Q.: Did Sergei Fedorov bring something special to the team?
Alex Semin: Oh yeah... He added a class to our team. He is always helpful, constantly gives good advices and plays himself very well...
By Pavel Lysenkov, SovSport.ru, Oct. 3, 2008:
How were you preparing for the season, Sergei?
I spent four and a half weeks in Moscow. To be exact, in the country side outside of the city, outdoors, with fresh air. I worked a lot in the gym. Four times a week, twice a day on the ice. Thanks to my close friends, they organized it really well. Then I went to Florida. For a week I ran in the deep sand. I worked on endurance and my legs. Training was very intense. After this the athletic workout needs to be reduced. The muscles need to rest and after that it won't be so hard on the ice.
Are you talking about Novogorsk where you were trained by Dima Kapitonov, am I correct?
And who is he?
Moscow Dynamo's and Alexander Ovechkin's physical trainer.
Ah, ok! Well, of course! Finally I know his last name. (Fedorov taps his forehead) And I was, "Dima, Dima..." I ran three cross country races with Ovechkin, but mostly trained on my own. I personally really liked the training, the physical foundation that Kapitonov builds in you. I'd say his training methodology is one of the most advanced training systems I've experienced, and it is more for hockey players than for marathon runners, sprinters or weightlifters.
You were in Moscow for a month. Why did you deny all requests for an interview?
And why should I talk to the press?
It is interesting to know about you and your life.
And I'm not interested. Fans? They already know everything about me. Internet is everywhere, and people hear news through the grapevine. I decided to not to talk to the press... Wait a minute, you know, I gave one interview to the "Soccer" magazine.
It's very ironic.
Why not? It is my favorite sport's game. My father played professional soccer. And I grew up as a footballer. Only later I switched to hockey... I don't follow Russian Prime Soccer League, but when I flip the TV channels and ran into England, Germany or Spain league's soccer games, I watch them sometimes.
What can you say about the Washington Capitals' potential?
Let's cross that bridge when we get there. The roster is the same as it was last year. Now we only need to play 82 games of regular season and work hard for two months in the playoffs.
You don't like predictions, do you?
On the contrary, I love them. I make them before each season. I just don't tell them to anyone. (You can see sarcasm in the eyes of Fedorov again) Really the time will tell. And if you want to jinx us, go ahead...
Do you think I have a bad mojo?
Well, ok, not you. But I am tired of the same questions from the North American press. "Mr Fedorov, how much do you think you'll score this year?" You need to spit three times over the left shoulder for that. [Russian equivalent to "knock on wood three times"] "You know better, my friends," I'd answer. "I have some thoughts about it, but if I have to share them with you, then everything will be exactly the opposite. The season will go awry. It's the law of life, the Murphy's law.
Do we agree that your team has the best hockey player the world?
Yes, this is true. And why are you skipping the name? His name is Sasha Ovechkin. He collected all the trophies last season.
You've been in the NHL for a long time...
Certainly. (Fedorov grins, not letting me to finish) Eighteen years.
You've played against Gretzky and Lemieux. Is Ovechkin better than them?
The press and the hockey analysts should do such comparisons. I know one thing, Sasha had a great season. In a new season he'll have a lot of work to do. And the sooner Ovechkin will forget about the last season, the better it will be for him.
It's a good advice. Does Alexander often ask for your advise?
Why do the journalists have this stereotype, the veteran directing young players? Now we have a young generation that can itself teach anybody. You don't need to tell them much. They are smart and progressive people. They notice some of your tricks and next moment you see them repeating it. They catch it on the fly... I'm learning from the young players as much as they learn from me. And what do you think about that? You think life has stopped a while ago?
But you have three Stanley Cups, three world championship gold medals...
This is just an experience, it comes with time. But to be young, this is only once in your life. I am so lucky that when I was young I was in CSKA, it was when there were Larionov, Fetisov, Makarov... Sasha Tyzhnyh was there, Kolya Drozdetsky, Irek Gimaev. I was so fortunate back then. But I realized it only ten years later, sometime in the mid 90's.
Does Ovechkin call you using a patronymic middle name? [Sergei Victorovich is Russian equivalent to Mr. Fedorov]
No, thank God not. (Fedorov grins)
Can you say that you got rejuvinated in Washington, that it's like your second youth in life?
I am not done with the first one yet. It will always be like that until I hang 'em.
It is true that you had offers this summer from KHL?
There have been conversations. More precisely one conversation. But when it came to details, it became difficult to accept that offer. Why look for greener pastures when you're happy where you are? I've envisioned myself in Washington and wanted in come back. And I immediately responded to an offer from Russia, "Sorry, but I can't."
Did American financial crisis affect you?
I am not going to explain to what extent, but yes, it affected me. We are living in this country, not in some vacuum.
U.S. presidential elections will be on November the 4th, you'll be choosing the U.S. president.
I'll definitely go to vote.
Who is your favorite, Obama or McCain?
I'll wake up in the morning and decide. (Fedorov laughs.)
You are 38 years old...
Less than that. The countdown is now in reverse. I am younger with each year: 37 years old, 36 years old...
Jagr was recently asked about it. He said that he felt 16.
I will catch him soon, not much left.
At the end of the interview I asked Sergei to write a wish to Russian hockey fans. Fedorov approached it very seriously. The message got long, when Sergei put a last dot he said, "Whew, I felt like I had a test on the Russian language". And he has delivered, not a single mistake ...
To my dear fans
Thank you for your support!
See you in hockey arenas!
Health and happiness!
Good Bye !!!
Interview with Boudreau, Fedorov, Green, Schultz on Fedorov playing defense in exhibiton game Oct. 3, 2008 vs. Flyers.
Jeff Schultz: "He is like a forth forward out there"
Update after the game with Flyers, Oct. 3, 2008 from Capitals Insider:
Sergei Fedorov was universally praised for his play on defense. He logged 17:30 on the blue line, had two secondary assists and finished with a team-best plus-3 rating.
"He was pretty impressive back there," Flyers Coach John Stevens said. "He controls the game, makes the game look easy. He's never racing around, always makes the right play, never gets in trouble."
Boudreau said: "He made some great outlet passes. Never panicked. Made a couple of mistakes, but overall, from my aspect he passed. He can play there, for a guy who hasn't played there for a long time."
Boudreau said Fedorov might play there again Sunday against Boston. "I don't think he's going to forget how to play center," Boudreau joked.
Boudreau still hasn't decided how much, if any, Fedorov will play on defense in the regular season.
"He was way to excited," when told he would be playing on defense, Boudreau said. "'I love it' were his exact words. I said, 'Slow down here, ya know. You're my No. 2 center."
Wow, I am glad Tarik was wrong, he was projecting Fedorov as number 3 center since Sergei was traded to Caps. Guess what? At the end of playoffs Sergei centered Ovechkin on the first line, played number 1 center for team Russia and set up Kovalchuk for the 2008 World championship winning goal against Canada.