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Pavel Datsyuk Is NHL's Best Russian Player, As Voted By His Peers

Every year, the Russians of the NHL take some time out of their busy hockey lives and vote on who they think is the NHL's best Russian player. The winner takes home the [Valeri] Kharlamov Trophy, which is named after arguably one of the greatest players from the Soviet Union to ever play the game. The trophy was first presented in 2003 to former Detroit Red Wing Sergei Federov.

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Well, the trophy returns "home", as Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk has been voted by his peers as this year's best Russian NHL player, ousting the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin, who has taken the honor the last five seasons [via Puck Daddy]:

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It was the closest vote in quite some time. Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets was the last one to cast his vote to ensure that Datsyuk would unseat Alex Ovechkin, who won his fifth Kharlamov Trophy in a row last year. [...]

"I simply like the way he plays," Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals said, to explain his decision to pick Datsyuk. (Ed. Note: Yes, he actually voted for Datsyuk. Wow.)

[...] When told he should personally thank Fedor Tyutin, Datsyuk said: "That just means that I owe him a dinner now."

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Coincidentally, I've been brushing up on my Russian lately, so I'll say pozdravlyaem zasluzhennuyu nagradu, Pavel.

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