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Fedorov's Late Shifts

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Viktor and Natalia Fedorov unfortunately couldn't make the first two games of the Rangers series to support the Capitals and their favorite player. As their son explained, "they're stuck in Florida on vacation."

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In their son's South Beach home -- "on my money," Sergei Fedorov said, smiling.

The distance didn't stop Viktor from critiquing the performance of his grown child, who turned 39 in December.

Viktor talks about "how I play," Sergei began. "Why I didn't pass, why I didn't shoot. It's not always negative, but overall. He's not necessarily giving me a hard time, but it's funny, you know. Like: 'Dad, come on, this is my 115th year or season. What are you talking about?' "

It's good Sergei's parents and more family members aren't expected to miss more than two games of Washington's run in the Stanley Cup playoffs, Fedorov's 15th in 18 seasons. He knows he's much closer to the end than the beginning now, maybe months away.

"How many more years will you play?" he is asked.

"I think about 15" years, Sergei said, grinning as you laugh.

Seriously, is this it?

"I don't know," Fedorov said. "Maybe. Maybe not. Depends.

"Personally, I hope not. I hope we go all the way here and have a wonderful summer and maybe that will give me a chance to stay for another season or two."

Even then, it's unclear whether he will return. Alex Ovechkin had to persuade his pioneering countryman, one of the first Russian players to defect to the NHL, to put his body through hell one more time. After originally wanting a two-year deal in Washington, Fedorov finally agreed to a one-year contract.

He knows the creases in his forehead are deepening at the same time his speed is declining. Nothing can hide the obvious. Not the chic red ski cap he wore after practice yesterday -- not the Ferrari, not the Maybach, not the European designer jeans and certainly not his tentative Game 1 performance in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers.


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