Fedorov as a Defencemen vs Forsberg and Lindros (Bowman & The Playoffs)
Scotty Bowman seems to have trusted Fedorov with shutting down Wayne Gretzky and Peter Forsberg in 1996 Playoffs and Eric Lindros somewhat in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.
Sergei Fedorov (1g,8a = 9pts,6games) vs Peter Forsberg (2g,2a = 4pts,6games) (1996 Playoffs):
It wasn't enough for Sergei Fedorov of the Red Wings to check Wayne Gretzky and stifle his offensive brilliance in the previous round against St. Louis. It still wasn't enough for Fedorov to set up a fistful of goals in the series against the Colorado Avalanche
Bowman said one reason for lack of goals by Fedorov is that he has been matched against Peter Forsberg of Colorado for many shifts. In this series, Forsberg has one goal and two assists.
"If you look at the stats of both, you might say, 'Where are these guys in the playoffs?' " Bowman said. "Well, they're playing against each other and you've got a big matchup. They are not guys who play one-way hockey. They can check. And they can set up plays. I mean, they are probably both better playmakers than they are finishers because they are very unselfish."
They are also scrappy, and have exchanged several bumps and elbows. In Game 5 Monday, as they skated toward the benches for a line change, Forsberg tripped Fedorov, who responded by tripping Forsberg. Neither was penalized. Forsberg isn't happy with his play so far.
"It can't be that hard to pick it up," Forsberg said, "because I'm not playing that good." He called Fedorov "a good skater" who improves "when you give him open ice."
Fedorov said Forsberg is "a two-way guy like me.
"Probably, I happen to have a little more speed in the neutral zone than him," Fedorov said. "It seems to me he likes to be in the second wave. Sometimes, I like to be in the first wave and go to the net hard and make him come back."
Sergei Fedorov (3g,3a = 6pts,4games) vs Eric Lindros (1g,2a = 3pts,4games) (1997 Stanley Cup Finals):
....In addition to his offensive skills, Fedorov is the best defensive center in the sport. Because of this, Coach Scotty Bowman used him to check Eric Lindros of Philadelphia late in Saturday's game when Detroit held a two-goal lead.
This was appropriate. In 1994 Fedorov won the Hart trophy as the National Hockey League's most valuable player. In 1995 Lindros won the same award. Late in the regular season and early in the playoffs, Bowman used Fedorov as a defenseman, a demanding and difficult assignment Fedorov accepted without public complaint.
Wayne Gretkzy via Scotty Bowman: "I talked to Wayne Gretzky about that six or seven years ago and he said to me: 'I couldn't play forward and defence. Mario couldn't do it. Jagr couldn't play defense. But Sergei could. He was a hell of a player'."
Scotty Bowman : [Fedorov was] one of my favorite players as a coach because he can do anything [asked of him on ice]."
Jim Devellano: "I’m convinced if we left him there, he’d have won a Norris Trophy".
Jeremy Roenick: "He was a horse, bigger than you'd think he was. He could skate, handle the puck like a magician, and check you until you hated him.
How good was he defensively league wise in comparison? Would he have ever won a Norris?
A Norris? Huh? He was a great two-way Centerman. That doesn't mean he could play a completely different position as well. He was a two time Selke winner and well-deserving. I don't know why Yzerman ever won one of those but Federov was much better defensively than Stevie Y.
Fedorov was trained in the old Soviet system, where a center's primary duties were to cover defensively for his wingers. One of the rare players to enter the NHL an elite defensive player. Also a rare player, who when he slacked off (and he often did in the regular season in the later part of his career), he slacked off on offense, while still playing well defensively.
A Norris? Huh? He was a great two-way Centerman. That doesn't mean he could play a completely different position well. He was a two time Selke winner and well-deserving. I don't know why Yzerman ever won one of those but Federov was much better defensively than Stevie Y.
Um, Federov played D quite a bit, and was a very good defenseman when he did. Whether or not he would have won a Norris is unlikely considering the competition of the 90s, but he definitely wasn't out of place on the blue line.