When I co-wrote the book "What It Means to be a Red Wing" Datsyuk agreed to be in the book and wanted to be interviewed at a Starbucks near his home. When I arrive at the crowded Starbucks, Pavel is sitting by himself, talking on his cell phone. He sees me and tells me, "Art, get anything you want. I have Starbucks card!" I grab a cup of coffee and interview him for an hour or so. We're sitting there talking, I have a microphone in my hand and nobody comes near us. After the interview is concluded, Datsyuk leaves and I go up to the two high-school-age girls working behind the counter.
"Do you know who that guys was I was talking to?" I ask them.
"We know he ain't American," they tell me.
"You know the Red Wings, right?" I ask.
"Yeah, Steve Yzerman," they say.
"He plays with Steve Yzerman. His name is Pavel Datsyuk and he's one of Detroit's best players," I tell them.
"No way, that guy's not an athlete. He's way too small," the girls respond.
After I assure the girls that Datsyuk is a Red Wing and that not all professional athletes are behemoths, they get all excited. They tell me that Datsyuk is in there all the time and they can't wait to tell their friends that a real live Red Wing comes into their store. Thinking about it later, I realized that Pavel goes there because nobody knows who is. He can go there to mellow out without be approached by anybody. A tremendous feeling of guilt overcame me. I had to tell him what idiotic thing I had just done. The next day after a game, I come clean with Datsyuk. I tell him I'm really sorry for blowing his cover. Pavel looks me straight into the eye, shakes his head and says, "Art, Art, Art, I would be very angry with you if there wasn't a Starbucks on every street corner."