Sergei Fedorov could be excused if the launching of professional coaching career was giving off back to the future vibes. His his inaugural season as coach of the KHL’s CSKA Moscow, Fedorov has just completed his first week of regular-season play.
As is tradition in the KHL, the campaign opens with a rematch of last season’s Gagarin Cup final – CSKA Moscow facing champions Avangard Omsk. The coach of Avangard is Bob Hartley. He guided the Colorado Avalanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup. That was at a time when Fedorov was a star center for the Red Wings and the rivalry between the two clubs for NHL supremacy was red-hot with its intensity.
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Two decades later, they are finding themselves again battling for top spot in the KHL and the irony is not lost on the men.
Hartley admitted that it was exciting to bring the Colorado-Detroit rivarly to Russia with no love lost.
Fedorov allowed to KHL reporter Gillian Kemmerer that in his adjustment to coaching, he’s drawn upon the wisdom imparted upon him by such great mentors as Viktor Tikhonov and Scotty Bowman.
“There are small things that I continue to learn and improve,” Fedorov said. “I feel okay, still learning. For the last month I’m trying to feel the tempo, to know guys. It’s a process, I hope that it will not take much time to adapt.”
Battle Of The Sergeis
Hartley got the better of Fedorov in the season opener. Defending champion Avangard Omsk blanked CSKA Moscow 4-0. Returning home to Moscow for their second game, CSKA earned Fedorov his first coaching victory, beating Dynamo Riga 3-2. Coaching Dynao Riga is former Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov. Like Fedorov he’s a Hockey Hall of Famer.
Sergei Fedorov 1⃣, Sergei Zubov 0⃣ pic.twitter.com/3SF7VzTczz
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While the Colorado-Detroit rivarly drew the headlines over the years, Dallas was the other factor in the three-headed monster that ruled over the NHL’s Western Conference from 1995-2002. One of those three teams played in every Stanley Cup final. They combined to win six of eight Stanley Cups over that span.
Fedorov will see another familiar face on the ice before long. Former Red Wings teammate Slava Kozlov is an assistant coach with Dynamo Moscow. Kozlov is the brother-in-law of former NHLer Yevgeni Namestnikov. He’s the father of current Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov.