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JJ from Kansas offers the Red Wings’ version of Puck Daddy’s “National Hockey League of Nations”

Winging it in Motown's JJ from Kansas posited the Detroit Red Wings version of Puck Daddy's "National Hockey League of Nations" article, attempting to pick the best Red Wings player from each and every one of the countries which have produced Red Wings players, and if we're going with "most naturally talented," I can't disagree with his pick for Russia:

Russia: Sergei Fedorov: Oh boy, here we go.

While Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov, and Vladimir Konstantinov deserve to be mentioned here, the best player designation is always going to come down between two players and the way they're viewed among Red Wings fans could not be more divided. One had more raw talent, the other worked harder to hone his natural gifts. One was flashier, the other better-grounded. One is the prototypical great teammate, the other left the minute he was free to go.

This debate will likely rage on forever. Still, for my money, if you put Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Fedorov in each of their primes up against one another with all of their teammates being equal, I think Datsyuk slows Fedorov down, but Sergei gets the better of the matchup; therefore, Sergei Fedorov will be our Best Russian Player delegate to the United Nations of Hockey, joining what should have been other Best Russian Player delegates like Sergei Fedorov from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Sergei Fedorov from the Anaheim Ducks.

The saving grace is that there's a decent possibility Fedorov wouldn't go to represent Detroit and the well-deserving Datsyuk would happily step into his spot to be adored by everybody.

Continued at significant length, and we're just not going to remind Puck Daddy that the League of Nations was less effective at governance than the present-day U.S. congress...

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Primis's avatar

I don’t think there’s a debate.  None at all.

I don’t think Fedorov should have his number hung.  I don’t think the team should honor him until or unless he pulls his head out of his a**, and even then maybe not.  I’m not a big Fedorov guy in the least.

But that’s not the point, or the question.  The question is “Greatest Russian to Play for the Red WIngs”, and that’s Sergei Fedorov.  No debate at all.  Fedorov is better than Datsyuk (yes, he is, and it’s not even close, though Datsyuk could still change that I guess).

I know Datsyuk has Selkes, and Fedorov won 2 of those himself.  Fedorov won a Pearson (now the Ted Lindsey IIRC).  In 1995 Fedorov would have had a case for the Conn Smythe if the NHL didn’t let the Devils ruin the game for years to come.  Fedorov was a better skater than Datsyuk and it’s not even close there.  Just too many checkmarks to Fedorov overall…

If Datsyuk can prominently help DET to another Cup at some point maybe, and if Datsyuk can win a Hart, we’ll talk I guess.  That’s no slam on Datsyuk:  Keep in mind who Fedorov’s teammates were when he was dominating, and that he STILL stood out THAT much from them (when he decided to play anyways).

483G, 696A, 1179 PTS, +261 career NHL numbers.  Ummm yeah, I don’t know what more resume Fedorov would need in this case.

Posted by Primis on 08/10/13 at 06:08 PM ET


I agree it’s probably Fedorov but I think it’s close enough to argue either way.

In terms of era-adjusted statistics Fedorov was the slightly better point producer in his prime, although the difference is not especially huge.

Best 6 seasons, adjusted points (hockey-reference.com)
Fedorov: 109, 102, 93, 87, 78, 76
Datsyuk: 105, 100, 89*, 88, 85, 79

(* figure is estimated by me based on schedule and scoring adjustments from the 2012-13 season. Hockey-Reference hasn’t calculated the official totals yet for last season and I don’t have exact figures for the assist adjustment, but I’m confident Datsyuk will end up with an official number somewhere in the 87-91 range here)

Fedorov was the more prolific goal scorer by a fairly wide margin, though he faced slightly easier goaltending. Datsyuk was the better playmaker by a fairly wide margin. Both finished top 10 in NHL scoring twice (2nd and 9th for Fedorov; two 4th places for Datsyuk). Fedorov finished top 10 in goals once and top 10 in assists once; Datsyuk finished top 10 in assists 5 times.

Fedorov killed you his speed, his skating, his booming slapshot, his raw athleticism. Datsyuk killed you with his hands, his patience, his creativity.

Both were great defensively, with multiple Selke wins for each. Hard for me to say which was the better two-way player since my memories of Fedorov are already fuzzying with time, but Jimmy D once said Fedorov could have become a Norris-winning defenseman if he had wanted to play there.

Datsyuk was more disciplined and was far less likely to put his team on the PK, taking fewer than half the penalty minutes per game that Fedorov averaged.

Fedorov was better from an earlier age than the comparatively late-blooming Datsyuk and thus has enjoyed, to this point, a longer period of sustained success. But Datsyuk’s game has time yet to catch up, and there’s a good chance that Datsyuk’s game will age better into his late 30s than Fedorov’s did, since Fedorov always relied more on raw athleticism and explosiveness than Datsyuk did.

Long story short, I think Fedorov probably had the slightly better prime and has a more accomplished overall track record, so he gets the nod for now. But I don’t think Datsyuk is that far off and well within striking distance if he can put together a few more seasons of all-star level performance.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/11/13 at 03:18 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

In fairness, the whole time I’d be watching the Fedorov/Datsyuk matchup, I’d be cheering for Datsyuk.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/12/13 at 10:52 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Fedorov was a better skater than Datsyuk and it’s not even close there.

I fuching fell of my chair, do you even skate? grin


Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 08/12/13 at 12:51 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.