Recently I was able to obstruct Washington Capitals center Sergei Fedorov long enough to ask him a few questions about his 17-year NHL career, his life away from the ice and some other interesting experiences. The 38-year-old Fedorov was acquired by the Caps at the February 26 NHL trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets and I was able to catch up with him after his first game in a Capitals uniform, a 4-0 win in New Jersey over the Devils. A three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998 & 2002) and a six-time All-Star, the 6-2, 209 lb. Fedorov has just about seen and done it all since arriving in North America and the NHL in 1990. He turned out to be a major steal drafted by Detroit in the 4th round (74th overall) of the 1989 NHL Draft, made the All-Rookie team in 1991 and has represented Russia twice in the Olympics (1998-bronze medal, 2002-silver medal). Fedorov was also the 1994 Hart Trophy winner (NHL MVP) and he won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward in 1994 and 1996. Over his career with Detroit, Anaheim, Columbus and now with Washington, Fedorov has appeared in 1,181 NHL games, scoring 1,134 points (470g-664a) with 90 game-winning goals and in 162 playoff games he has netted 163 points (50g-113a) with 11 game-winning goals. So who is Sergei Fedorov off the ice? Read on:
Dan Rice: What has it been like coming to a team that is making a playoff push and that is full of young players, with all of your experience?
Sergei Fedorov: No, no, I didn’t build myself up that way. I just want to be as young as they are, hopefully bring the same energy and be part of the team. I don’t want to draw any focus away from what they have done before (I got here). That’s what is most important for me.
DR: Could you have hand-picked a better team or situation to be traded to?
SF: To be honest with you, all of my friends from Michigan told me Detroit, Detroit, Detroit. So I said okay, you guys have it, I guess I’m going (back) to Detroit; even though I thought it was that much of a possibility, because I was with Columbus – same division, same conference – it wouldn’t make sense. So now Washington has me for the moment and I have established communication with the coaches, with my (new) teammates as much as I can. I’m listening, listening, listening – what they want from me exactly. I like that; I want to know what they expect me to do and what they want me to do.
DR: What do you like about your new team as the season winds down?
SF: I don’t know what I can really say after only one game with them, but I’m very excited to be part of this group and we’ll see. I know what I have to do. I was so vocal on the bench (smiling) maybe the guys are already sick and tired of my voice, I don’t know. It was pure adrenaline – the full 60 minutes; I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember what I did. All I remember was I was very tired after every shift. I only practiced twice in the last week because I had a charley horse.
DR: Who’s been the best roommate that you’ve had so far?
SF: Shawn Burr, number 11, Detroit Red Wings, my first roommate ever.
DR: Favorite NHL city that you’ve played in?
SF: Well, I won three Cups in Detroit, it was an amazing experience. The fans were and are amazing there. That was a great time, what else can I say?
DR: What kind of music is on your iPod these days?
SF: Right now I’m listening to a little bit of rock, definitely Kid Rock, my boy from Detroit, definitely him and a little bit of DJ Godfather. He’s also from Detroit, he’s unbelievable. He works with big stars like Jay-Z, Ashanti and Ludacris. It’s like club music, but mixed; it’s not techno but its dance music — so my iPod is loaded now.
DR: What’s the best or funniest practical joke that you’ve seen (in the locker room)?
SF: I always liked it when guys were fooling around and stuck a cake in someone’s face while they are doing TV interview. I think that was hilarious, but that was Detroit days. Right now, these days, there is so much pressure on the younger players, they can’t even think about practical jokes. There’s not enough time, we play every other day.
DR: What has been your best hockey memory so far?
SF: First Cup ever. I lifted it and I almost fell back; I was so tired and exhausted, but it was amazing feeling because we won it in Detroit against Philadelphia in 1997.
DR: Who is your best friend in/from the NHL?
SF: Oh, that’s a tough one, (laughing) I’m a friendly person, Shawn Burr obviously, Doug Brown who played here for New Jersey (and Detroit). Slava Kozlov too, from my Detroit time.
I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Sergei Fedorov and if there is a player you’d like to read about in a future column or have a question you want asked, let me know:
Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com & contributes to MaxHockey.com as well as IslesNation.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.