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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Older, Wiser Fedorov Still Shining

DETROIT Ч Sergei Fedorov has won two Stanley Cups and is one of the most gifted and graceful ice hockey players in the world.

Since defecting a decade ago from the former Soviet Union, where he remembers having to wait hours for gasoline, he has earned more than $30 million, donated more than $2 million to charity and chosen to share his home with his parents and brother.

Yet, the Detroit Red Wings star might be getting just as much attention because of his girlfriend Ч Anna Kournikova.

"People can keep talking about us because theyТre doing a great job," Fedorov, 31, said grinning. "You can go to the Internet and find everything you need."

When the 19-year-old tennis player isnТt traveling around the world to tournaments, she often spends time in the Detroit area with Fedorov.

"You can usually tell when sheТs around because he has an extra bounce in his step," said DetroitТs Darren McCarty. "The other day he had two goals, and one was the game winner, when she was here."

Kournikova has attended many games in recent years, but the couple have always have been reluctant to talk about their relationship, especially when reports circulated last year linking Kournikova with Pavel Bure of the Florida Panthers, a childhood teammate of FedorovТs.

"People on television would say things and people would write things that werenТt true and that used to bother me," Fedorov said. "Now, IТm in a position to laugh at those people because they didnТt think it would work out, and it has worked out for the best for both of us."

Many other things seem to be working out for Fedorov lately.

HeТs leading Detroit with 27 goals and 57 points and is playing as well as he has in 1993-94, when he was the leagueТs most valuable player.

The center played in the All-Star game this season for the first time since 1996, and during the skills competition, his shot was timed at 160 kilometers per hour.

"It meant a lot to me to be All-Star," Fedorov said. "I didnТt feel like, `Yeah, IТm back,Т because I never left in my mind."

Fedorov registered only 62 and 63 points the past two seasons, a big drop from his 56-goal, 120-point season in 1993-94.

Coaches, teammates and opponents believe Fedorov is playing as well as ever.

When Fedorov scored the game-winning goal against Anaheim a month ago, Detroit coach Scotty Bowman was impressed, which doesnТt happen often.

"ItТs the best game he ever played for me," Bowman said.

Columbus coach Dave King also has noticed FedorovТs improved play.

"HeТs playing more aggressive, which is helping him play to his awesome potential," King said. "When heТs playing like he has been lately, itТs tough for any team to slow him down."

Dallas Stars president Jim Lites, who was an executive with the Red Wings at the time, wonТt forget meeting Fedorov for the first time. It was after Fedorov had defected in July 1990, while the Soviet team was in Portland, Oregon, to prepare for the Goodwill Games.

"He looked incredibly confident from the moment I walked into the hotel," Lites said. "Even as a 20-year-old kid, he had seemed unshakable beyond his years."

He might have been calm on the outside, but he wasnТt on the inside.

"It was a smooth plane ride, but it was scary in my head," Fedorov said.

He became a U.S. citizen this winter because he said it was a natural thing to do after living here for more than 10 years.

Fedorov shook his head in amazement when he reflected on how far he has come since leaving his country and his family, not knowing if he would see them again, to chase his dream of playing in the NHL.

"ItТs a scary thought," he said.