Note: my prior misspelling of Fedorov's last name has been corrected. Thanks to all the kind folks in the comments for gently pointing out this error.
Somewhere back in my parents' house, there is a desk drawer with lots of little bits of paper, pins, old journal pages, pencils, things like that. It's fun to open that drawer when I'm home and look at things that held significance to me at a point in my life that (usually) no longer do so.
One of those items, however, is a ticket stub from the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. It was at the beginning of last decade, maybe fall of 2003, and the Stars were in town to play the Ducks. It was my first NHL game in person, and I was transfixed by the action on the ice. Even though the game ended in a tie (I think), I have this lasting memory of Sergei Fedorov, strangely. Despite rooting for the Stars, there was just something amazing about The Russian, that guy who came over to the Red Wings back when they were the team of all teams to beat. He was playing hockey on the ice right in front of me, and I've never forgotten how electric the rink seemed to get each time he started carrying the puck.
So naturally, I loved this interview of Fedorov by Alessandro Seren Rosso. It's filled with good bite-sized snippets about Fedorov's transition to North America, learning the language, and how wearing his Stanley Cup rings while playing didn't seem to improve his team's chances.
But what I loved even more was this tidbit about that time that Scotty Bowman had Sergei Fedorov play defense for a few games, really:
Scottie Bowman played you both on the blue line and on the right wing.
It was many years later. We had many injuries on defense, the last injury occurring to Chris Chelios. Late in the season with a few regular season games remaining he said: "Ok, play a couple of games on defense". I was happy about it, because I knew that I would play more than 20 minutes a game. When I played as forward, I didn’t completely understand Mr. Bowman. We were rolling four lines, and I didn’t understand that he was simply trying to keep us fresh for the playoffs. We, the players, often don’t think about the whole strategy. I was happy to play defense. Moreover, my partner was Larry Murphy. Maybe he wasn’t the fastest defenseman out there, but he was indeed a great player. We complemented each other very well, and we almost didn’t play in our zone. We almost didn’t defend. We were either playing the puck or joining the rush. [THW]
Note: Fedorov also played some defense with Columbus late in his career, although that seemed to be more due to his conditioning than the team's needs at the time.
So, while the Stars don't have a Larry Murphy back there to pair with a forward, my question to you is this:
What Stars forward would you pick to play defense for a game if it came down to it?
I say Nichushkin, just because I'm not sure attacking forwards would ever be able to win puck battles in the Stars' end. That big frame, you know.
I am not advocating this strategy, but hey, if it was good enough for Scotty Bowman and Ken Hitchcock, well...maybe Val can call up Fedorov and get some tips before he comes back. I am just saying things at this point, but the fact remains that the Stars' defense has looked a bit under the weather for much of the season, and they have limited options for fixing it at this point. Besides, it's a fun exercise. And before you say, "Well, the Stars don't exactly have a Sergei Fedorov to put back there," I will just say this: Good point. Does anyone have his phone number?
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Monday Morning Links. Cover 'em in ketchup and salt to taste. Video footage courtesy of the Bangles. Please do me the courtesy of listening to that song while reading the following links.
Mike Heika talks about the precarious balancing act that Ruff and Nill are having to perform in Dallas. Also, let's please be more excited about Seguin, Spezza and Benn? That line is just so much the best, even if we'd like to see two lines of awesome possum instead of just the one. What a line it is, though. [DMN]
Lighthouse Hockey recapped the game the other night. Did you know the Stars held Tavares off the scoreboard? Did you know they also surrendered 6 goals (and one fake goal that, sure, let's just let it count, even though we never had another face-off, meaning it can't possibly have happened during the run of play, but whatever) to the Islanders anyway? Yay, we shut down their really good player, so, uh, so what if we gave up a fake hat trick to that TV ratings guy? We score goals! Not much consolation in that philosophy (#Boethius) though. [Lighthouse Hockey]
Chicago defeated Ottawa last night, and they aren't having any backup goalie issues: Scott Darling stopped 32 of 33 to win his first NHL game. Chicago leapfrogged Dallas to pull within 1 point of the inimitable Nashville Predators. Standings mean nothing right now. You cannot unread that previous sentence. [NHL.com]
Nashville Predators: a jersey history. Well, if that don't whet your appetite, you probably have taste. [The Hockey Writers]
The Red Wings are piling up points, even if it's not pretty; and that is the name of the game early on, isn't it? Also, middle on and late on. Points are important, turns out. [The Hockey Writers]
Petri Skriko, the OG Streaky Goal Scorer. [Greatest Hockey Legends]
Finally, the Jets actually won a game, and yes, I have proof: