The first statement in bold is incorrect - in his official retirement press conference, he was asked if he knew about the age 35+ rule when he signed the 3 year extension and the financial implications it would have on this team: His answer "Yeah I know, they explain me everything - Yes I know". (https://www.nhl.com/...7578/c-44232103) - fast forward to the 7:13 mark.
The second statement in bold is exactly why he shouldn't have his number retired, nor will the organization celebrate him much moving forward.
He was absolutely one of the best two-way players we have had on this team, and he left on the worst terms I can remember. To say that we offered him a hometown discount is generally true, but also a very ironic statement. We seem to forget that in 2001 - he came to a championship caliber team, to learn from the best coach in NHL history at a time when the KHL was incomparable in terms of player salary. In the 14 years he played here, he amassed over $80,000,000 USD - which actually would have made Russia the "hometown discount" had he stayed there his entire career.
The reason I can't side with him here, has more to do with the collateral effects this decision renders - more than him deciding to leave early. He signed a 3 year contract extension exactly 2 years ago, and apparently needed convincing to honour even the 2nd year before doing the exact same thing in Russia. That disregard toward the ownership/franchise that took a chance/invested heavily into him makes it clear that he absolutely doesn't care about the state of this team, or the fact that (1) unloading his contract is going to cost us a valuable asset or (2) if we fail to unload his cap hit, we cant sign an equivalent replacement.
All in all, from the start of this post-season when he approved the release of an article that confirmed he was heading back home - which was an ill timed distraction - to the news of this weekend, I can't say any of it sits well with me. He failed to do what was so obviously the right thing in this case, and play out the final year. I would understand injury, or perhaps a legitimate family situation - but to simply go home (considering the impact it has on the Red Wings) a year early makes me feel like when he needed us, we gave him every opportunity and more to succeed and make his "family" a lot more money than Russia could have. But the KHL has evolved, and maybe now that he doesn't need us as much as he once did - his decision becomes one out of preference rather than respect.
You've convinced me. Datsyuk screwed the Wings.
- WingedWheel91 likes this