Viktor Fedorov: “The Caps Didn’t Have a Good Centerman”

Sergei Fedorov's Dad Victor, sits with Alex Ovechkin at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Viktor Fedorov, a honoured Coach of Russia and the father of Future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov, recently sat down with Russian Sports Radio and explained his reasons for why he thought the Capitals failed in the first round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens. Lucky for us, transcribed the interview and our own Fedor Fedin translated it. Let us know what you think of his opinions in the comments below!

What happened to the the team? With the team, nothing happened, the team just played. The question is: How did they actually do? Alex Semin was criticized by the newspapers, but I think that he doesn’t have a good center. Alex Ovechkin played with Nicklas Backstrom, a very skilled forward, who earned a lot of points in the regular season. But the regular season and the playoffs are two very different things.

The absence of Sergei Fedorov was a problem, but not the main one. When Seryozha left the Capitals I said that the team would have issues. They signed Morrison and Knuble, but Sergey is a different player. And you can’t say that the former Canuck Morrison is a star.

Washington did not have a good centerman. Backstrom is not too bad, especially in the regular season, he helped Ovechkin, but Montreal played very skillfully against them. Ovechkin in a couple of games did not have a single shot on goal.

I think, the Capitals need a winger as well. Viktor Kozlov, for example, would be helpful in the season and even more in the playoffs.

With the recent revelations that Nicklas Backstrom dislocated his shoulder in Game 3, Victor’s comments don’t seem too out of line. But what do you think? After reading what he said, do you agree? What do the Capitals need to do next year to improve at center? Was being without Sergei Fedorov this year a major detriment to the team? Discuss below, RMNB’ers!

  • FedFed

    My comments:
    “[Backstrom] earned a lot of points in the regular season. But regular season and playoffs are very different things.”
    Really, Backstrom was one of the best on our team.

    “Absence of Fedorov was the problem, but not the main one.”
    It wasn’t the problem at all, Belanger was very-very good. Noticed that name “Belanger” wasn’t even mentioned.

    “When Seryozha moved out of the Caps I said that they will get problems.”
    Caps hadn’t problems with Fedorov?

    “I think, Capitals would need the winger as well. Kozlov, for example, would be helpful in the season and even more in the playoffs.”
    Kozlov NOW is better than Laich? Maybe Fehr? Or Knuble? No?


    Russian bias. I don’t like his opinion of Backstrom. That said, he is right about the Caps lacking a second line forward.

  • Bela

    Whoa, I did not know Sergey’s Fedorov dad was an honored coach, do not even remember it mentioned much as I was growing up in Russia. Even if so, of course he’s entitled to his point of view, but when did he become an expert on Capitals? A little confused why Caps did not get the Cup two seasons in a row with a former super star Fedorov and winger Kozlov in the line up. Oh and not to change the subject, especially confused why team Russia lost so badly to team Canada with both super Fedorov and winger Kozlov in the line up. Bias it is.

  • I’m going to go ahead and say this guy *might* be just a tad biased. I mean, he’s pretty much saying that son’s absence from the team was the biggest issue that caused them to lose the series. I don’t agree. I do agree though that throughout the season there were issues figuring out the right center for Semin’s line, and I don’t think they ever found a solution that worked as well and consistently as it should.

    Also, Backstrom is amazing, so I can’t really take anyone that is going to undercut his talent and abilities seriously.

  • Gary

    I agree and disagree. I am one of the few who think Fedorov would have helped the team this post-season. I wouldn’t figure Feds getting many minutes, but the composure that comes from a veteran presence on the bench, and a trusted mentor for our young Russian stars may have been enough to tilt the series our way. That said, in late March, I never would have anticipated the need for a guy like Feds to help us get out of the first round.

    But Backstrom is not too bad? Backstrom’s stats at 22 compare pretty favorably with Feds’ career highs, and Feds was an NHL MVP, 3 time cup winner, and is a sure hall of famer. Feds’ playoff PPG only bested Backstrom’s once in his NHL career. I think there are more than a few teams that wish they had a center as mediocre as Backstrom.

    Obviously, in an ideal world we could have 4 lines of superstars. In a salary cap world, that’s not practical. Morrison isn’t a 2C, but he was also $1.5M a year. Feds made $4M his last year with the Caps.

  • Flying Cloud

    This seems quite cynical, since according to news reports last year he was the one who convinced Fedorov to go play in Siberia and sealed the deal for him. Thanks, Dad. And by the way, you should have a player as good as Backstrom in your dreams.

  • BobbyG

    With all due respect, this “interview” comes across as self-serving, oozing with Russian bias, especially in favor of Fedorov Senior’s son Sergei. And since when did Viktor Fedorov become an expert on the Capitals? Nicklas Backstrom was one of the few consistent shining lights for the Caps in the playoffs.

    IMO one of the main reasons Team Russia failed in the Olympics is that they were so wrapped up in their own RUSSIAN personas, they thought they could get by on reputation and nationality alone. They completely forgot they had to play as a TEAM, The hostility between their KHL players and NHL players plus terrible coaching didn’t help either, and ultimately sealed their fate.

  • Hittman

    It would be nice to have a 2nd line center with as much poise as Backstrom. Gustavson? One of the things the Pens have going for them is 3 great centers. Always. Strength down the middle is key to a balanced attack. Belanger methinks is a little small, Stecks can’t produce much offense, Gordon is a closet winger, Laich ditto, Morrison will not be back…look for GMGM to bring in a 2nd and maybe even a 3rd line center. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big name come in, maybe Spezza or Thornton, in exchange for Semin or some prospects.