Pavel Valerievich Datsyuk (Russian: Па́вел Вале́рьевич Дацю́к, IPA: ; born July 20, 1978) is a Russian professional ice hockey player and alternate captain for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is known for his stick-handling and is considered one of the best two-way forwards in the game today, having won the Frank J. Selke Trophy in the 2007–08, 2008–09, and 2009–10 NHL seasons. Datsyuk has also won four consecutive Lady Byng Memorial Trophies for performance and sportsmanship. He was nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player following the 2008–09 season. Datsyuk won the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2008 with the Red Wings. Bottoms Up by Trey Songz is played when he scores a goal at Joe Louis Arena.
Datsyuk was born in Sverdlovsk (Cвердловск) (now Yekaterinburg), in what is the Urals region of Russia. His childhood had more than its fair share of difficulties, especially at the age of 12, when his mother died. While Datsyuk displayed above-average hockey skills, he was often overlooked by scouts because of his smaller size. He began playing for the farm club of Dynamo Yekaterinburg in the mid-1990s, though he seemed headed for an undistinguished career until noted Olympic trainer Vladimir Krikunov began coaching the team.
The boy “with the twitchy walk” caught the eye of Krikunov, but not on the ice. Instead, Datsyuk excelled on the soccer field, where his anticipation, vision, and intelligence were more apparent. Under Krikunov, Datsyuk evolved into a particularly efficient two-way player, and he began to draw wider attention among Russian hockey fans. Despite his early successes, however, he went undrafted in the 1996 and 1997 NHL drafts.