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The Malik Report

Sergei Fedorov’s unretirement story

The story goes something like this, and this is "how I know it" to go: a year-and-a-half ago, Vladimir Putin, who proudly claims the KHL as his creation, duly noted that the KHL's marquee teams, like SKA St. Petersburg, the Ak Bars Kazan, Avangard Omsk, Metallurg Magnitogorsk and (at the time) Salavat Yulaev Ufa are almost completely located outside of Moscow, with Dynamo Moscow only having captured the Gargarin Cup after merging with HK MVD, the Ministry of Internal Affairs' club.

In the Russian capital, Spartak operated as with a smaller-market budget, Vityaz Chekhov (now Vityaz Podolsk) was the renegade team full of scrappers, and CSKA Moscow, once the jewel in the Soviet professional hockey crown, was a middling-at-best franchise. CSKA was struggling mightily, and worse, Fetisov announced that he was resigning from the club in disgust during KHL president Alex Medvedev's "State of the League" All-Star Game speech.

Inspired to reinvigorate the capital, and at Putin's request, the Russian oil and natural gas giant Rosneft suddenly became CSKA's main sponsor, and soon after, it was announced that the newly-retired Sergei Fedorov would take over as the club's GM around the time of the 2012 World Championships.

The happy accident that was the lockout happened, and it allowed CSKA to bring Mikhail Grabovski, Ilya Bryzgalov and Pavel Datsyuk into the fold. For the first half of the 2012-2013 season, CSKA was a world-beater.

After the lockout was over, not so much. And Fedorov slowly but surely pruned an overripe managerial tree, dismissing former GM Sergei Nemchinov, and over the summer, not only acquiring superstar forward Aleksey Morozov from the Ak Bars, but also adding Oleg Saprykin, re-signing Viktor Kozlov, signing Danny Markov and bringing in Finnish SM-Liiga star Ilari Filppula, all while appointing Morozov to the captaincy to relieve the still-troublesome Alexander Radulov of responsibility, bringing in a certain Fedor Fedorov--putting Rosneft's money to work--and then Fedorov made a particularly radical decision:

Fedorov decided to appoint John Torchetti, formerly of the AHL's Iowa Stars, as CSKA's coach, naming an American the coach of the Central Red Army Sports Club.

Due to a slew of injuries and continued inconsistencies in the crease and from Radulov, CSKA hasn't done very well, Torchetti's been something of a lightning-rod for criticism, despite Morozov suffering an early injury and things getting worse from there, and as you know by now, Sergei chose to come out of retirement at 43 to bolster CSKA's ranks.

In his "Three Periods" column, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika notes that Fedorov, who reluctantly retired due to back problems, but was still both working out and sometimes skating with CSKA's players, didn't plan on retiring for good:

Sergei Fedorov has signed himself. The general manager of CKSA Moscow in the KHL will reportedly come out of retirement to play at age 43. But remember: After he left the NHL in 2009, he played three more seasons in the KHL, plus an Olympics. And when he became a GM last year, he didn’t feel finished as a player. He just had a bad back and needed time off, and an opportunity arose in the meantime.

“I never said that I’m finishing my career, I’m retiring, because I don’t want to look stupid after I rethink my position,” Fedorov told Yahoo Sports a year ago. “I’m doing something close to hockey. At the same time, I’m recovering a little bit. I got some ideas where I should go with my back.”

He said he was skating and feeling better. “I have a lot of witnesses,” he said with a smile.

Now he’ll have a lot more, and he will (presumably) finish his career with the team from which he defected to join the Red Wings in 1990. Guess now we know why he won’t play in the Winter Classic alumni game.

Cotsonika continues, and his NHL-topic-spanning column is more than worth your time.

Initially, the theory was that Fedorov would have a curtain call with the team during the 12-13 season, but the lockout changed those plans, and now, necessity is the mother of unretirement in the Motherland.

 

Update: For once, Google-translated gibberish gets it right. This is Sport-Express's Igor Larin's take on Fedorov's unretirement, and given that Larin was the one who gave Viktor Fedorov a voice while his son was negotiating with the Red Wings in 2003, and given that the comments both Viktor and Sergei made to Larin played a role in the Fedorov-Wings divorce...

Well, enjoy this bit of bullshit for what it is:

STORY CSKA. BUILT THE CIRCUS?

Igor Larin

The events that unfold in recent months on Leningrad Prospect, causing a mixed reaction. Someone wants to laugh, some cry, but, alas, tears in rainy Moscow this autumn, more and more.

When the country's leaders have set the task to revive the legendary team and led the most powerful corporation, red and blue Moscow looked to the future with optimism. Was hailed a great success and the decision to appoint to the key post of general manager Sergei Fedorov - the best hockey player in the Russian Cup NHL history. Finally, a new sponsor has closed all financial matters and invited to Leningrad Avenue brightest star in our league - Alexander Radulov. It seemed that all the conditions for the revival of once invincible CSKA met. It seemed ...

It's hard to understand what happened in the office of red and blue in summer. Why the revolution broke out across the ocean - and the club, which has the greatest potential for human and victory in the hockey world, invited a team from the American League. Torchetti, Brooks, Hassan Saeed and Co. ever did by and large did not win, but against the background of hundreds of gold order bearers CSKA looked as odious figures. Nevertheless, it is on them, sacrificing Bykov Butsaeva and other CSKA, received carte blanche to a novice manager bet.

Fedorov, the NHL has always suffered from double standards. A dozen years into the "Detroit," he said, in fact, was held hostage by Steve Yzerman, somewhere even broke down his career in the NHL. And a tough attitude to the Legion in North America is understandable: it is built around its pupils - including those in the business plan - any professional club.

Especially striking is that of CSKA with its tradition of exemplary general manager decided to build the anti-"Detroit." Butsaeva of it away with wolf tickets, but before the dubious North American Legionnaires all the doors wide open. Sometimes even the thought creeps in: maybe the whole thing in psychology and detachment Torchetti ex-footballer Fedorov associates with itself the nineties? Maybe this win complexes and thrown out of the skeletons of old cabinets? ..

Now that the second smallest budget KHL club dropped out of the cup area, even many in the office CSKA became apparent: the management of the club sags. And it's not about the administrative part (where success is - and sensitivity to the veterans, and converts the palace, and as a result, a slight increase in attendance), and only about sports. Torchetti and Co. are likely to underload team in the summer, with autumn offered her an extremely energy-intensive game system. After that was in the hospital half the team ...

The most annoying that injured star is unlikely to rush back. One of them, the well-known veteran in the North American "hit-and-run" from Torchetti clearly uncomfortable. Another summer has lost his older brother (in place which ironically got his younger brother General Manager), more sick Sochi.

In such a situation it is necessary to gain time and try to save face. It is dropping out of the office on the ice and trying to make a general manager.

That's just sad for the patrons of the team, which two years ago statesmen blessed to revive the great team. Them, throw away the astronomical amounts until only managed to build a one-not very professional actor, if you like - a circus.

"Soviet circus, high wages," - we sang, the boys of the eighties. It seems that this motif is still in my ears, and a contemporary of Sergei Fedorov. We are waiting for you on the ice, Sergey Viktorovich ...

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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.