Once again, I'm relaxing my "No posting about Datsyuk" moratorium because I had a notion.
Datsyuk was supposed to decide where he was playing Sunday. It got pushed back to today. Now Datsyuk is saying he needs another week to think about it. In the time since the first reports that he signed with a Russian team came out, Ken Holland has not only upped his offer over the maximum he said he could go (and over what other players of Datsyuk's caliber are making), he also offered Datsyuk a contract that will make him an unrestricted free agent after just two seasons.
This was an absolutely brilliant move by Datsyuk's agent, if he had this planned from the beginning. Think about it....at the start of summer, there's roughly 400 free agents out there in an uncertain market. Holland and Datsyuk's agent start talks, and it appears that the offer was in the low $3 million range. They were at a stalemate throughout the summer, and in creating that stalemate, Datsyuk's agent held Holland hostage. Holland couldn't sign any of the plethora of players out there, because he wouldn't have enough cap room to get Datsyuk signed. Throughout the summer, more and more guys signed. Suddenly, the only guy left on the market that's worth a damn is Peter Bondra.
Then, Greenstin played his other card. Leveraging Russia against the Red Wings. Now, Holland is faced with a situation where the guy he's waited all summer to sign (and spurned loads of other free agents) has an offer just as good, if not better, to play in his homeland, tax free. So now he's forced to cave on not only money but also on the term of the contract.
It was brilliantly played by Greenstin, whether this is what he intended or not. The only question now is where will he end up. A theory going around some of the Red Wings boards I read is that he doesn't want to play for Dynamo, he wants to play for Onsk. So he's kind of using the Wings as HIS plan B, in case the arbitrator rules that Dynamo holds his rights.
In essence, he and his agent have put the Red Wings in the position that they need him more than he needs them. And he's done it in a world where roughly 2/3 of the league didn't have a contract. Very craft. He played Holland like a fiddle. Shocker.
Oh, and in addition, once Datsyuk had apparently signed a deal to play in Russia, that upped the emphasis on signing Zetterberg. So Holland offered him more than he probably wanted to pay--and probably more than Zetterberg could have gotten if Datsyuk signed in Detroit. Unreal.