This post is for those of us who are eyeing the all-too-rapid approach of the wrong side of 35 with more than a little trepidation. Still haven’t gotten that big payday? That 401(k) looking a little skimpy? If only there were some way to line one’s pockets with gold before heading off into retirement…
Never fear. Just find a way to work for the Washington Capitals. Put in one solid month, a month that will have people saying: “That guy is working like he’s 25! What an engine of productivity!” At least, that’s the lesson I draw from the fact that 39-year-old Sergei Fedorov has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Capitals. For $4 MILLION.
This is the same Sergei Fedorov who spent the first five months of last season in Columbus, looking as if he had already retired in the summer of 2007 and just forgot to send the papers into the league. If Ken Hitchcock were prone to giving corporate-style performance reviews, Sergei’s might have said something like “We know Sergei can be a world-class performer, but lately he appears somewhat disinterested. Improved focus would help him regain top form.”
In some sense, it’s hard to blame him for coasting. He’s got Cup Rings and Hart Trophys, has bedded the world’s top starlets, and has earned many millions of dollars. Plus, he was in Columbus.
But a deadline deal that sent him to Washington, where he got a dose of OvieTime. It had him playing like he was, if not quite 25 again, at least a decently robust 35 rather than 39-going-on-80. But is a month or so of vigor worth $4 million? When it’s December 15, and Jose Theodore has another 5-goal game, who’s to say that Sergei won’t start dreaming of his retirement dacha on the Black Sea again? And start hanging around the red line, waiting for the next line change?
Hell, if the Kings don’t step up pretty soon, someone tell George McPhee I’m available as a free agent. I’ll hang around the red line for league minimum, and I don’t even have the cachet to snag any hot Russian tennis players that happen by the rink, so the guys will love me. (I’ve also been told I’m great in the locker room, but considering it was just me and Coach Duggan in there at the time, and there wasn’t a game that day, I’m not sure it means the same thing.) And my 401(k) could use a little boost.