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Kovalchuk says Pavel Datsyuk is the world’s best center

Pavel Datsyuk

Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk, of Russia, stretches himself before the Continental Hockey League, or KHL, ice hockey match between CSKA Moscow and Avangard Omsk, in Moscow on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Datsyuk, as well as several other NHL stars, returned to Russia to play for CSKA Moscow during the NHL lockout. (AP Photo/str)


Who would you say the best center in all of hockey would be? If you asked Ilya Kovalchuk he’d tell you it’s Pavel Datsyuk.

Kovalchuk shared his thoughts with Russian website when asked about who the best of the best was as they’re about to be linemates for Team Russia in the upcoming Euro Hockey Tour.

“I personally consider Datsyuk the best center in the world, so there’s great satisfaction and experience from playing alongside him.”

Consider just how lofty a compliment this is when you have, among others, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Claude Giroux, and Steven Stamkos to choose from in the world. There may be just a smidgen of bias talking about his new linemate, but Datsyuk belongs in the discussion considering his offensive and defensive abilities (three-time Selke winner).

Somewhere, Travis Zajac is sitting around asking, “Hey, I’m pretty good, right?”