that could always create offense was now being used to anticipate and disruptive the opposition more frequently. You now realized that we were dealing with a 2 way player that was slowly catching up to the already defensive gifted Zetterberg. He started receiving a few Selke votes this season, but he wasn't done growing.

The next season, his first Selke win, he was the most disruptive player you could imagine. His defensive reputation still wasn't as well known around the league yet apparently, so players didn't yet realize that you had to be aware of him when he was on the ice. His 144 steals were nearly 60 more than the next player (Modano.) And it's not like it was because the arena he played half his games in.. Even Zetterberg was almost 100 takeaways behind him. In addition, his strength was great now. He'd win almost all of his puck and board battles, could physically push players off the puck, and his understanding of the defensive game had grown. He was also more engaged than ever (doubled his previous high on hits.)
During this season, I remember a thread on the mainboard claiming "Datsyuk is the most complete forward in the game."
The player and the recognition had begun to arrive.

The rest is history, as he has only continued his mastery without the puck. He has actually improved defensively since then IMO. He's responsible to a fault at times. Ask Detroit fans and they'll tell you that he goes through stretches where he basically decides to play more like a 3rd defenceman than a forward.

I remember a HNIC segment a couple of years ago where Babcock told a story of how he had to tell Datsyuk and Zetterberg to get out of the training room. Babcock walked in prior to a game and the two of them were working out and pushing themselves and Babcock said something like "what are you guys doing, you know we have a game here shortly?" To which they replied, "we have to get ready for the playoffs."

That's the type of commitment it took for Datsyuk to become the player he will forever be known for. He could have just gotten by with his skill and been an offensive player. He choose to get stronger, work on his game without the puck, and take it to a new level. A level that not even I, his biggest fan since his first couple of seasons, could have imagined. It's been an absolute treat to watch the transformation.

IMO a defensive game takes 3 main aspects: will, skill, and IQ.

Datsyuk was blessed with two of them: skill and an IQ to see the game at a higher level than most players. Once he took it upon himself to get the will (to get stronger and battle more and want to compete without the puck), he blossomed.

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03-18-2013, 04:53 AM
  #510
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^ Fantastic post. Thank you for that.

Here's a post from 2003 regarding Pavel's defensive play in a thread about his offense:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...2&postcount=34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironchef Chris Wok*
Datsyuk's offense... blah blah blah...

Sure the guy's great offensively. But what about defense? The guy I compare Dats to is Igor...

The reason the Professor is among the best players of all time (Looking more at International Play) was because he got the job done at BOTH ends of the rink.

I love Igor, and I think Datsyuk is one hell of a player. He'll pop 60 points annually. But I question him on the defensive side. He does the "bare minimum" on D, isn't a "liability" per say, but not really a "positive" either. Until he gets his defense down so that the coaches can actually put him out on the PK (not saying he has to play PK, but he should be good enough to play PK), I won't rate him that high on my list "players w/ insane offensive talent".

Also, another question I'd like to ask about Datsyuk is his faceoff ability. Is he any good at them? I hate to sound like I'm from EA Sports, but they are damn important. Stevie Y is good at them, Igor is good at them... how good is Dats at the dot?
It seemed unanimous at the time that Zetterberg would be the better defensive player while Datsyuk would be the flashy offensive player. They were labelled as completely different kinds of players. In a debate regarding Zetterberg vs Datsyuk, here's what one poster had to say:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...34&postcount=3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoalzie
I don't want to get into this argument. Both are fine young players...why is there a need to say who's better? Each guy has their own niche on the team. Datsyuk has great creativity with the puck and commands attention when he's on the ice and Zetterberg is the more technically sound player that is great on both ends of the ice.
Another response:
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...70&postcount=4
Quote:
Originally Posted by kira
Really...that's like comparing oranges and bananas...they are both good...
Though both were developing, fans had labelled Datsyuk as an offensive player while Zetterberg would, in their opinions, become the better defensive player. Pavel was not great defensively and had to really work on his game. The key is that he was (and is) a smart player, and that he was willing to learn and to analyze what adjustments he needed to make. His environment may have also played a role, which is why I believe young players need the right coaches in order to properly develop the defensive side of their game.

