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HOT TAKE THEATER: Pavel Datsyuk’s Agent is the Real Life Arli$$

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Everybody has a price

Detroit Red Wings v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

I know that at some point, the saga of Pavel Datsyuk is going to go away and I’m going to move on. We’re already most of the way there, to be honest. But, there’s one thing that never sat right with me in the first place about how Datsyuk’s social media worked and then how the entire story leading up to his departure for Russia went out. This week I got a stark reminder of that problem: Dan Milstein.

Milstein was/is Datsyuk’s agent and friend. It was also clear for a few years that Milstein had been running Datsyuk’s twitter feed and, despite Ken Holland describing the deal he worked with Datsyuk’s then-agent Gary Greenstin, the rumors have persisted that Milstein was the one calling the shots and Greenstin was just working as a stand-in at the time because the current guy wasn’t licensed/registered as a player agent at the time of the deal.

This was the deal which began as a five-year demand from Datsyuk’s camp and then was whittled down to three. The one that lasted all of one year before Ken Holland had to play hardball to keep Datsyuk around for even one year; the deal that led Milstein to tweet this at Pavel’s farewell:

Yeah, the guy doing a victory lap on getting Pavel a three-year deal and then getting him out early.

Here’s another picture of him posing with the emperor of China.

While Pavel may be gone and enjoying himself in the KHL, Milstein is still in the states and he still has a business empire to run. Fortunately, there’s an interview up on his site that gives him the opportunity to share his vision, his excitement, and his Trumpesque braggadocio. Unfortunately for your eyes, the page looks like this when you try to read it:

If you think that’s bad, you should have seen it when it was blue text (changed at about 10am this morning).

I’m not going to link to the page where the interview is housed. Ordinarily I would, but I have a problem with the way this advertisement is presented as journalism and I trust that anybody who feels Milstein’s ad is owed a click is also smart enough to know how to find that article on their own.

The most-troubling piece of the entire thing isn’t that the interview questions are so impossibly canned that not naming the interviewer “Strah Mann” is a mistake, it’s that Milstein went out and hired a Red Wings blogger and journalist to put his name on those questions. George Malik of The Malik Report and now of Dan Milstein’s payroll was the lucky sell-out recipient of questions handed to him so he could hand them back to Milstein. here’s a sample:

George Malik: Gold Star Sports Management Group, one of the companies operating under the Gold Star Family of Companies’ umbrella, is one of the more well-known top emerging sports management agencies and one that boasts an impressive clientele –including Pavel Datsyuk. How has Gold Star Sports Management been able to rise to the top so quickly when others have been trying to reach your level for decades?

[Milstein’s answer paraphrased]: We’re awesome

George: And you definitely have the business piece. I know you’ve set the finance and banking world on fire with innovative strategy—and parlayed that off-the-charts success into a string of best-selling books. Would you say you’re breaking with tradition in sports management as well?

[Paraphrased Milstein]: We’re YUUUUUGE!

George: Your passion for advocacy really comes across when you talk about those you represent, especially the young prospects. Do you relate to some of the struggles they face, given your humble beginnings?

[Paraphrased Milstein]: Of course I relate to their struggles. Nobody understands their struggles like I do. I get struggles on a deep level and then I take those struggles, and let me tell you nobody else is doing this, I take these struggles and I overcome them because I’m a winner. Everybody knows what kind of a struggles-overcomer I am and I teach these kids to be like me, the struggles-overcomer.

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The “interview” goes on like that and doesn’t provide much useful information other than that former Red Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard also now works for Milstein’s hockey management brand.

When I asked Malik whether he had been compensated for attempting to lend a reporter’s credence to a mouthpiece article, he had this to say:

Interestingly, when George put this up at the site which made him famous, he made no such attempt to even explain he was involved in the creation of the advertisement, let alone an explanation that he was paid for his work.

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Listen, I know this isn’t really Red Wings related, but as a fan of the Red Wings and a fan of how George Malik has worked within our blogosphere for a long time, I feel extremely let down by this turn of events. Dan Milstein isn’t the first or the last player agent who I’ll think sells snake oil, and as far as I know he’s not currently representing anybody on the Wings’ roster, but this just leaves a horrid taste.