The Detroit Red Wings Should Retire Sergei Fedorov’s Number 91

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It’s time for the Detroit Red Wings to retire Sergei Fedorov’s number 91.

Retired Detroit Red Wings Numbers

In a recent post, Paul McPherson wrote about Henrik
Zetterberg
 potentially being the next former Detroit Red Wings player
to have his number retired by the team. Zetterberg would be a worthy recipient.

Eight players have had their number retired by the Detroit Red Wings. Two
numbers are also not in rotation but not officially retired. Those belong to
Wayne Gretzky and Vladimir Konstantinov.

Every player who has had his number retired by the Red Wings is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. During his career, Fedorov scored 483 goals and assisted on 696 for a total of 1,248 points in 22 seasons, 13 of them playing for Detroit Red Wings.

The number 99 has been retired league-wide. Konstantinov had his jersey number taken out of use after his playing career ended due to a tragic accident that left him with a spinal cord injury and has been in a wheelchair ever since. If he had played longer, his career trajectory would have had him on a path to join the other numbers hanging from the rafters.

The Case for Retiring 91

If the Red Wings were to raise the number 91 to the rafters at Little
Caesars Arena, this would mean that two of the famed The Russian Five line
would have been immortalized by the franchise that they helped restore after a 42-year Stanley Cup drought.

Drafted in 1989 out of the Soviet Union, Fedorov was uncertain as to whether or not he wanted to defect to Detroit. The Red Wings drafted Konstantinov in the same year. The two would join the Red Wings in the 1990-91 NHL season.

Red Wings End 42-Year Drought

During the 1993-94 season, after Yzerman went down with a herniated disk and Fedorov would step into the role as the offensive leader of the team. Fedorov would go on to score 56 goals and tally 120 points. If not for a concussion suffered due to a collision with Shawn Burr, Fedorov would have been in the race to score as many goals as Gretzky.

During the 1997-98 playoffs, the Red Wings faced the Colorado Avalanche again in what seemed like a yearly occurrence. After a collision with Aaron
Miller
 in Game Six, Fedorov had a rib injury that was severe enough
that the doctors felt like he needed an intercostal nerve block. Konstantinov
told him in not so uncertain terms that he needed to get back on the ice. The
Red Wings would defeat the Avalanche.

Fedorov and the Red Wings would go on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers for their first Stanley Cup championship in four games. He would go on to add two more Stanley Cups in 1998-99 and again in 2002-03.

Statistical Case for Fedorov

Ranking fourth all-time in franchise history with 400 goals scored, Fedorov
was an important offensive player for the Red Wings during his career. The
three players ahead of him in scoring have all had their number retired. He
also ranks in the top ten in every other statistical offensive category.

In 18 seasons, Fedorov scored a total of 483 goals and 696 assists in 1,248
games played.

Fedorov played in four Stanley Cup finals for the Red Wings, in which the
team won three Stanley Cups. He also won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the Selke Trophy twice as the best defensive forward. Fedorov represented the Red Wings in six All-Star games and scored six hat tricks.

Fedorov on Hall of Fame: ‘It’s a great question I can only fantasize about’

There has long been a rumor that Fedorov felt overshadowed by the
fan-favorite Yzerman. Fedorov has said that is all in the past. The fact that
he left the Red Wings organization after the second of two contract
negotiations for the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim did not do anything to smooth over the supposed rift between the two.

Fedorov, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, says he is at peace
with the Red Wings, is “really at peace, one way or the other.” The
fact that his former teammate Yzerman is now the general manager of the Red Wings has only led these rumors of a return to Hockeytown for Fedorov to resurface.

That is why it’s time for the Detroit Red Wings to retire the number 91.


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