If you’re not an avid Twitter user, first off, I think you’ve made a very good choice. Secondly, it means you’ve likely missed the tournament-style bracket that went on for the last week and a half, culminating in Wings twitter picking the best Pavel Datsyuk highlight out of a 64-clip bracket. The tourney was all the work of Twitter user Kevin (@kmarsh_93), who seeded the clips, posted them on his feed, and then set up a poll for each head-to-head matchup until we were all done.
Here’s the very starting point down a very fun Twitter rabbit hole:
THREAD: I have compiled the best 64 highlights of Pavel Datsyuk's career in order to determine his greatest moment as a Redwing. I need your votes. Starting off the round of 64 we have the "Goal" Conference.— Ke’ (@kmarsh_93) April 24, 2020
The best part of this is that once I learned that this was going on, my mind immediately produced a number of memorable highlights, but the very first two that popped in there happened to be the last two of the entire bracket, and I’m real satisfied with the one that came out on top. As somebody who loved Pavel Datsyuk before it was cool, the goal against Turco in that awful Mooterus jersey I feel was the true beginning of when he hit the national radar.
Here it is. His greatest moment as a Detroit Red Wing https://t.co/hSwIRszMZJ— Ke’ (@kmarsh_93) May 6, 2020
I reached out to the Kevin for his take on the tourney:
What gave you the idea/motivation to put together the Datsyuk bracket?
Honestly the idea came from a combination of boredom during these unfortunate times, and other people on twitter creating these funny March Madness style polls. I saw someone post Pavel Bure highlights and they were absolutely insane, I didn’t know (being born in 1993) how good he truly was. Pavel being my favourite Wing ever kind of sparked the idea.
I don’t think people realize how dominant he was at the height of his career from 2005-2011,so I wanted to show people just how good he actually was. In my opinion he was the best/ most complete player on the planet from 2005-2009 before Sid would claim his rightful throne. I was originally going to do maybe 8-16 of his best goals, until I stumbled upon a 50 minute video of his career highlights and couldn’t even narrow it down to 16. I then realized that was only one part of three 50 minute videos someone had uploaded to YouTube of his career highlights.
I decided to make it his greatest moment rather than goals, because he did so much more than score. Whether it was breaking ankles, picking pockets, or making mind blowing passes only he could make, there were far too many to choose from.
So in the end I elected to do a full 64 highlight twitter tournament to determine is greatest moment.
How much time did it take to gather the top 64, find or create gifs for all of them, and rank them?
I don’t have a definitive number of hours in which I had spent gathering the highlights, but if I had to take a guess I probably watched 8-10 hours total of him. Not being able to leave the house really at all, presented me with this beautiful excuse to start the project.
The vast majority of clips were easy to find because they’ve all gone viral on the internet. The hardest part was setting up the conferences. I had decided on a Goals, Humiliations, a Playoffs/Clutch, and a “WTF” conference. I had to dig deep to fill out his playoff conference. I have all these memories of his playoff highlights, but they weren’t easy to find, so I ended up watching game highlights from the playoff runs from 07-2015 and I found some ridiculous assists he pulled off that never went viral.
My favourites to set up were the Humiliation conferences because there were so many times he made pro hockey players look just god awful.
My process was basically just downloading all these hours of highlights, and trimming each individual one into gifs for easy use. When it came to ranking the clips from 1-16 I had some help. I knew my four #1’s were gonna be The Turco, Vokoun, The Goal vs Boston in Game 1 and his assist when he danced around Chara.
To rank the other 60 highlights I enlisted the help of the 7 other guys from my fantasy hockey league, all of my closest buddies. They were just as desperate as I was for anything hockey so they were all on board. Though one of them told me it was all pointless since the Vokoun goal would win, but he still helped regardless.
The rest was easy. I showed them gifs of the highlights and made them give me a score out of ten for each. I of course had the final say but they helped sort out the vast majority of the highlights.
Tell me your thoughts on how the overall voting went. Did it generally go the way you expected? Was the Turco goal the one you expected to see win or was there another?
I think the whole voting process went as good as it could go, we had hundreds of votes for each round. I have to shout out you guys at Winging It,Max Bultman, the famous Prashanth and a few other Wings fan’s accounts that had a much larger following than me. It wouldn’t have been the same if only 40 people had voted, so I’m real happy it turned out this way.
As for the winner, I was fully expecting the Vokoun or Turco goal to take it all, it’s his signature move after all. Though, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the goal he scored against Boston in Game 1 had won it all. Only Pav could have pulled the puck with one hand to himself and then somehow score, all with 3 minutes to go in a tied playoff game.
His end to end goal against Nashville being in the finals wasn’t all that surprising either. This is a tad biased, but one I thought would make it to the final 8 was his goal against the Ducks in the 2013 playoffs. It’s still one of the nicest shots I have ever seen, and that goal made me jump out of my seat and scream uncontrollably.
That’s definitely one of my fondest memories of him, just one example of the many times he bailed us out of sticky situations. I do have one bone to pick though though. Pav picking an all time great’s pocket in Jagr and then dangling the goalie as a sophomore should have gotten more love, but it was bounced in the round of 64.
What are your thoughts on the winner? Do you have a personal connection to that one?
I’m not shocked at all. It’s probably the most beautiful move in NHL history if we’re being honest. It’s got to be the most viral hockey highlight ever, I think it’s on every single goal compilation ever uploaded to Youtube. His signature move voted as his greatest moment as a Wing is definitely fitting, so Wings fans certainly did well voting. I was 10 years old when he pulled that off. I worshipped the ground Steve Yzerman walked on, but I think that move helped Pav become my new favorite Wing.
Anything else you want to share or promote?
I wanna give a shoutout to the 7 other guys in my fantasy hockey league for helping me organize all the highlights. We go by The Visser Cup and we’re about as deranged as a fantasy hockey league could get. We’ve drafted in hot air balloons, on top of 5000 foot mountains, and we have an ongoing legitimate curse in our league. It’s not for the weak either, league punishments have included doing a 5 minute stand up in a bar full of strangers, to getting dressed up and having a roast in front of 30+ friends. We’re all crushed that we probably won’t see this years loser spend 4 hours in a dunk tank, but this helped ease the pain! Check us out on twitter @TheVisserCup we mostly just spew league drama and updates, but we occasionally actually have some valuable fantasy hockey information. (At least we think so)
Most importantly I want to say thanks to all the Wings fans who participated.Also to all non-wings fans who voted, I also thank you and I hope you appreciate how good Pav truly was. I wanted to give hockey fans something fun to do during these tough times and I think we succeeded. Hey, maybe I’ll do one for #40 next!