Fedorov a well-fitted Jacket

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Sergei Fedorov has spent most of this season in a state of discomfort.

First, he suffered a nasty groin injury that kept him out of all but five games as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

As soon as the former Detroit Red Wings star returned to the ice, he was shipped off to a new team -- the Columbus Blue Jackets -- his third in as many seasons.

Joining a new team is strenuous in the best of times but Fedorov went to Columbus during a period of disarray, when the Blue Jackets starting lineup seemed to be different every night and often featured as many callups as veterans.

"When I came in my feelings were, 'Wow, there's so many guys coming from the farm club, up and down almost every other day,' " recalled Fedorov, who joined the Jackets in the middle of November during their downward spiral.

"To me it was a distraction, for all of us.

"I'm not saying they played poorly, those guys that came up but they definitely made a mistake or two that cost us goals and it was grinding even harder on our minds."

Ultimately, the 36-year-old Russian accepted the situation and decided to try and help pull the team together.

"I thought to myself, 'Man, we've just got to play with what we have -- two lines, three lines, three-and-a-half lines, it doesn't matter,' " Fedorov said.

"It's kind of worked out a little bit better and better when everybody realizes they're part of this team, they're very important to the organization. There's much more positive kind of ideas floating around."

Only now is Fedorov starting to feel comfortable in his new environment as, he says, a much healthier Blue Jackets team continues to form an identity.

"We have a few things to work on," he said.

"It's a learning process."

Fedorov's statistics have improved since Rick Nash returned to the lineup in December.

The top line of Nash, Fedorov and fellow Russian Nikolai Zherdev has amassed 22 goals and 58 points in 21 games but the veteran's numbers -- five goals and 19 assists in 39 games -- are far from his career highs.

Flames sparkplug Darren McCarty, a former teammate of Fedorov's from Detroit, said he can see the Russian's confidence returning.

"He might not have the goals but you watch him on TV now and you see him, he's got that sort of jump back," said McCarty yesterday, adding the former Selke Trophy winner has always been about more than goals and assists.

Nash also appreciates what one of his idols brings to the relatively young team.

"He's been a great guy off the ice and on the ice," said Nash.

"He's won championships. He knows what it takes."


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