Fedorov expects return to be 'overwhelming'
DETROIT -- Sergei Fedorov came to the Red Wings as a 20-year-old defector from Russia and left with three Stanley Cups and a Hart Trophy.
``It probably will be overwhelming, so I'm probably going to have to calm myself down a bit before the game,'' Fedorov said. ``There will be certain pressures, but I'll try not to lose my head and get caught up in all that other stuff besides hockey because I'll have to perform on the ice.''
Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek knows Fedorov's situation. After spending his entire career in Buffalo, he went to Detroit in July 2001. His first trip back in a Wings jersey was a tough one.
``It's emotional. You don't know what to expect. You don't know if the crowd will cheer you or boo. I remember in Buffalo ... you sort of feel uncomfortable,'' Hasek said. ``Anyway, he doesn't have a Red Wings jersey anymore, and we have to do our best to cover him and make sure he doesn't score any goals.''
Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph, who spent time with St. Louis, Edmonton and Toronto before coming to the Red Wings, said the return is an ``anxious time.''
``It's really a hard thing to do,'' Joseph said. ``He's going to want to play really well. He's going to want to have a hat trick. That's his mindset.''
Hasek said Fedorov has the best slapshot he's ever seen.
``He played against me in the Czech Republic. He was 18, and I was probably 22 or 23. He was a rookie on that team and he scored a couple goals, and I knew he was going to be a great player,'' Hasek said.
Fedorov said Anaheim was eager to sign him.
``They were the only strong contender that wants my services. That was the bottom line, I guess,'' he said. ``It was a business decision. It was nothing against people or fans or management in Detroit. Sometimes, things just don't work out in the end.''
Despite 400 goals and two Frank Selke Trophies as the league's best defensive forward in 13 seasons, Fedorov never became the centerpiece in Detroit.
Just when he was coming into his own in the early 1990s, winning the Hart Trophy for the 1993-1994 season, the Red Wings added several other Russian players -- Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov and Slava Kozlov.
``That was the most memorable time, hockey-wise, playing with the Russian guys,'' Fedorov said.
One by one, they either were traded or retired, leaving Fedorov without the people he most cherished. Finally, he left, too.
``I hope fans and those who love the hockey game remember those glorious days when we won some Cups and the Russian Five played ... all those glory days,'' he said.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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