Sergei Fedorov Impresses in Washington Capitals Debut

Marat RyndinContributor IFebruary 29, 2008

Sergei Fedorov looks like he's pretty excited about his trade to the up-and-coming Washington Capitals.

So much so that judging from some of the game photos, he's decided to bring back the old time tradition of playing without a helmet.

OK, not really, but...

Skating on the Caps' second unit between Brooks Laich and fellow Russian Alex Semin, the future Hall of Famer looked like he was 25 again in his debut against the Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey Devils.

A couple of big hits, blocked shots, and a sweet no-look pass on Washington's first goal in a 4-0 road demolition of the Devils has Caps GM George McPhee and coach Bruce Boudreau smiling from ear to ear.

Overall, Fedorov looked like he hasn't lost much in terms of his incredible skating ability.

It just might be that Boudreau's wide-open, aggressive style of play suits his game far more than the defensive-oriented, trapping style of the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team where he was basically relegated to a checking forward.

Heck, Fedorov was immediately inserted into the Capitals' first power play unit and it looked mighty fine right off the bat (or is it stick?), prompting Devils announcer Mike Emrick to rave about the lightning-quick puck movement.

It didn't take long before Devils goalie Marty Brodeur had to fish the puck out of the net after a gorgeous goal. Soon Devils coach Brent Sutter was looking even grimmer than what he looks like when he's happy.

Looks like the Capitals have officially replaced the injured Michael Nylander (out for the season) with a legitimate second-line center who is still a great defensive player, in the top 20 in NHL faceoff winning percentage, and just might be reinvigorated offensively by their wide-open style.

Combined with Fedorov's newly found excitement for playing hockey, this might be good news not just for the Capitals, but also for the NHL as a whole.

With the possible exception of the Carolina Hurricanes.

We know two things.

One, Boudreau's 9-year-old son is loving it, as Sergei is his favorite hockey player.

Two, Theo Ruth can always tell his grandkids that he was traded for Sergei Fedorov, mano-e-mano or tovarisch for tovarisch.