The greatest Russian hockey player to play in the NHL was immortalized this past weekend and your favorite Russian hockey blog was on hand to witness it all.
Friday saw Fedorov and his fellow inductees receive their Hockey Hall of Fame rings as well as host an extended media session. There, Fedorov revealed he was given permission by coach Scotty Bowman to leave the Red Wings for a few days to patch things up with then girlfriend and later then wife Anna Kournikova.
Said Fedorov “I really, truly, finally figured out who Scotty Bowman was. After that, I played even harder for that gentleman.” We asked whether he had any desire to return to the NHL to work either as a coach or general manager, to which he conceded he didn’t. Adding “for me to come back and work in the NHL I would need 30 years expereince to even qualify.”
It was a curious admission from one of hockey’s greatest scorers who has been serving as GM in Russia to play down any notion of returning to North America.
On Sunday, Fedorov received his Hall of Fame jacket before joining the likes of Pavel Bure, Igor Larionov, Alexei Kasatonov and others as they took on a team led by Doug Gilmour and his Canadian legends. Fedorov scored two goals and was named the game’s first star after displaying shades of flare that helped earn him a Nike ad campaign during his Red Wings days.
Afterwards he spoke of how Alex Ovechkin tied his career goal total on Saturday night and how he thought Ovi’s second disallowed goal should’ve counted. He added that he believes Ovechkin has the ability to score double the amount.
He then revealed that during their time together, Ovechkin never talked about his admiration for Fedorov having just found out the night before from the CBC feed of the game which showed a young Ovi in a Fedorov jersey. Adding “And he never told me about that particular part of his life, and wearing something like that. And we were very close in Washington.”
On Monday he was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame becoming just the sixth Russian in history to be honored joining the likes of fellow countrymen Pavel Bure, Slava Fetisov, Valeri Kharlamov, Igor Larionov, Vladislav Tretiak. Bure, Larionov, and Tretiak were on hand.
“In my wildest dreams I would never expect something like [this],” Fedorov said in his opening remarks. “I never believed and thought something like [this] would happen to me. It’s such an honor to be here tonight, to speak in front of you. I’ve been so fortunate.”
He spoke of moving to Murmansk where he stopped playing soccer, his first sport, in favor of hockey since the Northwest port city had winter nine months of the year.
He thanked the Ilitch family who were instrumental in whisking him away to the Red Wings and despite not finishing his career in Detroit he added “I’m a Red Wing at heart. I spent the best days of my life in this organization.”
He mentioned the legandary coaches who helped mold him to the player he became including the late Viktor Tikhonov and the aforementioned Bowman who Fedorov called “the greatest hockey coach.”
Fedorov entered the Hall tied for most goals by a Russian player in the NHL, most points by a Russian, the first Russian to eclipse 1,000 points and the only player in league history to win the Hart and Selke in one season.
This weekend left no doubts why he was a first ballot Hall of Famer.