Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Detroit Red Wings DetroitRedWings.com presented by AT&T
Stay Connected to the Detroit Red Wings
Email Updates App Text/SMS Updates Twitter Facebook Red Wings TV RSS Feeds
 

Datsyuk honors fallen friend

Wings forward switches jersey number for preseason

Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 10:03 AM / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Datsyuk honors fallen friend
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – A friend recently suggested to Pavel Datsyuk that he change his jersey number for the preseason as a way to honor former teammate and countryman, Ruslan Salei, who was killed earlier this month in a plane crash shortly after takeoff in Russia.

Datsyuk will set aside his customary No. 13 during the Red Wings’ training camp and eight preseason games, and wear No. 24, which Salei wore last season in Detroit.

“I think everybody misses Ruslan Salei,” Datsyuk said. “It’s an honor to wear his preseason jersey. I have only good memories when I remember Ruslan. I’m very happy to put No. 24 on my jersey for the preseason.”

The Wings skated Saturday morning at Centre I.C.E. Arena before flying down-state to attend the funeral for former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who was also among the 44 people killed on the ill-fated Russian flight that was carrying a KHL hockey team.

The funeral for McCrimmon was held at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Farmington, Michigan, Saturday afternoon.

While the entire team has been affected by the loss of Salei, McCrimmon, and former prospect Stefan Liv, it has particularly hurt Datsyuk, who had a close bond to Salei. The pair used to sit together on team flights and bus rides to and from rinks.

“I had hoped to know him more (then) on year,” Datsyuk said. “We knew each other before, but last year we flew together and talked. Now I miss him.
“I have one daughter, but he has three kids, and one of the kids plays hockey. I think it’s tough. He was a real good man.”

Coach Mike Babcock has stayed in contact with the Salei and McCrimmon families, who, understandably, are going through an unimaginably difficult time. But gestures like Datsyuk’s, while small in scope, can mean a lot for those grieving.

“I think that it’s absolutely outstanding,” said Babcock, of Datsyuk’s action. “I talked to Bethann the other night, Rusty’s wife, and she was talking about the kids and remembering Rusty.

“She was talking about taking her little guy to hockey the other night, and he said to her, ‘I’m not playing anymore. Pappa doesn’t play anymore; I’m not playing anymore.’ What do you say? I think it’s fantastic by Pavel, and obviously we’re going to miss Beast and Rusty.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

DetroitRedWings.com is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and DetroitRedWings.com are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2013. All Rights Reserved.

 
Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map