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Abel to Yzerman

Time For #91 To Be Put Up In The Rafters

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

The bitterness between the organization and Fedorov — and fans and Fedorov —  appeared to subside in 2015 when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And as more time passes, it becomes more likely that his No. 91 will become the eighth number retired by the Red Wings.

“Sergei had a fabulous career in a Red Wings uniform,” general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press. “He had a tremendous impact on this franchise. I would assume as we continue to go forward there will be ongoing conversations about his impact on this franchise.”

Attempts to reach Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch were unsuccessful.

Scotty Bowman, who coached Fedorov from 1993 to 2002, did not hesitate with his answer when asked if Fedorov’s number should be retired by the Wings.from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

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Comments

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One of the greatest players ever to wear the Winged Wheel.
Would have been better to do this at The Joe, but better late than never.

Posted by mc keeper on 07/12/18 at 01:31 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Scotty Bowman, who coached Fedorov from 1993 to 2002, did not hesitate with his answer when asked if Fedorov’s number should be retired by the Wings.

“Sure,” Bowman said. “He’s done it all. Sergei was a spectacular player. He was so good offensively and defensively. Sometimes it takes a little while. Detroit doesn’t retire as many, which makes it more valuable.”

Who would know better than Scotty Bowmam? His words carry the weight, and, the wait should be over.

I say, retire #91.


Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 07/12/18 at 01:57 PM ET

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Can he still play?  I’d watch. Rafters, sure.

Posted by Ventr on 07/12/18 at 05:29 PM ET

Ajax19's avatar

Yes. Absolutely his number should be retired. No question.

Posted by Ajax19 on 07/12/18 at 06:10 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I say, retire #91.

I agree. Do it this year. confused

Posted by bigfrog on 07/12/18 at 09:49 PM ET

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Yeah, let’s retire all the numbers, especially the guys who were such devoted Red Wings that they chased the money the first chance they had.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/13/18 at 07:28 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

his No. 91 will become the eighth number retired by the Red Wings

um yeah maybe not so much. Great player, but not an icon. They need to retire #24 for Probie or #16 for Vlad before #91. Personally, I don’t think the next retired number has worn the winged wheel yet.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 07/13/18 at 07:36 AM ET

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um yeah maybe not so much. Great player, but not an icon. They need to retire #24 for Probie or #16 for Vlad before #91. Personally, I don’t think the next retired number has worn the winged wheel yet.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 07/13/18 at 08:36 AM ET

40

Posted by George0211 on 07/13/18 at 08:04 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

91 to the rafters, no question. I get the butt hurtness but the guy was a great red wing, MVP player on this team, delivered 3 cups.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 07/13/18 at 08:16 AM ET

Colin's avatar

Numbers that should undoubtedly be retired:

91
13
40
16

Posted by Colin from Ken Holland's new yacht, "Incompetence" on 07/13/18 at 09:54 AM ET

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Agreed here - no question. To me, he was the embodiment of the superior skill set that defined the Red Wings’ ‘way’, that which we no longer see.

Posted by Vitamix Blashill from The Land of Unhealthy Scratching on 07/13/18 at 10:31 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I’m reading Keith Gave’s book on the Russian Five and it has some very interesting anecdotes about Fedorov. Many of them were just rumours I read about back in the day, but it seems a lot (if not most) are true.

For starters, he hated to play hurt. During their conference finals against the Avs in ‘97, he pulled himself from the game due to a bad rib injury.
It was extremely painful. But the trainers told him he could be given a local to freeze the area and he wouldn’t feel a thing. He still refused to play.
Yzerman begged him to come out. Still he remained on the trainers table.
Finally, Larionov and Fetisov basically bitch-slapped him to suck it up, take the shot and get back in the game.
At that point, he lamented, took the shot and basically won the game on his own.

Gave goes on to say that there were many incidents where he had to be coaxed to play thru injuries and most of the time he refused.
It also sounds like Fetisov and Larionov spent a lot of time scolding him like a little brother when he wasn’t performing as well as he could.

There was a story from ‘93 when the Wings were in Chicago. The Wings won 6-5 and Yzerman scored 3 goals and assisted on 2 others.
After the game, Bryan Murray had a one-on-one conversation with Fedorov about his lack of consistent effort on a day-to-day basis. As Murray was preaching to him, Yzerman hobbled by the room on crutches. His groin was so bad he couldn’t even walk without aid. And yet, he recorded 5 points that night and basically won the game single-handedly.
Both Murray and Fedorov grew silent while Yzerman hobbled by. After he was out of earshot, Murray pointed at the door and said to Fedorov “That’s a tough SOB you need to start emulating”.

Then there’s the story of Fedorov refusing to go to Russia with Larionov, Fetisov and Kozlov when they won in ‘97.
And the other time he blew town to patch up his marriage with Kornikova while she was nailing Pavel Bure.

Fedorov is one of the most talented hockey players I’ve ever seen.
But he had baggage and left town because his ego was hurt not being recognized as “The Man” in Detroit.

Saying all that, I’m still very much in favour of his number being retired.
But I completely understand why it’s taken this long. While it’s not this extreme, his situation is a tad like Sammy Sosa’s in Chicago.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/13/18 at 01:41 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

On a side note, I"m guessing Mike Illitch was c-blocking this the entire time.
He obviously was still bitter about Fedorov signing that RFA offer from Carolina and eventually running to Anaheim for basically the same money.

Only my worthless opinion, but I think Fedorov grew to love all that pro hockey in the NHL had to offer except for the actual on-ice stuff.
It’s too bad too. I think if he had the drive, he would have ended up a top 10 scorer of all time.

When the Wings were thinking of drafting him, they asked Yzerman for a scouting report when the two went head-to-head in the World Championships in ‘89.
Yzerman said “Oh he’s really good.”. Jim Lites asked “Is he as good as you?” and Yzerman, without batting an eye said “Oh, he’s better than me”.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/13/18 at 01:51 PM ET

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Retiring a number is about more than talent.

Like Abel it will happen, just not right away.

Posted by NEWing on 07/13/18 at 07:13 PM ET

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He absolutely deserves his number to be retired.  I don’t understand the butthurt of some Wings fans still.  The guy was a diva, sure he was, but he was one of the most talented Wings and unlike another talented Russian-loved the Detroit area and made it his home.  Let me also point out that he played out all his contracts he signed and he spoke great English.  So yeah, I think some people are a bit hypocritical with their outrage and sensitivity regarding Fedorov, while giving a pass to another popular Russian player who wore an unlucky number

Posted by bababooey on 07/13/18 at 07:38 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I’m trying to find this supposed outrage and butthurt here. Lol

Posted by ilovehomers on 07/13/18 at 08:03 PM ET

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Thanks Hank. Interesting stuff.

Posted by Vitamix Blashill from The Land of Unhealthy Scratching on 07/13/18 at 09:39 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com