The Detroit Red Wings won another playoff series and Sergei Fedorov won a huge payday.
Detroit's star center earned a $12 million bonus for helping his team advance to the Western Conference finals. He played a supporting role in the Red Wings' 6-1 victory in Game 6 Tuesday night with an assist that gave him 15 points, one point behind teammate Steve Yzerman for the playoffs lead.Fedorov said the bonus was a big deal only in the media.
"You can't control what people make out of things," Fedorov said. "I focused on my hockey. I don't feel anything at all about it right now."
Coach Scotty Bowman said Fedorov's bonus was a non-factor in the dressing room throughout the series.
"We didn't even talk about it," Bowman said. "It's something I would prefer not be in the media. Our players knew he'd help us in this series."
Fedorov had two goals and four assists in the Blues series after getting six goals and three assists in the first round against Phoenix. He was at his best in Game 4 with two goals and an assist in the third period as the Red Wings pulled away for a 5-2 victory in St. Louis.
"We're just glad he's here," said Martin Lapointe, who had two goals in Game 6.
It looked like Fedorov might not be coming back to Detroit this season. After missing the first 59 games because of a contract dispute, he returned to Detroit only after the Red Wings matched an offer the free agent received from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Fedorov got $14 million when he signed. He didn't have to worry about getting the $12 million no matter the outcome of the playoffs. The bonus would have been paid out over the next four years, instead of immediately, if the Red Wings had lost.