Datsyuk named captain of Team Russia
JAN 15, 2014 12:53p ET
On Wednesday, Datsyuk joined Zetterberg by being named captain of Team Russia for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"It's an honor, humbled to represent Russian team, especially in hometown, home country," Datsyuk said. "Lots of pressure for us, but so happy."
Zetterberg was named the captain of Team Sweden last week.
"We'll always be friends outside the rink," Datsyuk said. "Inside hockey we play against each other. Fun to learn from him, try to improve."
Wings coach Mike Babcock hadn't heard the good news about Datsyuk.
"Well, fantastic. It's a great honor and deservingly so," Babcock said. "Obviously, we think it's a big part of what we've got going on here. Now obviously we'd like to get them all back and playing and all of those things but in the meantime it's a great honor for him and for Z."
None of the Wings were too stunned by the news.
“That's no surprise; he's one of the best players in the world.”
"That's no surprise; he's one of the best players in the world," Team USA goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "For him not to be named captain could have been very tragic."
Team Sweden defenseman Niklas Kronwall called it "well-deserved."
"Big honor. I'm happy for him," Kronwall said. "I think he's the perfect guy to settle things down and make sure that they stay focused on the right things."
Brendan Smith pointed out that Russia had a lot of players to choose from.
"The Russian team is amazing," Smith said. "If you think of all those guys, I think you could find at least three real big candidates so it's pretty impressive that he got named it. He's the leader in our room a lot and he's always showing by example. I think even if he gets speak his own language he'd be even a more vocal player for that team so it makes more sense that he'd be captain."