NHL Database: Sergei Fedorov
NHL Database: Sergei Fedorov.
On my third installment of NHL Database, I have selected to write about Sergei Fedorov. The NHL Database articles will feature my favorite players from the past. I will discuss about their achievements and playing styles. Each one of these great players will have information about their goal scoring styles, playmaking, skating, and other features. Sergei Fedorov was a great two-way center. His overall play wowed fans and players alike.
Biography: Sergei Viktorovich Fedorov (Fyodorov in Russia) was born on the 13th of December, 1969, in Pskov, USSR. He played in the NHL for 20 years (1990-2009), winning 3 Stanley Cups for the Detroit Red Wings. Playing for 4 different teams, Fedorov was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. I consider him in the top 10 best all around players during the 90’s. A definite inclusion on my NHL Database series.
Goal-Scoring: Sergei Fedorov had an ability to put the puck in the net. He scored 30 or more goals 10 times, including a masterful 56 goals in the 1993-94 season, playing for the Red Wings. During that impressive year, Fedorov won the Hart Memorial Trophy. In a game against the Washington Capitals (1996), Sergei scored 5 goals. This was not an easy task, as the NHL was becoming more defensive by the middle to end of the 90’s. Fedorov would use his blazing speed to outskate most players en route to many breakaway goals. His silky dekes made goalies look foolish at times. Scoring over 400 goals (483) in the NHL, Sergei Fedorov had a deceptive shot as well. Top shelf goals would always place him on the highlight reel.
Passing: Sergei Fedorov was an underrated passer. His ability to saucer the puck at the right time was incredible. He was able to produce scoring chances for others at a top flight speed. This is not an easy feat. It was a great help for Sergei to learn from a creative genius like Igor Larionov. Playing side by side with Larionov and Vyacheslav Kozlov, Fedorov looked like a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. They would use their expertise, learned in the Soviet Union, to create plays never seen before in the NHL. Puck possession was their key to success. Sergei would pass the puck towards a place where a teammate could catch up to it.
Skating: What a fluid skater Sergei Fedorov was? He could catch up to anyone, even playing defense for several games. Sergei scored many end to end goals due to his calm speed in his stride. He could skate forwards and backwards at seemingly similar speeds. Detroit Red Wings coach at the time, Scotty Bowman, was smart to put Fedorov on the point. Seeing the talent of his skating ability was the key to many successful runs at the Stanley Cup. You could rarely push him off the puck. His leg strength was always underrated. A truly talented force that brought people off their seats.
Puck-Handling: The true genius of Sergei Fedorov as a player lied in his puck-handling ability. He was able to feel secure with the puck in highly occupied areas. His hand-eye coordination was undeniably strong. Being able to not look at the puck was a big plus, which is very important quality to have for comfort sake. What set Sergei apart from the rest was his ability to razzle and dazzle everyone with flair. I miss seeing him play hockey.
Defense: Sergei Fedorov had a definite impact in the defensive zone. During one season, the Detroit Red Wings defensemen were plagued by injuries. Coach Bowman was comfortable enough to let Fedorov play the defensive position. That is not an easy adjustment to make. Not only did Sergei do the job, but he even thrived in the new role. Sergei Fedorov won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward in the 1993-94 and could have won more than one for sure.
Checking: Sergei Fedorov was not a checker. His game focused on eloquently outskating anyone and scoring a nice top-shelf goal. He did get suspended for a hit in the 98′ season, which was definitely a rare occasion. A fighter he was not. Thank goodness if you ask me.
Leader: Sergei Fedorov was never a yell and scream kind of guy. Most of his attributes and leadership were exhibited on the ice and during the game. His main motivation was to prove his critics wrong. Being a Russian player in the NHL was never easy. A common misconception within North America of not “wanting” to win enough is a standard. People never think about the pains for a player to leave their mother country. Nobody truly tries to understand how a Russian person is inside. For Sergei to thrive the way he did was remarkable under the scrutiny of the media and public. Winning three cups just makes it even more pleasant for his fans.
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This concludes my NHL Database article about Sergei Fedorov. Check out my article NHL Database: Mark Recchi.