Former Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov was recently named coach of the year in the KHL. In his first season behind the bench, Fedorov led CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup title.
“A year ago, I could not even imagine that such an adventure would happen to me,” Fedorov told Russian website Sport24. “I didn’t have a single thought to go to this area. This was unimaginable, nothing foretold.
“When I went to the meeting of the supervisory board headed by Igor Ivanovich Sechin, I did not even know and did not think that the question of my appointment as the head coach of CSKA would arise.”
Sergei Fedorov, coaching CSKA Moscow in the KHL, has started pulling his goalie during 3-on-3 overtime to get a 4-on-3 power play pic.twitter.com/jGqwaSMwEw
— Dan (@danmorse_) January 7, 2022
With his success, Fedorov, the last Red Wings player to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, is also hearing his name mentioned – mostly by Detroit fans, mind you – in connection to Detroit’s coaching search. Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman and Fedorov were 1-2 centers on three Wings Stanley Cup winners. On the surface, there seems to be a connection, perhaps even a fit.
A piece of advice for those willing go down this rabbit hole? Don’t go there.
Sure, Yzerman suggested that he would leave no stone unturned in his search for the team’s new coach.
This is one stone that will be staying in the ground, however.
Sergei’s Red Wings Departure Left Bad Taste
Those with short memories seem to be forgetting that Fedorov burned the Red Wings organization. Not once, but twice.
There was the offer sheet from the Carolina Hurricanes in 1998 that the Wings were forced to match. It cost the team $38 million, including a $12-million bonus in the spring of that year when Detroit reached the Stanley Cup conference finals.
In 2003, Fedorov rejected a four-year $40-million offer from the Wings that would’ve made him the NHL’s highest-paid player and signed as a free agent with the Anaheim Ducks.
You know who doesn’t forget those days? The Ilitch family.
The same people lobbying for Fedorov to get a job interview as Detroit coach are probably the same folks who can’t understand why Fedorov’s No. 91 jersey hasn’t been hoisted to the rafters.
The reason why that hasn’t happened yet is the same reason why the coaching thing is also not going to happen.
The Ilitches have long memories, and they treasure and reward loyalty.
Fedorov Enjoying Coaching
While he may not have expected to become a coach, Fedorov is thriving in the coaching environment.
“I got a new, good experience,” he explained to Sport24. “Then there was the intensity. And after the correct ending, victory in the Gagarin Cup, I can’t even believe it.
“Now you can really feel all that pressure during the season, the Olympics, the playoffs.”
Fedorov evidently is cognizant that he won’t be getting a call from Yzerman. He’s already working on plans for the 2022-23 campaign with CSKA Moscow.
“Next season we will be stronger in many components,” Fedorov said. “I will try to convey this to the guys. I’m sure they’ll understand what I’m talking about. We will only get better.
“Now it is important for me that the guys have a rest, get healthy, replenish their physical (and) emotional reserves.”