The era of the grandiose hockey nickname, as is the case in most sports, has passed. Gone are the eloquent times and prose when players and journalists concocted gems such as Carson "Shovel Shot" Cooper, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, Bobby "The Golden Jet" Hull, Ken "The Rat" Linseman and Alf "The Embalmer" Pike.
Even into the 1980s, there was "Super Mario" Lemieux, and Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky.
A few, such as Bulin Wall (former Lightning and current Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin) sprout. But the taglines for the next generation seem more contrived by marketing firms eyeing personal services deals than by half-cocked players or coaches cavorting with the boys and celebrating a lifestyle lived hard and fast.
"Sid the Kid" Crosby? Alexander "The Great" Ovechkin?
No charm. No style.
Oh yeah? How about Alex "Russian Roulette" Semin? Or Alex "Russian Machine" Ovechkin? Centered by Sergei "Sputnik on Ice" Fedorov? No charm? No style? :-)
Getty Images Sergei Fedorov has five goals and 10 assists in 22 games for the Capitals this season.
By Corey Masisak, TWT, Jan. 31, 2009:
The end of last season developed like a fairy tale for Sergei Fedorov. After years in Columbus that lacked fulfillment, the former NHL MVP was rejuvenated by a trade to the Washington Capitals.
Alex Ovechkin: "I think he play great at the start of the year. Then he got injured, and right now he is getting better and for the playoffs I think he's going to be 100 percent ready."
Fedorov first injured his ankle Nov. 6 against Carolina. "Being injured, with the ankle injury especially, was not fun," he said. "There was nothing you could do to it. There are only so many shots or extra MRIs or ice machines. Only time will heal it, and it was the most frustrating injury I've ever had - more frustrating than third-degree shoulder separations or concussions or anything like that.
"You feel healthy, you feel absolutely balanced and you can play, but once you get back on the ice, it doesn't go well for you."
Now the six-time All-Star is starting to inch back closer to full health. He has played in six consecutive games without a problem.
"Since I've been healed, I've been having a good time. I'm just not playing quite as much as I was," he said. "Hopefully one day, coaches will see to give a couple of extra minutes. If it's not, it is OK - I can still do what I have to do to help make this club better.
"I feel decent during the games. I am playing 13 to 16 minutes, so every shift is important and that's what I'm concentrating on and trying to make the best of it. There are some times when I am a little out of sync."
Fedorov's ice time could increase as soon as Saturday, when the Caps host the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Bruce Boudreau put Fedorov between Ovechkin and Alexander Semin on the team's top line at practice Friday.
"He is still just feeling his way around. I'm sure he's not quite 100 percent to where he wants to be yet, but it takes a little while - especially when you're older," Boudreau said. "When Sergei is ready and he's on his game, he's on his game on the ice, on the bench and in the dressing room. That is what was fabulous last year. You can tell he's getting close."
"He has great experience. I can't imagine how many years he's played here," Backstrom said. "I think he has been really important, especially for the Russian guys. Plus his English is so good. He's a big leader, and it is important for us young guys to look up to him."
Added Fedorov: "I'm not definitely a hands-on tutor or coach, but I first of all like to show by example, and second of all, if guys have any questions I like to help and correct some guys. ... If I can find balance while playing 15 or 16 minutes and be a good player for this club, I think we have a chance to be a great club."