April 29, 2009

HHOF Worthy: Sergei Fedorov?

Adam Kimelman of NHL.com hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed Sergei Fedorov's series winning goal against New York last night brings back memories of one the game's greatest players.
A decade ago, Sergei Fedorov was Alexander Ovechkin, streaking up and down the ice, making jaw-dropping plays.
Of course the fans in Washington remember the great Fedorov all too well. After all, in 1998 he was a key player for the Detroit Red Wings team that defeated the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup finals.
On Tuesday night at the Verizon Center, it was like 1998 all over again as Fedorov scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7.

It's the first time the Caps have advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 1998, the only time the Capitals have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Those Caps were swept by the Detroit Red Wings -- and the winning goal in Game 3, played in Washington, was scored by Fedorov.
Those were the days. Fedorov was one of my favorite players, the last classic Soviet-era centerman as creative in the offensive zone as he was heady in the defensive zone. He was blessed with speed and puck skills but above all he had a wonderful hockey mind.

Even in the height of his career some people claimed he was an enigma. That always bugged me. While I admit he looked disinterested in Anaheim and Columbus, the truth of the matter was he was an effortless player because he understood the game so well. He was always in such good position that he, unlike so many players in the league, did not have to go all out to make the play. Some fans hate that, I love it. In his prime he was a near perfect hockey player.

He was so flawless offensively that several times in his career he actually dropped back and played entire games as a rearguard, and play it wll. That is an incredibly rare thing to do, especially for an offensive player.

Sometime Fedorov did leave you wanting more, especially offensively. Even though he scored nearly 500 goals and nearly 1200 points, his talent suggested he could have raised those numbers some. But the bigger the game the better the performance by Fedorov. In four consecutive Stanley Cup playoffs between 1995 and 1998 Fedorov scored 20 points or more. Even Wayne Gretzky never scored 20 points in four consecutive playoffs.

As far as I am concerned Sergei Fedorov is an easy lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a key member of three Stanley Cup championships. He won a Hart Trophy and Pearson Trophy, and two Selke's and scored nearly 500 goals and 1200 points.


jamestobrien said...

Yes, easily a HoFer. Plus he totally was around for Anna Kournikova's ... prime.

lextune said...

A HoF lock imo. Also; in his prime he was the most beautiful skater since Orr.

James Benesh said...

Sergei Fedorov, as a surefire top-100 player, has to be a lock for the HHOF, which contains about 240 players right now.

His legacy is primarily as a two-way player and as a playoff performer. His regular season stats are highly unimpressive. Look at the luminaries with similar credentials who don't have a hope in hell at the hall, and look at who vastly outperformed him and are either HHOF longshots or marginal selections:

He was a top-10 goalscorer just twice and made the top-20 two more times. Other modern players with similar goalscoring credentials: Rick MacLeish, Steve Larmer, Miroslav Satan. Players who you might not think have him doubled in this category: Jarome Iginla, Mats Sundin, Pat Lafontaine, Keith Tkachuk. (one bottom-tier HHOFer, one who should have his ticket already stamped, one who would be very controversial if he made it, and one who'll never make it)

He was a top-10 playmaker just once and made the top-20 two more times for a total of three. Comparable playmaking resumes belong to Todd Bertuzzi, Andre Boudrias, Barry Pederson, and defensemen Gary Suter and Scott Stevens. Players who triple him in this category: Doug Gilmour, Bernie Federko, Doug Weight. (one who will get into the hall eventually, one who is a controversial HHOFer, and one who'll never get in)

Fedorov will be in the hall, and rightly so, because he was a top-3 player on three Stanley Cup winning teams (only a handful of players can really say this) and because at his very best, for one season, he was a Hart trophy winner. He provided Selke-caliber defense his entire career too.

The Shamrock said...

No. No. No. He has only a few point-per-game seasons. The Original Alexander The Great-Alexander Mogilny was far better the scorer. A routine 40+ goal scorer who, though injury-riddled at the end, still is way over a point-a-game and would've easily cracked 1,000 points first. First Mogilny and Pavel Bure!

Anonymous said...

This is to Shamrock:

Mogilny scored more than 40 goals 3 times in his career. Fedorov should absolutely be nominated before Bure and Mogilny. He played more games, had more points, and was a more complete player who won Cups, games, and hardware. A lot.

Anonymous said...

My family has owned Red Wings season tix for over 60 years. I have watched them literally since I was a baby. No one will supplant No. 9 in Red Wings lore. Gordie was an ungodly talent able to dominate a 6 team league (imagine if ONLY the top 17% of today's players were good enough to make it). After Howe, I absolutely believe Federov is the 2nd best player in Red Wing history. Yes, better than Yzerman, Delvecchio and others, whether long or short-term wearers of the Winged Wheel. Best skater I have ever seen. Period. Fast AND quick, nifty and elusive but still incredibly strong on his skates. If he had been a true sniper, he may have rewritten some scoring records. Hall of Fame worthy? Hell, yeah.