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Columbus Blue Jackets centre Sergei Fedorov playing great at 37

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Columbus Blue Jackets centre Sergei Fedorov playing great at 37

The Canadian Press
By:

And it shows on the ice where the veteran centre has 28 points (13-15) in 34 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets. How much longer he wants to play, however, isn't clear. His current deal, which pays him US$6.08 million per season, expires in the summer of 2008 and after that all bets are off.

"I have one more year on the contract and after that I don't really know," Fedorov said Thursday. "Hopefully physically if I feel fit and mentally I wanted to play, I think I might play one more year. But that's not really certain at all."

What he does know for sure is that he won't follow in the paths of retired greats such as Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and former Detroit Red Wings teammate Steve Yzerman and take a front-office job. It's not for him.

"I don't see myself doing anything with hockey," Fedorov said from Anaheim, where the Jackets play Friday night. "Basically I've been in such a regime for more than 20 years already, I just want to take a year or two off, slow down and really find out a bit more about myself, find out where my interests lie."

Right now his interests are focused on getting the Blue Jackets back in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. Fedorov and the team have been re-energized by the hiring of head coach Ken Hitchcock. Fedorov had seven points (3-4) in 14 games to start the season but 21 points (10-11) in 20 games since Hitchcock took over.

"With Hitch's arrival, things have stabilized," said Fedorov, lauding Hitchcock's system.

The rap on Fedorov over the years is that he plays only when he feels like it but Hitchcock hasn't seen that.

"My experience so far is that he's been competitive," Hitchcock said Thursday. "And that's what you're looking for in older players. I think when a player is 35, 36, 37, he's not going to be the player he once was, that's impossible.

"All you want him to do is compete and he's competed pretty hard so far."

Fedorov's influence will go a long way in helping to mould younger stars such as Rick Nash and Nikolai Zherdev.

"The problem a team has is when the older players don't play hard, it sets the wrong tone for the team," said Hitchcock. "And so far he's competed at a high level. That's what has helped us win hockey games."

Hitchcock has Fedorov playing more than 20 minutes a game in all key situations and the Russian star likes it.

"I'm feeling good physically," said Fedorov. "I try to look after myself and make sure I'm fit. The game I'm playing at both ends of the ice requires a lot of skating. The game got faster and faster with the change of rules. So I try to do some extra workouts whenever I can."

It's the happiest he's been in a few years.

"For me, it's been a pretty good working atmosphere, much like it was in Detroit," said Fedorov.

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Columbus Blue Jackets centre Sergei Fedorov playing great at 37