The Detroit Red Wings need to retire Sergei Fedorov‘s number. I get asked a lot, “why isn’t #91 retired?” Fedorov was a Red Wing from 1990-2003 and he had a very illustrious yet colorful career with the Red Wings.
He is the last Red Wing to win the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP when he won it in the 1993-94 season, he is fourth all time on the Wings for most goals in his career. He is fifth all time on the Wings in points. Many other categories he is in the top 10.
After the Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997 to break their 42 year cup-less drought that’s when the colorfulness started.
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The 1997-1998 season started with Fedorov in a contract dispute which he held out until February 28th when the Red Wings matched an offer that the Carolina Hurricanes gave Sergei Fedorov. Fedorov at the time was a Restricted Free Agent which allows opposing teams to send offers to players and that players team has a few days to match it.
When Fedorov came back he scored 21 points in 17 games and then had a very good playoff that culminated in the Wings becoming back-to-back Stanley Cup champions which hasn’t been done since.
The Wings would not win another cup until the 2001-02 season when the Wings would sign Brett Hull, Dominik Hasek and Luc Robitaille. The Wings would have nine future Hall of Famers on that team and is considered arguably one of the best teams in NHL history.
In the 2003 playoffs though things took a bad turn as the top seeded Red Wings were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Not only did they lose but they were swept in four games. This led to contract negotiations between the Wings and Fedorov who was now a Unrestricted Free Agent.
The Wings thought they had him locked up but Fedorov ended up signing with the Mighty Ducks for five years at $40 million dollars after allegedly turning down a five year and four year deal at $10 million per season to stay in Detroit.
Mr. Ilitch is known for his loyalty but he felt spurned and this is the reason I believe that his jersey is not up in the rafters yet. Fans also have been hard on Fedorov ever since he left he has been booed lustily until he came back for the Alumni game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Fedorov got the loudest reaction that day which after that started the reports that maybe the Wings would consider raising Fedorov’s number to the rafters after all. In July of this year Ken Holland broke his silence about Fedorov saying Sergei will certainly be in the discussion.
Personally I believe its a shame that #91 isn’t retired and I believe the RedWings should retire it and retire it this season.
What do you think? Should the Wings retire Sergei Fedorov’s number?