His ultra-talented ways helped the Wings win three Stanley Cups, and he was one of the most dynamic NHL players in the 1990s. However, after a controversial split with the Wings in 2003, Fedorov became an enemy of Detroit.
He didn't exactly leave for more money. He declined a five-year, $50-million deal to test the waters of free agency, opting to sign with the Anaheim Ducks for less, actually -- a four-year, $32-million payday.
I often thought that Fedorov was the next in line for captaincy after Steve Yzerman, my favorite Wings player. Fedorov, a Russian sensation, most definitely had the talent to headline Detroit's roster. But it seems that his ego got out of control, and he chose to sign with a club that would likely give him more recognition than he thought he was getting in Detroit.
And I suppose it's difficult to forget his holdout in 1998, too. He entertained an offer from the Carolina Hurricanes, but Detroit won him over by matching the deal.
Either way, Wings fans should still hold Fedorov in high esteem. He's retiring from the game of hockey to pursue a career as GM of a Russian club. Here's to his success.
Fedorov scored 400 goals in a Wings uniform before becoming a journeyman during the twilight of his career. He scored 30 or more in seven of his 12 seasons in Detroit, cementing himself as easily one of the most exciting scorers in franchise history. He won the Hart Trophy -- given to the NHL's MVP -- in 1993-94 after scoring a career-high 56 goals. No Detroit player has won the Hart since.
Had he stayed healthy, and averaged about 30 goals per season, he could have ended up with 600 or more with the Wings. He shares the record for most points in a period, notching four in Detroit's 7-3 win Jan. 21, 1992 over the Philadelphia Flyers. He scored a clutch overtime goal in 1996 against the Washington Capitals. The Wings won 5-4, and Fedorov scored every goal.
I remember the influx of Russian talent coming to Detroit in the early 1990s. I was around 10 at that time, and Wings hockey -- next to Michigan State basketball -- ruled my winter months. I was glued to the TV, listening to Mickey Redmond and Dave Strader describe how fast Fedorov skated, how great his hands were and how he had the potential to be one the league's greats.
At that time, just a kid, I really didn't appreciate how great he was. It wasn't until the mid 1990s, after gaining a better understanding of the game, that I finally realized how special Fedorov was.
Forget the split, Wings fans. Forget the drama that was his departure. Give Fedorov credit for being one of the Wings' best. He is responsible for re-energizing the once-lowly franchise, along with Yzerman and Lidstrom. The 1990s symbolized the Wings' return to greatness. That probably wouldn't have happened without Fedorov's assistance.
Adam Biggers has followed the NHL for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Red Wings. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
- Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- Detroit Red Wings