Recently, after his name was linked to the vacant Columbus Blue Jackets coaching position via published reports, former Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov was moving quickly to denounce the notion.
“No one from the NHL called me, the topic was sucked from the finger,” Fedorov told Russian news agency TASS. “I have another year of contract with CSKA. I don’t, didn’t have and won’t have plans to conquer America in a different status.”
However, other higher ups in Russian hockey circles weren’t so sure that Fedorov shouldn’t be looking at the NHL option as being a realistic part of his coaching future.
5 wins in Game 7s
2 Gagarin Cups
Sergei Fedorov is unstoppable pic.twitter.com/FF2G8PS0A3
— KHL (@khl_eng) April 30, 2023
Former Russian hockey star and one-time Russian national team coach Vyacheslav Bykov is among those in Fedorov’s homeland who think the 1993-94 Hart Trophy winner shouldn’t bee so hasty is pushing away the NHL option.
“Fedorov’s coaching career in the NHL? This is a rhetorical question,” Bykov told sport-express.ru. “This is a person who has a great, great, rich and winning experience with many world-class hockey players.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Sergei challenges himself and goes to the NHL. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets there.”
In two seasons as head coach of CSKA Moscow, Fedorov, 53, has won back-to-back Gagarin Cup KHL titles. Bykov would like to see one more before Fedorov hits the road for NHL glory.
“I want Fedorov to take a hat-trick from the Gagarin Cups before leaving for the NHL,” Bykov said. “This is what I wish him to achieve.”
There’s never been a Russian NHL head coach. Zinetula Bilyaletdinov (Winnipeg Jets) and Vasili Tikhonov (San Jose Sharks) worked stints as NHL assistant coaches.
Tretiak Praises Fedorov
The most famous Russian to play for the Red Wings, Fedorov was also gaining praise from arguably the most famous of all Russian hockey players.
Vladislav Tretiak, the President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, is also a member of the Supervisory Board of CSKA, so the 1972 Summit Series star was involved in the decision to name the former Detroit player as coach of the club.
“Sergei Fedorov was a very competent player and, in general, is a competent person who understands hockey,” Tretiak told sport-express.ru. “When I, he, Boris Mikhailov and Igor Esmantovich watched hockey from the box, we always discussed the matches. Sergei Fedorov has a very competent discussion of the game.
“This is back in the days when he worked as the general manager of CSKA. Of course, his appointment as head coach was somewhat unexpected. Sergey took the bull by the horns, won two Gagarin Cups in a row as a coach.”