WOW! In Detroit Red Wings Winter Classic Alumni roster news, the team has confirmed that four of the Russian Five will be joining the team to participate in the Alumni game.
There have already been MANY big names confirmed to play with both the Red Wings and Maple Leafs that they have divided the game into two games and 4 total teams. Scotty Bowman was confirmed to be the coach of one of the two Red Wings teams just last week.
A few more players have been rumored to be joining that I’m sure everyone would love to see but have not confirmed, Steve Yzerman being the main point of interest, however he has not skated since he retired following the 2005-06 season, so no one is sure if he will participate or not.
But this announcement of Sergei Fedorov returning to Detroit to wear the winged wheel again after a decade away from the franchise that took him to Anaheim, Washington, Columbus and Moscow is exciting.
Despite what side you take on the “Sergei is a jerk for leaving/Holland is a jerk for not resigning him” argument, this is great news. Fedorov was one of the most dominant players of the 90’s and one of the top 2 or 3 reasons the Red Wings were able to win the Stanley Cup in 97 and 98.
He was a fantastic two way player when that was almost unheard of and was the motivation Scotty Bowman used to get Steve Yzerman to transform from a scoring forward to a two-way player and Cup winning captain he became.
Igor Larionov had previously been confirmed and as the ambassador for Russian defectors to the NHL in the late 80’s and a current player agent in the NHL, “the Professor” was highly skilled and I assume will still have that vision on the ice and look forward to some fancy passing from him.
Viacheslav Fetisov was an elder statesman while playing for the Red Wings, after a long and fantastic career that started with the Soviet Army team that lost to the 1980 US Hockey team, he finished up his career as a Cup winner in Detroit.
Perhaps more amazing is the mention of Valdimir Konstantinov joining the game. In what capacity the press release isn’t clear and even though he has been making progress since the post cup winning party car crash in 1997 that has confined him to a wheel chair and is more functional than ever, more than an appearance from Konstantinov is probably unlikely.
The Winter Classic is being split up a bit this year with festivities in Detroit at Comerica Park and the NHL game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Each site will receive one of the alumni games, which one goes where is not confirmed yet but with this roster, being able to watch either one should be exciting.
Here is a list of confirmed Red Wings so far: