Pavel Datsyuk played his first KHL game on Monday for CSKA Moscow, the former Red Army team now run by their general manager, former Red Wings' superstar Sergei Fedorov.
Pavel started the game on the second line, as CSKAs top line included mercurial Nashville Predators jerkbag Alexander Radulov and his brother (who I'm going to call Iggy). He did get some time playing with Raddles sr. on the power play, but mostly anchored CSKA's 2nd line while he got his legs.
CSKA defeated Avangard Omsk 1-0 on the strength of Iggy Radulov's 2nd period goal.
While Datsyuk didn't factor on the scoreboard in his 18:07 TOI and three shots on net, he was a force as the game went along. Pavs did put the puck into the net once on a 2nd period power play, as he followed up a shot that bounced high on the goaltender by crashing the crease and heading the puck in, but the ref waved it off. While I don't understand Russian and can't tell what he said during his 2nd intermission interview, replays strongly hinted that Pavs knew exactly what he was doing when he knocked the puck in.
[Edit: Video added below. Stick tap to @HenkkaJK for the find]
Overall, it certainly looked like a preseason matchup for Datsyuk, who started slowly and got stronger as the game went along, but definitely wasn't up to full speed. A few flashes of typical Datsyukian brilliance both on and off the puck brought back warm fuzzy memories of when he was allowed to do that wearing a different red jersey.