The Anatomy of a Slump – Datsyuk, Boyes, Morrow, and Vanek

Jeff Angus


Brad Boyes

In sports, numbers rarely tell the entire story. In hockey, this is especially true. It is hard to quantify some aspects of such a fast-paced, fluid game. In fantasy sports, numbers ARE the story. Unless a formula to quantify things like heart and determination is developed, don't expect this to change. In fantasy hockey, a 50-point player is superior to a 40-point player by exactly 10 points. In real hockey, the 50-point player may be lazy, overpaid, short, tall, fat, thin, weak, and strong… I think you get the picture. However, there are often reasons why that player is scoring 50 points as opposed to 40. How much ice time is he getting? Who are his linemates? What kind of role is he playing on his team? These are some of the questions I will answer.


Pavel Datsyuk

After back-to-back 97 point campaigns in 2007-08 and 2008-09, most in the hockey world assumed the slick Datsyuk was a lock for another elite offensive season. Perhaps another 97 point season? Datsyuk, however, is currently on pace for only 65 points. Why?


The Red Wings have battled significant injury issues all season, and that is most likely the biggest reason for the offensive decline of Datsyuk. He hasn't been playing with the same level of talent compared to just a year ago, and that has hurt his production. Another factor that has had a negative effect on Datsyuk, and Detroit as a whole, has been the fact that the team has played a ton of hockey over the past three seasons. In 2008 they battled all the way to the Western Conference Final, and they have been in the Stanely Cup Final each of the past two seasons. In those three years, Datsyuk has played an average of 100 hockey games, including the postseason. The wear and tear from the sheer number of hockey played is another contributing factor towards Datsyuk's offensive slump this season.


Looking at linemates, Datsyuk has gone from playing mostly with Marian Hossa and Tomas Holmstrom last season to Todd Bertuzzi and Holmstrom this season. No slight to Bertuzzi, but at this stage of his career he is a far cry from playing at the same level as Hossa.He has played with Henrik Zetterberg for stretches since being in Detroit, but Mike Babcock often seperates them to balance out the offensive attack.


Datsyuk fired 248 shots on net last season. The year before, his shots on goal total was 264. This season, he is on place for just over 200. In simple terms, more shots means more goals. Datsyuk has hit the 30 goal mark in each of the past two seasons, but is only on pace for 21 in 2009-10. He is playing 20: