I went to College for broadcasting for a while with aspirations to be a hockey play-by-play guy someday. Not necessarily at the Pro level—after all, my professors always used to joke that I had the looks for radio—but College games on the weekends would have made me happy.
So when I watch the Detroit Red Wings play, and the announcers are forced to come up with descriptions and adjectives for the things that Pavel Datsyuk does on a nightly basis I kind of feel sorry for them.
For the most part it seems they can't help but giggle with delight. I don't think any of us can help it. Datsyuk is that kind of special player that seems to think the game slower, and can make something out of absolutely nothing.
If the NHL has a da Vinci, Datsyuk is it. Albeit a Russian da Vinci, but you get the idea. The ice is his canvas and the puck attached to a string attached to his stick is the brush. And I suppose that would make the rest of us viewers in the art gallery that has become No. 13's endless bag of tricks.
A Marry Poppins sized bag even. Pardon me for mixing metaphors here. Now maybe you see why I feel sorry for the guys having to make the calls up as they go with it. A slapshot from the blueline is one thing. The things that Datsyuk can do with the puck is another explanation entirely.
I scoured YouTube and my memory banks for hours to come up with the top 10 magician-like plays from Datsyuk's stellar career and put them here for your viewing pleasure. Mind you this is roughly two months from the start of the 2011-2012 regular season, and some of these plays will undoubtedly be replaced within a few weeks of that opening puck drop.
But for now, here they are. The top 11 Datsyukian Dekes ever caught on film.