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Datsyuk's decision

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk will play for Team Russia in the world championships before making the final decision on his future. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT -- Pavel Datsyuk says he needs more time to make a final decision but the Red Wings aren't counting on him for next season.

"It's not enough time now and I don't want to rush," Datsyuk said after the Wings took their team photo. "It's a really tough decision for me and I need more time. When I go back and play world champion, I think about more. Probably after world champion, early in June, I meet again with Ken Holland and make a final decision probably."

Datsyuk will play for Team Russia in the International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship, which is being held in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia from May 6-22.

"It's more play here, more playoff series but it's not, it's world champion in Russia, it's back home to play in front of our fans and go home and it's exciting," Datsyuk said.

Datsyuk missed the first 15 games of the season after offseason ankle surgery and said it affected him all season, but especially right after he came back.

Asked now whether his ankle is OK, Datsyuk said, "When I'm standing in front of you, yes. I think it's fine. But it's the beginning in the surgery, doctors say you need a little bit longer time healing with your surgery, it's not easy one. But it's fine. I can skate, I can play and keep shooting."

Now it's a matter of whether Datsyuk will keep skating, playing and shooting for the Wings for one more season.

Datsyuk's longtime teammate and Euro Twin, captain Henrik Zetterberg, said he has spoken to Datsyuk.

"I have a good idea (what he's going to do)," Zetterberg said.

Niklas Kronwall also sounded like he knew what Datsyuk's decision would be.

"It kind of feels like he’s made up his mind but at the same time there’s a part of you that wants to keep the hope alive," Kronwall said. "I say let’s keep hoping until we hear something."

General manager Ken Holland is hoping Datsyuk returns, but he's preparing for his departure.

"Given my past conversations with Pav and (agent) Dan Milstein over the last year, given the article that came out by Mitch Albom, given what’s going on back there, with his teammates taking pictures and doing things with him, I guess I would probably expect news that he’s not coming back," Holland said.

Datsyuk has said that his family in Russia is a factor in the decision but not the only one.

"I don't want to like really share factors, it's many factors, good thing, bad thing," Datsyuk said. "I don't want to get involved, especially when many people, everybody have their own decision, own opinion. I just want to be more when I make a decision, I want to just more figure out it's my decision, not hear from people what their thoughts, everything."

Holland said he is making two plans, one for life with Datsyuk and one for life without.

Datsyuk has one more year remaining on his contract and if he decided to return home to Russia, $7.5 million would count against the salary cap, unless the Wings could trade his contract to another team trying to meet the cap floor.

"If he’s not here you’d like to move the cap space but if the price is going to be lots of futures it doesn’t make any sense," Holland said. "Pav’s got one year left. To pay prime prospects or prime draft picks to free up one year of cap space, given where this franchise is, because of 25 years of being in the playoffs and not picking very high, so we’ll see."

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