Datsyuk leaving Red Wings: 'I have to go back home'

The best photos of Pavel Datsyuk over the years with Detroit. Produced by Brian Manzullo, DFP. Photos from Free Press file and news services.

Datsyuk finishes his 14-year NHL career — all in Detroit — with 314 goals and 604 assists in 953 games

As he talked about where he will play next, Pavel Datsyuk’s reason for leaving the Detroit Red Wings became clear in a few words.

Asked if it might be the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Datsyuk smiled and said, “all of Russia is beautiful.”

Today saw Datsyuk deliver the final announcement the Detroit Red Wings dreaded – but expected.

“My family and I are grateful for our time here in Detroit,” he said in a press conference during a break at his hockey camp in Orchard Lake St. Mary’s ice arena. “This was not an easy decision, but it is time for us to return home.”

It turns out Datsyuk has wanted to go home for two years. The Wings were able to persuade him to play through 2015-16, and now are stuck with a headache: How to shed the one year, $7.5 million salary cap hit left on his contract so the money can be used to pursue Steven Stamkos, or another high-profile…

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