The Malik Report
by George Malik on 02/06/13 at 10:10 PM ET
When Sergei Fedorov was hired as CSKA Moscow's general manager last summer as part of a Vladimir Putin's impetus to rejuvenate Moscow's professional hockey teams, and coming with Fedorov's hiring was an infusion of cash via a sponsorship deal with Russia's second-largest oil and natural gas giant, Rosneft (the largest oil and natural gas company, Gazprom, is a sponsor of both the KHL and SKA St. Petersburg, whose GM and KHL commissioner Alex Medvedev happens to sit on Gazprom's board of directors).
Fedorov made it very clear at the time that he was not necessarily retiring at the age of 42 (he's now 43) and the intonation from the Russian press was that Fedorov would make a curtain call with CSKA at some point during the 2012-13 season as he'd "turned pro" with the one-time powerhouse of Russian hockey as a 16-year-old.
CSKA has had an up-and-down season: Pavel Datsyuk played very well for them, but Ilya Bryzgalov had an up-and-down campaign, and the team's had to--surprise!--discipline Alexander Radulov for being Alexander Radulov. The team also fired its coach around the time that Datsyuk bade farewell to Russian fans.
CSKA is still doing well despite their ups and downs. They're in second place in the KHL's Western Conference, and they added Danny Markov (who's still a very good player) from another Moscow-area team, Vityaz Chekhov, to bolster their ranks (at the expense of Wings prospect Alexei Marchenko, who's been sitting out more and more regularly of late).
Fedorov never took his curtain call, and after Datsyuk and Bryzgalov left and the team fired its coach, the Russian press was abuzz with rumors and suggestions that Fedorov would indeed lace up his skates and help CSKA in its attempts to win the Gargarin Cup and restore some hockey pride to what was once the "hub" of Russian hockey.
The Windsor Star's Bob Duff caught up with Fedorov today, and the estranged Red Wings superstar isn't ruling a KHL comeback out:
“I can’t say for sure, but the Russian media has really run with the story and I’ve kind of let them,” Fedorov said. “I can’t say it’s not going to happen. I am thinking about it a little bit. Who knows? Maybe I will come back for a bit.”
Two issues could stand in the way of the 1993-94 Hart Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion, who starred at centre and dabbled on defence during an 18-season NHL career, taking to the ice again. One is physical and the other is simply the question of time management.
“I’ve been having trouble with my lower back, but I am working on getting that fixed,” Fedorov said.
He’ll skate in a Moscow charity four-on-four tournament Feb. 17-21 that features four former pros and one recreational player on each team. Fedorov intends to utilize that experience as a gauge of how much his body can still endure.
“We play three games plus a semifinal and final,” Fedorov said. “It’s a pretty good pace and skill level, playing four-on-four like that.”
He says he still works out intensely twice a week, but faced with the task of operating a big-league franchise, Fedorov hasn’t been able to find the time to do much else to keep his world-class hockey stills sharpened.
“For sure, I miss playing, but I’ve been so busy with my new job, I don’t have that much time to think about it,” Fedorov said.
I can't quote all of Duff's article, so I highly recommend that you head over to the Windsor Star and continue reading it as he reveals that a former Wings prospect is also aiding CSKA's cause, and he talks about the learning curve that's involved in running a hockey team regardless of where it plays.
I know that Fedorov's divorce from the Wings was ugly--really ugly, as I can attest by having invested the summer of 2003 reading what was then clunkily-translated Russian, with Viktor Fedorov, Sergei's father, saying absolutely terrible things about Scotty Bowman's treatment of his son, the team, and then Fedorov himself insisting that the Wings took a valid contract and took it off the table, and back over here, Jimmy Devellano insisting that Fedorov told the team he was going to sign before inking a deal with Anaheim...
But that was a decade ago, and I would like to think that time heals wounds, especially when we're talking about a key contributor to 4 of the Wings' 5 "modern era" Cups, and I really do wish him well regardless. Fedorov's going to go into the Hockey Hall of Fame one day, and he's going to go in as a Wing.
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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.