Russia's NHL Stars Close Tour With Win

The high-octane, high-scoring trio of Alexander Mogilny, Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov led the "Stars of Russia" to a 6-5 win over the CSKA Russian Penguins in the final game of Russia's "Dream Team" exhibition series Monday night.


It was a bittersweet victory for both fans and players. While the fans, including Russian President Boris Yeltsin, cheered loudly for a last-period CSKA rally, they made it clear that the players from the National Hockey League would be missed, offering a standing ovation as the kings of Russian hockey left Luzhniki Stadium.


"It was great to watch," said Yevgeny Mamilov, a 15-year-old hockey fan sporting a San Jose Sharks jersey, "but it makes me sad. Bure, Fedorov and Mogilny are the best I've ever seen, and who knows when is the next time I'll get to see them."


Those three standouts, who played for CSKA before they left for the United States in 1989 and 1990, will head back to the NHL and their high-paying positions when the league's lockout ends. Bure will rejoin Vancouver, whom he helped lead to the Stanley Cup finals. Fedorov will go back to Detroit, where he won the NHL's Most Valuable Player award last year, and Mogilny will go back to icy Buffalo, where two years ago he led the league in goals.


Their performance Monday night left the fans wanting more.


"It was tremendous," said Alexander Grafelnikov, 57, who said he's seen all the best Russian players. "It's a shame that Russia doesn't have the money to keep them here."


The four goals and four assists the trio tallied made a convincing case for the NHLers' intimidating talent.


Mogilny opened the scoring at 1:14 of the first period. Fedorov started the play by stealing the puck in the corner and working a give-and-go with Bure. From just above the face-off circle, Fedorov spotted Mogilny in the right slot about four feet in front of the net.


Faking the goalie to his knees, Fedorov unloaded the pass to Mogilny, who slid it in.


Mogilny added one more goal, Bure scored another, and Fedorov had one goal and two more assists.


The Toronto Maple Leafs' Nikolai Borschevsky -- who played for the Spartak team against the NHL club in the first game of the tour Nov. 4 -- and Alexander Semek of the New Jersey Devils also scored for the Russian stars.


Alexander Samsonov scored first for CSKA. It was a dream come true for the highly touted 16-year-old. His goal came with his idol, Fedorov, on the ice.


"It's very interesting to play with the masters," he said. "I was worried before the game, but I think I did OK," he said. "Of course, I'd love to play with them again."


If scouts are right, Samsonov should get his chance in the NHL.


The return to Russia proved especially poignant for the NHLers during the intermission between the second and third periods. Russian folk singer Alexander Rosenbaum sang two songs dedicated to the players, including a request for the tune "Ducks," saying it was the stars' favorite at restaurants in Brighton Beach, a Russian enclave in New York City. Down on their knees, the players tapped their sticks on the ice in rhythm with his singing.


Just before the start of the third period, Vyachislav Fetisov, the team captain, tournament organizer, and standout defenseman late of the New Jersey Devils, made a speech thanking fans and the Russian government.


"We know many of you were rooting for CSKA, but you used to be our fans," Fetisov said. "We thank you for the celebration you have given us tonight."


The game was moved from CSKA Ice Palace to Luzhniki Stadium, officials said, in order to accommodate more fans. Saturday's Moscow Times incorrectly reported the game as being scheduled for Sunday.


On Friday, the NHL squad on Friday crushed Metallurg Magnitogorsk 11-2, with Fedorov scoring a hat trick and Bure adding two goals, Reuters reported. Also last week, the team lost 5-4 to Torpedo Yaroslavl before recovering to beat Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod 8-3. The side beat Spartak Moscow 5-4 in its first game Nov. 4.