Pavel went from being below average defensively to becoming one of the very best. It's not even that Zetterberg was just projected to have a higher ceiling; the two were expected to serve different purposes for the team -- one on offense, and one at both ends of the rink.

If there's any story about a purely offensive player transforming into a dominant two-way player, it has to be Pavel's. It really leaves a lot of potential for some of the NHL's younger players right now to improve if they set their minds on it and are guided in the proper direction.


Last edited by JetsAlternate: 03-18-2013 at 05:19 AM.
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Old
03-18-2013, 05:05 AM
  #511
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Originally Posted by masterson View Post
Datsyuk is still not better than guys who put up 1.5-2x as many points as he does and play average defense.
Mario Lemieux? Wayne Gretzky? Yea, I agree.

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03-18-2013, 05:20 AM
  #512
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Edmonton fans are going to love this.

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03-18-2013, 05:34 AM
  #513
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Wow.Didnt even realize the dude is 18 points behind Sidney Crosby. Kind of poor for the "best player in the game"

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03-18-2013, 06:04 AM
  #514
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Originally Posted by JetsAlternate View Post
Though both were developing, fans had labelled Datsyuk as an offensive player while Zetterberg would, in their opinions, become the better defensive player
Yeah that was the reputation and rightfully so. Like stated, Datsyuk's 2 way development couldn't have been predicted.

Z came into the NHL with a defensive reputation. Before he even put on a Detroit jersey we heard about it. Once Datsyuk really took off as a rookie, I remember Detroit's tv broadcasters talking about "the kid who was on his way."
Z had grown to a point where quite a few considered him the best player not currently in the NHL in 2002. And we heard about how he was very polished and played a 200 ft game. And thank goodness they were absolutely correct. Don't get me wrong, his defensive game also grew tremendously, but he was a good 2 way forward from day 1. He developed into a great one.

From day 1 until 2007-2008, Z was hands down a better defensive forward. 2007-2008 is where Datsyuk surprisingly reached his level IMO. They were almost equals without the puck during that time period. Datsyuk was the most disruptive forward in the NHL and Zetterberg was probably the smartest and best shadow. Together it wasn't even fair. And it obviously helped bring Detroit great success.

In 2008-2009 Datsyuk surpassed him IMO. He continued to get better at using his body and also just kept improving a lot of the little things. Z seemed to lose a little bit of a step and wasn't as consistently hounding guys as well. Both were still elite, but Z spent more time in the defensive zone between the two. That's one of Datsyuk's greatest defensive strengths: he's so good at disrupting transition that teams really struggle to gain the offensive zone against his unit. Zetteberg obviously showed he could still play at the highest level when the 2009 Finals and Crosby returned, but it'd be false to say he played like that defensively all year long. But that's part of what makes him such a great player - he takes his game to another level when the stage gets bigger.

Since then it's been a continuing trend though IMO. He's not as good a skater as he was and thus doesn't have the motor to go 100% consistently. His unit consistently spends more time in the defensive zone than Datsyuk's and thus gets scored on more. The past two seasons have also become bothersome in how he's trying to do too much with the puck in the defensive zone. He turns the puck over a lot more than he did from 06-10.

Z's still very good defensively, and I don't question his ability to play elite defense in the biggest games, but at this point in time Datsyuk is just simply better.

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03-18-2013, 06:11 AM
  #515
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Originally Posted by masterson View Post
Datsyuk is still not better than guys who put up 1.5-2x as many points as he does and play average defense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wheeled Winger View Post
Mario Lemieux? Wayne Gretzky? Yea, I agree.
How about Crosby at 1.5?

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03-18-2013, 06:13 AM
  #516
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Could just be because I'm a Sharks fan, but IMO Datsyuk is declining these past few years and can no longer be called the best 2 way forward. He's still capable of magic but it's much fewer and further between than in years past.

The past few years Thornton has been getting the better of him and while Thornton has become one of the better 2-way players in the league, I don't think he's the best so that puts Datsyuk a good number of spots off the top.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure Toews is significantly better than Datsyuk right now as a 2-way player, and that's not a knock on Datsyuk. Toews is entering his prime as a 30-goal scorer, Datsyuk has not been that offensively dangerous in quite a while and his health is becoming an issue.
If I wasn't at work I would post that video of Datsyuk in the Sharks playoff series making Thornton look like a kid. Thornton is nowhere near to Datsyuk in terms of two way play.

