Fedorov is coming off a stellar season head-manning the bench for CSKA Moscow of the KHL to a Gagarin Cup Championship. He’d earn the honor of winning the KHL’s coach of the year. Before transiting to a head coach, Fedorov served as a General Manager.
The 52-year-old was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2015 following a stellar career where he recorded 1,179 points over 1,248 games. Fedorov was the first Russian-born player in NHL history to eclipse 1,000 career points.
So, not only is Fedorov a Hall Of Fame player, he has experience leading a front office, negotiating contracts, and making transactions; plus, he is a Championship winning coach. This should make him a prime candidate for Detroit’s next head coach after finally parting ways with Jeff Blashill, right?
Not so fast.
Long-time writer Bob Duff recently pumped the brakes on the notion of Sergei Fedorov becoming the next head coach of the Red Wings.
Bob Duff points out that the organization has yet to retire Fedorov’s no. 91 jersey; he can’t see the Ilitch family, who tends to hold grudges signing off on this.
Duff mentions two separate occasions the organization had a run-in with their star forward. Once, the Red Wings were forced to match an offer sheet submitted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 1998 worth $38 million. The deal included a $12-million bonus when the Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup Finals. For the record, it ended up being money well spent.
Then again, in 2003, Fedorov rejected an extension with the Red Wings that would average $10 million per season, making him the highest-paid player in the league to join the Anaheim Ducks. Duff points out that the Ilitch family simply doesn’t forget those days.
Now, Fedorov’s jersey certainly belongs suspended high above the ice surface side-by-side with his teammates Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom. There is no doubt in my mind the trio wouldn’t have won three Stanley Cups between 1997-2002 without Fedorov.
Former Detroit Red Wings star Brendan Shanahan once said;
“I am convinced if Fedorov played defense (regularly), he could have won a Norris Trophy.”
The Norris Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s top defenseman.
Fedorov is the last Red Wings player to win the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. He’s also won two Selke Trophies for top defensive forward and the Ted Lindsay Award, which goes to the league’s most outstanding player.
Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin claims that Fedorov is the best player he’s ever played with. The scoring machine mentioned;
“You put him in every position, and he was going to be the best. His hockey sense was unbelievable. His shot, vision, unbelievable.”
Sergei Fedorov is an intriguing head coaching option
During his tenure as head coach Fedorov started a trend of pulling his goaltender during 3-on-3 play, which serves as a mini 4-on-3 power-play.
In closing, I am a big fan of Fedorov, the player. Still, I am nothing more than intrigued about the possibility of Yzerman, Lidstrom, and Fedorov all being involved in bringing the franchise we love back to prominence.
Yzerman keeps his cards close to his vest and isn’t shy about hiring a head coach without NHL experience, but just because Vegas suggests Fedorov is the front-runner doesn’t mean Yzerman feels that way. Wager with your brain, not your heart.
It seems that Vegas is trying to capitalize on the raw emotion of Detroit fans; no one knows what Yzerman is plotting. Would I love Fedorov behind the bench? Yes. Do I expect it? No.