Pavel Datsyuk has put an end to speculation over his future by confirming he will leave Detroit Red Wings after the NHL play-offs and return to Russia.
The 37-year-old Red Wings' star centre and alternate captain stated a day after his side clinched a play-off spot for the 25th season in a row that his time in NHL is most likely set to come to an end.
"I'm thinking I go home after this season," Datsyuk told the Detroit Free Press. "I may not be done with hockey, but -- it is hard to say -- I think I am done playing in NHL."
Datsyuk, who has not ruled out playing in the KHL next season, plans to head back to his homeland to be with his 13-year-old daughter.
Since he signed his last deal after he turned 35, Detroit is on the hook for his entire contract under the collective bargaining agreement regardless of whether he retires.
Datsyuk expressed his regret for signing a three-year deal and hurting his team financially as a result.
"I feel very bad about it," Datsyuk said. "Looking back, I wish I had done a year-by-year contract, not a three-year contract. I stayed [last year] in respect for Ilitch family. I don't want to leave team in disaster. But if I have to do over again, I would sign a different deal. I didn't realise it at the time."
During his 14 seasons in Detroit, Datsyuk has helped the Red Wings claim the Stanley Cup twice in 2002 and 2008, in addition to winning the Selke Trophy in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the Lady Byng Trophy four consecutive years from 2006-2009.
Datsyuk, who turns 38 in July, has 16 goals and 49 points in 66 games this season and in February became the sixth Red Wings player to record 900 career NHL points.