Saturday, July 19, 2003

More Sergei drama

Apparently, Sergei had a short press conference in the Sovetsky Sport office in Moscow yesterday. Based on the comments he made there, it doesn't look like he'll be back next year. For now, there is only a Russian version of the conference but somone on the message board I got this from translated one of Sergei's answers. Q. Will you be back in Detroit? S.F. Those of you who follow hockey know that I am not doing really well in Detroit. I don't want to burn the bridges but to return back to Detroit will be pretty hard. I have many offers from various teams. What will be the most important factor? You know, technical side of the contract does not bother me. Length of the contract - yes, I want it to be long term. Money? It is only like a bonus, reward for the hard work on ice. The most important - I want to play the game the way I can, not the way I was asked to play in Detroit. I still have strength to play at the level of the year of 1994. This is my dream. Unfortunately, in todays Detroit I cannot play like that - the team game is different now. I had hopes that I will become the franchise player, I think I deserved it with my game, but the management do not understand my position. That is why I get hot and then all of a sudden I go to scoring slumps and nobody understands what is going on. Doesn't sound to me like Sergei's looking to come back to Detroit. He makes it out like it's such a terrible thing to be a team player and play within the system, a system that is a heck of a lot more offensive than a lot of teams'. What does Sergei think the franchise player is? My definition would be the player that best fulfils the requirements of the organization and their system while leading the team. That's why Steve Yzerman has been the franchise player for so long, even if he cannot do everything like he used to. He still is something Sergei will never be -- a leader. If Sergei's idea of a franchise player is the one who is the only talent on the team, he should go somewhere else. His definition may work for most of the teams around the league but it doesn't work in Detroit. He should realize that Detroit is the best place for him, his best shot at greatness and the only reason he has turned in to the player he is. He should thank the Wings for making him a defensive player because that is the way the league is going. He is a much more well-rounded player than he ever would have been on another team. I hope Sergei comes back but suddenly, it isn't looking too good. I don't know how much we can trust this Sovetsky Sport magazine. Based on what's happened in the past, Russian sports magazines haven't been very creditable and this one is probably no different. However, these comments seem like something Sergei would have said, though perhaps they are just more negotiation ploys aimed at getting the Wings to pay more. Pretty strange strategy, if that's what it is. Maybe the fact that the Western media hasn't picked up on this yet can be considered encouraging. If you can read Russian and want to see what Sergei said for yourself, go here.


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