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03-18-2013, 06:17 AM
  #517
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I would listen to Bowman when he knew Datsyuk had that ability in him, not some hfboard posters. Working with Yzerman I'm sure had an impact as well.

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03-18-2013, 06:29 AM
  #518
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Originally Posted by Timeghoul View Post
Datsyuk is above a PPG despite playing the entire season with Cleary and Abdelkader as his linemates. That says it all.

Also, Datsyuk lead the league in points per minute twice in his career but no one ever talks about it because Malkin/Ovechkin/Crosby always got so much more icetime, especially ont he PP, and a lot of Datsyuk's minutes go to playing on the PK. Playing for the Wings has hindered what Datsyuk might have been able to do on a team that used him only to try and score as much as he possibly can. I'd love for him to play for a high-scoring, all offense team for just one season for that reason.

Oh, and Zetterberg has been a joke defensively this year, he's been about as good as Kessel in his own zone
Excellent stat - a case as good as any that a younger Datsyuk was easily on the same level of Ovy and Crosby.

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03-18-2013, 06:41 AM
  #519
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Crosby logged more PK time both per game and total than Datsyuk the last time Datsyuk won the Selke.

While scoring 50 goals and 100+ points.
By what, 10 seconds a game?

Why aren't you mentioning the extra 2 minutes a game of PP time Crosby had that season?

I love how you pick on what was Datsyuk's worst season offensively since his sophomore season.

Datsyuk averaged more points/minute than Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, or anyone over the course of 2 seasons.

THAT means if he'd been given the minutes that those players received that year, he would have easily won the Art Ross.


Instead of being sheltered against easy opposition like these guys were in the pre<2010 seasons - he was playing the opposition's best offensive players in a shut-down role while simultaneously scoring at the highest rate in the league. That's amazing.

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03-18-2013, 06:48 AM
  #520
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I think Datsyuk's line could shut down Crosby's line in a head-to-head matchup.

I know Crosby is huge compared to Dats but I don't think it'd phase him. He's already dealt with Thornton/Getzlaf in a similar fashion, absolutely abusing them in a matchup game.

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03-18-2013, 07:13 AM
  #521
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Originally Posted by Hemsky_83 View Post
By what, 10 seconds a game?

Why aren't you mentioning the extra 2 minutes a game of PP time Crosby had that season?

I love how you pick on what was Datsyuk's worst season offensively since his sophomore season.

Datsyuk averaged more points/minute than Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, or anyone over the course of 2 seasons.

THAT means if he'd been given the minutes that those players received that year, he would have easily won the Art Ross.


Instead of being sheltered against easy opposition like these guys were in the pre<2010 seasons - he was playing the opposition's best offensive players in a shut-down role while simultaneously scoring at the highest rate in the league. That's amazing.
Hypothetically you can create any scenario for any player to be better than they are.

I'm sure Crosby would score more if he was matched up against team's 3rd or 4th best defensive lines.

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03-18-2013, 07:38 AM
  #522
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I'd hate to see this flat-out lie be something that stick to his reputation. I guess youtubers simply don't make compilations of all the games where Toews dominates the opposition shift after shift after shift, both offensively and defensively...
Please explain to me how this is a flat out lie. You have people in every thread that compare these two saying that Datsyuk is much better than Toews offensively, which is simply inaccurate based on their offensive production over the last 3 seasons. How else do you explain this phenomenon other than Datsyuk's flashiness leads to people overestimating his offensive prowess?

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03-18-2013, 08:03 AM
  #523
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Datsyuk is most definitely overrated on these boards.

There's a few guys I would take on my team before him. Great player though.

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03-18-2013, 08:10 AM
  #524
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It has a lot to do with his strength IMO. Around the years after the lockout he became very strong, especially in his lower body.

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03-18-2013, 08:11 AM
  #525
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juantimer View Post
The past few years Thornton has been getting the better of him and while Thornton has become one of the better 2-way players in the league, I don't think he's the best so that puts Datsyuk a good number of spots off the top.
...Okay, just because the Wings lost to the Sharks twice does not mean Joe Thornton is winning a man-on-man with Pavel Datsyuk.

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