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It certainly was a messy divorce, but it appears to be mending.
Sergei Fedorov, one of the most dynamic players in hockey history and a 3-time Stanley Cup champion, bolted from the Detroit Red Wings to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the summer of 2003 after 13 years in Hockeytown.
Upon his return to Joe Louis Arena in December of 2003, he was mercilessly booed by the Red Wings faithful every time he touched the puck, and was viewed as an enemy.
It wasn't all smooth sailing during his time in the Winged Wheel, either. Fedorov had also nearly left shortly after Detroit's 1997 Stanley Cup win when he signed a major offer-sheet from the Carolina Hurricanes that was soon matched.
But in recent years, the fractured relationship between Fedorov and the Red Wings appears to have healed. He once again donned the Red Wings jersey for the team alumni game prior to the 2014 Winter Classic, as well as 2017 NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game. Both times, he was warmly received by Red Wings fans in the crowd. He also dropped the ceremonial first puck prior to a game against the Washington Capitals in 2015, again to a warm reception.
During a recent interview with The Detroit News, Fedorov explained that he's at peace with the organization.
"I’m really at peace, one way or the other," he said. "It was just an unbelievable time. It was good for everybody – fans, players, management, ownership."
Could Fedorov, who is currently the head coach of the KHL's HC CSKA Moscow, ever join forces with his former lineman in Steve Yzerman in the Detroit front office?
"It’s a great question I can only fantasize about,” Fedorov said. “You never know – that’s the first answer.”
“I don’t want to start any rumors or anything, or put any kind of pressure,” Fedorov said. “But humanly, if we put aside everything else, why not? I would love to."
“I can only say – and not (even) from professional point of view – I would just like to help. If I can help our organization to get better in any way … I’d be glad to do it. In any capacity.”
Of course, Fedorov is happy to see Yzerman back in the city that he cemented himself as one of hockey's greatest players and leaders.
"He’s back where he belongs,” Fedorov said. “Everybody knows that.”