It isn’t often that the biggest superstar on the team is the coach but that’s certainly that case when it comes to CSKA Moscow of the KHL. That’s because former Detroit Red Wings superstar Sergei Fedorov is the new head coach of the famous Russian club where he once played before escaping the former Soviet Union to join the Red Wings in 1990.
Hockey Hall of Famer Fedorov was a three-time Stanley Cup winner in Detroit. He was the most recent Red Wing to win the Hart Trophy in 1993-94 and remains the only player in NHL history to have won both the Hart and Selke Trophies. In NHL history, Alex Ovechkin is the only Russian player to accumulate more points than Fedorov.
— Gillian Kemmerer (@gilliankemmerer) August 28, 2021
No wonder then that autograph-seeking CSKA fans bypass the players to seek out a signature from the team’s coach.
Being a legendary athlete doesn’t guarantee success as a coach, however. Wayne Gretzky couldn’t find a way to make the Arizona Coyotes winners during his tenure behind their bench.
It’s early and they might only be presason tournaments but Fedorov is also finding wins hard to come by as bench boss of his old team. CSKA Moscow went 1-2 in the Moscow Mayor’s Cup. Saturday’s 5-2 verdcit over Spartak in the fifth-place game produced Fedorov’s first coaching victory.
CSKA Moscow went 0-2 in group stage play of the tournament, including a 4-1 loss against Avangard Omsk. That’s the team coach by former Colorado Avalanche coach Bob Hartley.
The same two teams met in last spring’s Gagarin Cup final. Avangard Omsk took the best-of-sever series 4-2 to win their first title. In the offseason, Igor Nikitin stepped down as CSKA coach and was replaced by Fedorov.
The KHL season gets underway on September 1. CSKA Moscow and Avangard Omsk will clash that day. Fedorov and Hartley are continung the Wings-Avs rivalry from behind opposing benches.