Реклама в Интернет * Все Кулички
nominee Fetisov wins his fight for respect
March 18, 1998
BY HELENE ST. JAMES
Free Press Sports Writer
He won over sneaky Soviet politicians who never wanted him to leave the motherland. He fought for the right to play in the NHL and then battled hostile fans and players who accused him of taking jobs from North Americans.
The Red Wings' Slava Fetisov has been playing hockey since most of his teammates were in diapers. At one time, many considered him the best defenseman in the world.
Fetisov's career speaks miles about his perseverance, which is why the Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated him for the Masterton Trophy, given annually to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."
"I'm happy," he said. "I work all my life with what I love to do. Hockey has been so good to me. All I have now is because of hockey."
Fetisov's career began at age 16 in 1974 with the fabled Central Red Army team. He has won three Olympic medals (two gold and one silver) and played in 11 world championships.
Fetisov joined the New Jersey Devils in 1989, but teammates and fans didn't accept him with open arms. In 1995, the Devils traded him to the Wings for a third-round draft choice.
Even in Detroit, he and Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Fedorov could not escape bias. When the Wings bombed in the playoffs two years ago, some critics zeroed in on the Russians, wondering if the Stanley Cup meant enough to them.
It was never a question to Wings captain Steve Yzerman. After his victory lap around Joe Louis Arena last June, he handed the Cup to Fetisov and Larionov.
NHL fans finally acknowledged Fetisov's greatness -- in what might be his last season -- voting him a starter in this year's All-Star Game. They almost didn't get the chance -- Fetisov, who turns 40 on April 20 -- considered retiring after last summer's limousine accident in which he suffered a damaged knee and punctured lung, and comrades Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov nearly lost their lives.
"Accidents like that, you have no control over," Fetisov said. "I look on the right and see Vladimir's stall all the time, I realize life is going on and you have to enjoy every moment. I was lucky to get out of the situation."
Instead of retiring, Fetisov worked hard to get in shape. And when he is done playing, he wants to help Russia dominate the international hockey scene once again.
"Soon as I finish hockey, I'll try to help the youth hockey programs in Russia," Fetisov said. "I have lots of good stuff, and the kids are struggling now. I will try to help them out. I was fortunate to learn hockey in Soviet hockey school, and it was the best school in the world."
The Masterton award is named for the Minnesota North Stars' Bill Masterton,
who died Jan. 15, 1968, after suffering a head injury in a game. Brad Park
was the only Wing to win the award, in 1983-84.
Страничка Вячеслава Фетисова
на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"