Sunday, May 15, 2005

Draper shuts down Datsyuk

For the second time in three years, Team Canada's Kris Draper kept Team Russia's Pavel Datsyuk from scoring a point in a game between the two nations in the IIHF World Championships. Draper, playing with Shane Doan and Kirk Maltby, kept Russia's top line from registering a point in Team Canada's 4-3 semifinal win over Russia last night. Datsyuk wasn't too upset at being held pointless in the game, however:
"Well he did not score tonight. Two years ago he scored two goals against my line, so at least he did not score. And we did have some chances tonight, two years ago we didn't. But he's hard to play against."
Datsyuk was referring to the round robin game in 2003 in which Draper scored twice on his line on top of keeping it pointless. Canada went on to face the Czech Republic in the gold medal game today. They were in turn held scoreless by Tomas Vokoun, losing 3-0 and failing to win their third championship in a row. It's good to hear that Pavel's defensive abilities may be improving, though holding the Doan-Draper-Maltby line scoreless isn't exactly a Herculean feat. I hope I never read the words "Draper shuts down Datsyuk" in any context other than that of international hockey. I would truly hate to have it any other way since it would mean one of those two men would no longer be a Red Wing. As things stand now, Pavel stands the greatest chance of not returning since he is still an unsigned free agent. Draper is signed through the 2007-2008 season, after inking a 4-year deal with the Wings this past summer.


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