By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Former Detroit Red Wings center Sergei Fedorov, who will be inducted Thursday night into the Michigan Hall of Fame, chuckled at the notion his number should be in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena alongside those of Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuck.
“That’s a good one,” Fedorov said, laughing, to Stoney, Bill and Sara of 97.1 The Ticket. “I’m not on board to decide that, I guess. I just play hockey, I guess. I don’t know. I think people in Red Wings organization will decide that at some point, if they will, and it would be great honor, but if not, it’s still awesome to be part of it.”
Fedorov played for the Red Wings from 1990 to 2003 and helped the team to Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002. Fedorov was a perennial All-Star when he left Detroit in free agency. At the time he departed, he had racked up 400 goals and 554 assists over 908 games.
His greatest memory from his time in Detroit was his first Stanley Cup, Fedorov said, because of how the team fought to return to the finals after getting swept there in the 1994-1995 season.
“Hardest and greatest memory, I think first Cup because we played three, four seasons, we were close to making the Stanley Cup finals, but we made it and lost, and coming back to it, I guess it all comes down to come back to the locker room and work even harder off-ice because on-ice we’ve done pretty much everything,” Fedorov said, “and we just work much harder off-ice.”
Fedorov, a fourth-round draft pick in 1989, recalled his relationship with his former head coach Scotty Bowman and confirmed that it was not always ideal.
“It was hard for me to figure out what really Scotty wants except obviously certain things on the ice,” Fedorov said. “I always like to work with the coaches, or I thought I like to work with the coaches to understand them a little bit deeper than just, ‘Go there and do this.’ A few years it took me to figure out but eventually I guess I gave Scotty what he wants and he gave me then a little kind of peek that he’s a super nice guy.”
While Fedorov understands that Red Wings fans did not appreciate seeing him in another team’s jersey after he left in 2003, he said all his interactions with fans away from the ice have been positive.
“To be honest with you, every time I run into some people that recognize me in Michigan, in Detroit, or any other states, they were super nice, and I’d like to thank them for that,” Fedorov said. “They understood it was part of the business. I was younger, trying just to play hockey, I’ve got advisers, I’ve got my sort of thoughts of the part of the business of being NHL player.
“It’s for them, I guess, to judge, if it was appropriate business decisions or not,” Fedorov added. “All I try to do is just play hockey at best ability possible every night.”