Pavel Datsyuk is known to hockey fans as the guy who does this:
... and this ...
... but now, it's time to view him in a different light.
The Red Wings forward was asked Thursday about Russia's anti-gay laws and the homophobic comments of pole valuter Yelena Isinbayeva. Gay rights in Russia have recently become extremely relevant in the sports world considering Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, in which Datsyuk and hundreds of NHL players will participate.
Pavel Datsyuk on Yelena Isinbaeva words regarding anti-gay law: 'I'm an orthodox and that says it all'— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 22, 2013
If you're unfamiliar with the feelings of Russian Orthodox church on the gay rights issue, we'll get you up to speed:
"This is a very dangerous apocalyptic symptom, and we must do everything in our powers to ensure that sin is never sanctioned in Russia by state law, because that would mean that the nation has embarked on a path of self-destruction," [church leader ] Kirill stated.
Datsyuk plays home games in a state where the debate over gay marriage is expected to hit the courts this year. As a highly-visible athlete in Detroit, it's safe to say this story will come up when training camp starts in a few weeks, probably juxtaposed against teammate Henrik Zetterberg's recent comments in favor of gay rights.