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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Olympics Give Fedorov Opportunity to Perform

NAGANO, Japan -- Once again, Sergei Fedorov is a man with a team.

Since helping the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in June, Fedorov has been out of the NHL because of a contract dispute.

It has meant lonely days skating at empty rinks, trying to maintain the skills that made him the NHL's most valuable player in 1993-94.

The Olympics represent a chance to return to competitive hockey, something he may never again do for the Red Wings.

Fedorov is a late addition to the Russian team, replacing the injured Alexei Kovalev of the New York Rangers.

Realizing the Olympics could be his entire season, Fedorov said he's been working out since December to keep in shape.

"I thought I'd be playing in the NHL, but an opportunity came my way to participate in Nagano," he said Tuesday. "That invitation caught me off-guard. I've been practicing a lot, and I'm in fair shape to participate."

Fedorov's first game since June 6 will be Friday when a Russian team stocked with NHL talent opens final-round play against Belarus.

He carefully considered whether to play in the Olympics for Russia, a country he defected from in 1989. Without an NHL contract, he has no protection in case of injury.

"It took me 12 hours to think it over," he said. "I was working with my agent to purchase insurance."

While some Russian NHL stars refused to play in the Olympics because of conflicts with coaches, Fedorov was not among them.

"The Russian federation made some changes, and we have a different coaching staff," he said. "That's why maybe some players didn't recognize that change and didn't want to have that aggravation. Players who did come will be very satisfied with the management level."

Fedorov's future after the Olympics is uncertain. He is a restricted free agent who wants to be traded. Detroit responded by offering a new deal.

"It's very simple. I'd like to regain my career with the NHL, but I'm not sure how it's going to be done," he said.