Sergei Fedorov is one of the greatest Red Wings in the history of the franchise. Nobody can deny that.
Fedorov’s three Stanley Cups, Hart Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, two Selke trophies and numerous All-Star teams accomplished in a Detroit uniform have earned him Red Wings immortality.
Once you toss in Fedorov’s 954 points in 908 games and his 163 points in 162 playoff games as a Red Wing, well, you get the picture. There should be zero doubt about his status in Hockeytown.
But there is.
For every positive, there’s always a negative when it comes to Fedorov. His sometimes questionable effort and rejection of the Wings’ five-year, $50 million contract offer in favor of bolting for Anaheim in 2003 are why he’s a leper to many Red Wings fans.
Actually, it’s much simpler than that — Fedorov is not Steve Yzerman, and that’s always been the rub. Whatever Fedorov achieved, it was never good enough because he wasn’t STEVIE. Fedorov felt it, and Yzerman knew it.
Yet, together they were an untouchable duo.
Fedorov and Yzerman, who played together for 13 seasons, were two of the top-five centers in the entire world, and they thrived off one another. With Fedorov and Yzerman in the lineup, it was “pick your poison” because it was impossible to stop both of them.
Even though they weren’t the best of friends, they respected each other enough to put everything aside when they stepped onto the ice. Without each other, they might never have reached their Hall of Fame numbers.
Fedorov is far from perfect, but when he was on, his game was as close to perfection as you could get on the ice. On separate occasions, Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky told me that Fedorov is the most talented player they’ve ever seen.
Whatever your feelings are on Fedorov, you will have the opportunity to see him wear a Red Wings sweater again this winter. He’s accepted the team’s invitation to be part of the Winter Classic festivities, which is a large step in repairing his tarnished image.
Many in the Wings organization wrote Fedorov off as if he had died when he became a Mighty Duck. They were adamant that Fedorov’s betrayal ensured he would never be welcomed back into the Red Wings family.
Seems time has lessened the hurt and bitterness some high-ranking team officials felt towards No. 91. And that’s good.
For his entire life, Fedorov has been searching for acceptance. Maybe it has to do with growing up in the oppressive Soviet Union.
Whatever reason, it’s time to welcome Fedorov back home and celebrate his Red Wings career.
He deserves the complete acceptance of fans here because he is and always will be one of the greatest Red Wings ever.