This Tank is Ready
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, October 6, 2007

Islanders left winger Ruslan Fedotenko has heard all the critics say hes not worth the $2.8 million the team will give him this year.

He also hasnt forgotten all the musings most hockey writers have had at his expense over the past few years, calling him everything from an overrated flop to a player who will never develop into the player many though hed be.

However, Fedotenko isnt focused on the past and what people think about his game anymore.

Instead, hes ready to prove to the rest of the NHL just how dominant a player he could be when given a real opportunity.

I just want an opportunity to show what I can do, said Fedotenko, who scored only 12 goals last season. This team is rebuilding and theyre looking for different players to fill some gaps. So far, Ive been really happy with everything that Ive seen here and Im looking forward to getting started.

Coming off a disappointing season last year, after scoring 26 goals in 2006, Fedotenko knows its time to silence all the naysayers. In fact, hes looking forward to getting more ice-time with the Islanders, after failing to find a niche with Tampa Bay last season. Knowing exactly what Ted Nolan wants from him this season; Fedotenko already sees a big change in his confidence after dealing with the often confrontational John Tortorella in Tampa Bay over the past four seasons.

I think Im a perfect fit in this system, said Fedotenko. I had some issues last year on that team [the Lightning], but its all in the past. I think Ill be able to score some goals here. I like to play physical, aggressive hockey and I know Ted Nolan and the organization are going to give me a chance to make plays. Ive scored some big goals during my career and Id love to get a chance to get some more.

Considering how bad things went for the 28-year old last season, Fedotenko is elated the Isles decided to give him an opportunity to get first line ice-time this season. Removed from the powerplay after failing to gel with Brad Richards last year, Fedotenko thinks that his new linemates, Bill Guerin and Mike Comrie, have something to prove just like him.

That he said will be the driving force in his and the teams success this season.

This team is really focused on winning, said Fedotenko. We have some good people in the locker room and we have a great goalie, but we know things arent going to be easy. We know we have something to prove, but were ready to do whatever we to in order to win. Overall, Im really happy with what Im seeing here.

Known for scoring clutch goals, Fedotenko, who scored 12 goals in the Lightnings 2004 run to the Stanley Cup, knows what his role will be with the Isles this season and is intent on doing his job to the best of his ability.

If that means getting some bumps and bruises along the way, hes fine with that.

Nicknamed Tank for his penchant with opposing defensemen saddling his back in front of the net, Fedotenko knows that most of his goals may not wind up on highlight reels, but is ready to light the lamp as much as he can this season.

I can do a lot of different things, but Ill do whatever they need me to, he said. My job is to score goals, regardless of how they come and Im looking forward to getting a chance to prove myself.