January 01, 1998

A Legend Returns

Sergei Fyodorov, legendary 27-year-old hockey forward, slipped away from his Soviet teammates during the Atlanta Goodwill Games in 1990 and never looked back. For the past seven years, he has played with the Detroit Red Wings. During the 1996-1997 season, he, along with the other members of Detroit’s “Russian five” – Kozlov, Konstantinov, Fetisov and Larionov – led the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup victory after a 40-year drought for the team. But during the victory celebration, tragedy struck. The limousine carrying Konstantinov, Fetisov and masseur Mnatsakanov crashed, leaving both Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov in a coma. The driver of the limo was found to have traces of marijuana in his blood and was recently sentenced to nine months in jail.

Now, after a widely publicized contract dispute with the Wings, Fyodorov is back in Russia, currently practicing with Moscow’s CSKA (Red Army) team. With so many great Russian hockey players having emigrated to Canada and the US, the Russian press seized on this event as a miracle, and much has been written about “our Sergei” coming back to play in the motherland.

In an interview with Russia’s most popular sports newspaper Sport-Express, Fyodorov advised Russians not to believe American newspapers, which are presenting his labor dispute in a light favorable to the Red Wings’ owners. In light of these comments, Russian Life sent Associate Editor Anna Hoare to find out Fyodorov’s real views on Russian and American hockey and his future plans. She caught up with him between practice sessions at the Red Army hockey rink on Leningradsky Avenue ...

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