You said there was no litmus test, but then you provided one. Your litmus test is: "A guy should get his number retired (or get into the HHOF) if nobody argues about it." But not everyone is Gretzky, Yzerman, or Lidstrom, and there are people in the HHOF (and with retired numbers around the league) where people did debate it.
That's kind of the point. These are honors for the best of the best. Who wants to be part of a HOF that includes scrubs that got in on a technicality. (Well, he did win 300 games, so I guess he should get in.) Where is the honor in that? It's the HOF/Jersey retirement, not a participation ribbon.
Dino Ciccarelli is one of my favorite all-time players. I have a signed North Stars puck from him in my basement. Yet, as a 600-goal scorer, he couldn't get into the HHOF until 2010, and none of his 5 teams (to my knowledge, have retired his number). That there was "debate" about Ciccarelli (or about Sawchuk's #1 retirement) doesn't make him any less deserving of the honor - you either are or you aren't.
Because he's your favorite player doesn't necessarily mean he needs to be in the HOF or have his jersey retired, Lot's of people like Darren McCarty, but noone is advocating for him to get in or get a jersey retired. If the total package is there for enshrinement, then absolutely get them in there. It's one of those situations though where if there is enough sentiment against, or you have to fight really hard to defend the selection, then you're not really dealing with the best of the best. You're dealing with "pretty good."
The bottom line about the Fedorov haters is this: They believe, rightly or wrongly, don't believe that that he cares about them or the honor of wearing the Winged Wheel. A lot of that has to do with the Russian thing, but that's not the only reason.
Or, it could be people just don't see enough there to qualify him for the honor. Do you think Ozzie should have his jersey retired? I mean, he has so many wins and playoff wins, and Cups, right? I know there are people that want this to happen, but it's just not logical. At the end of the day, these honors should be reserved for the Yzermans, Howes, Orrs, Lidstroms, Gretzkys, Richards, Roys. That's a hard club to crack, but it should be.