Pavel Datsyuk tries his darnedest to succeed despite his obvious shortcomings.
Survey 100 puckheads, Family Feud-style, about who the most talented hockey player on the planet is, and it's a safe bet that Pavel Datsyuk is going to be on the board. Hell, there's a pretty good chance that he'd be the number one answer.
The man is a wizard. There are wizards, I imagine, who see him do what he does and think, "Damn, that's some next-level crap."
In other words, it would be tough to look at a guy like Datsyuk and say the reason for his success is a work ethic that makes up up for a lack of talent.
Tough, but not impossible. Here's what CBC's Glenn Healy had to say Monday night:
"When you look at a guy like Datsyuk, not all the God-blessed talent in the world, but he is a hard worker..."
This is quite the thing to say.
Now, Healy is certainly correct that Datsyuk is a hard worker. But as for that first part... I, and we'll assume anybody else that has seen Pavel Datsyuk -- who spawned the adjective Datsyukian, basically defined as "insanely skilled", and scored this goal later that same evening -- would respectfully beg to differ.
Unless, perhaps, Healy simply sees the distribution of talent a little like the distribution of wealth. If so, I guess you could argue that Datsyuk is hockey's version of a fatcat. The 1%, as it were. He doesn't have all the God-blessed talent in the world -- just most of it. But there's still a pittance remaining for the rest of us.
Or maybe Healy thinks Pavel Datsyuk is Justin Abdelkader.
How does one come to a conclusion like this? I'll show you how.
Consider this goal, where Datsyuk slices through all five Nashville Predators. It's fine and all, but you know what I don't see here? A simple pass.
That's probably because Datsyuk isn't talented enough to make one. Luckily, he's able to overcome his ineptitude as a passer by working hard all the way up the ice. Thank goodness for his tireless ethic.
And here's a compilation of every Pavel Datsyuk shootout attempt for the last eight years:
I mean, yeah, he's all right, I guess, but he didn't score on all of them. Good thing he works so hard.
And speaking of not scoring, Datsyuk may have put Logan Couture on his ass with this dangle, but he didn't produce a goal.
Woe betide his lack of skill.
For further evidence, here's a lengthier compilation of Datsyuk's stickhandles. Note that not every one of them results in a goal.
If only God hadn't been so stingy with the talent.
Anyway. Join us tomorrow when Healy says Zdeno Chara may not have a lot of natural height...