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[VIDEO] Alexander Mogilny: The Lost Shifts (A Look Back at Another Tremendous Former-Canuck)


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#1 WeatherWise

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

Due to the positive reception to my close analysis of Pavel Bure, I have decided to produce a spin-off instalment in which we focus our attention on another Russian hockey superstar -- his former-linemate, Alexander Mogilny. This is, in part, due to the lack of footage online of him, and in part because recollections of his game have seemingly been lost with time.

While hockey fans are well aware of, and quite familiar with some of the sport’s greatest all-time players, some players have become relatively obscure and mysterious once retiring from the NHL. Details about these players’ abilities, their styles of play, and their once-renowned presence in the hockey world have rarely been discussed, and it seems as time passes, more becomes forgotten; Alex Mogilny has unfortunately been a victim of this. He retired under unfortunate circumstances, buried in the AHL in the midst of the 2005-06 season and finishing his career with the New Jersey Devils’ minor-league affiliate. Throughout the majority of his career, however, Mogilny proved he could at times be a dominant force against opposing teams. He scored 76 goals in his fourth NHL season to tie for the league lead in scoring, became the first ever European NHL captain, was named to six NHL All-Star games, is a member of the Triple Gold Club, and became the second ever Russian player to reach the 1000-point mark in 2004.

Despite his accomplishments, though, there seems to be much curiosity now about what made Mogilny so effective; strangely, little is heard about him from fans of the Sabres, Devils, Leafs, or Canucks. In many discussions today, Mogilny has fallen under the radar, and many have difficulty recalling exact details about his style of play. Some have only identified him as a gifted skater who could score goals and make plays, but the specifics have been lost by many. Canucks fans recall little of him, and there is little discussion ever about his years in Vancouver. It is remarkable to see that Mogilny is the least discussed of the former-Soviet trio featuring Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, and himself; more surprising is the lack of footage online to educate and remind fans of what made him unique.

To answer several questions and provide a clear understanding of exactly what kind of player he was, I have compiled a footage reel featuring shifts from five NHL games featuring Alexander Mogilny from between 1993 and 2000. This footage includes many regular shifts in which he did not score goals, as well as goal highlights, breakout plays, physical plays, and demonstrations of immense creativity, structure, and control.



Footage was primarily taken from games against Colorado, Florida, and New Jersey; select highlights were taken from a game against Detroit and one against Calgary, however, to highlight successful goal scoring-attempts and to emphasize certain points. Below are the games from which footage was used:

February 24, 1993 vs. the Detroit Red Wings (to highlight how he scored goals)
April 27, 1994 vs. the New Jersey Devils
April 22, 1996 vs the Colorado Avalanche
October 5, 1996 vs. the Calgary Flames
April 13, 2000 vs. the Florida Panthers

Alexander Mogilny was, by all accounts, a sniper, scoring many goals using either his tremendous slap shot or quick wrist shot to blast the puck by the goaltender. He had a magnificent shot, accomplishing a shooting percentage of 20% or above twice during his career while averaging fewer than 300 shots per season. In addition, Mogilny often worked behind the opposition’s net and at the right half-wall, controlling the play and presenting a commanding presence once his teammates had established themselves in the offensive zone. Once established, he would roam throughout the lower half of the offensive zone, often sneaking into the slot for a one-timer if the puck was on the left side, behind the net to make a play, or sometimes parking beside the crease for a tap-in. He was a calculated positional player, and would sometimes generate a sneaky scoring chance from behind the net by skating out front and pulling the puck on his backhand.

Alex was also strong on his skates and had incredible balance. Consequently, he could control the puck well from behind the net or skate into traffic to retrieve the puck. Often, he would be challenged by opposing defenders, forcing him to play a physical and rough style involving much pushing along the boards, behind the net, and at times in the crease. In the footage, he is seen at times involving himself with Adam Foote and Scott Stevens. He was a physical player, and was unafraid to use his body to protect the puck. Furthermore, he would always finish his check.

Mogilny’s vision was remarkable, and he possessed the uncanny ability to perform quick, difficult passes; furthermore, he could remain quite calm while in control of the play, and had a poise to his game that kept opponents guessing. He would not hesitate to attempt a cross-ice pass or to pass back-and-forth with a teammate until a scoring chance became apparent. Due to this patience, he would regularly evaluate when to shoot and when to pass, taking full advantage of his situation.

His stick handling skills were excellent, and his skating was above average. While he was not as explosive a skater as Bure, Mogilny’s tremendous agility allowed him to navigate smoothly throughout the open ice. His speed was also quite admirable. As a result, when carrying the puck into the offensive zone, he could frequently cut across the slot or maneuver into an open space to unleash his shot. Occasionally, though, he would catch the opponent unprepared, and would swiftly stickhandle through the defender. His hands allowed him to take advantage of his breakaways, regardless of whether he took a shot or backhanded the puck.

Defensively, he often remained at the right boards to provide an outlet for his defenders, and would fixate on guarding the point when defending in his own zone; on breakouts, he would rely on his teammates to provide him with a pass either as he left the defensive zone or as he rushed up neutral ice. His ability to send pucks across the ice, however, was quite useful when his team needed to transition quickly.

Alexander Mogilny, for the most part, was a very structured, calculated player, utilizing his patience, physicality, and creative passing plays to generate offense. Offensively, Alex often drifted within a designated area in the offensive zone and would rely particularly on plays from the right side and behind the net; his anticipation, meanwhile, permitted him to retrieve loose pucks and create second opportunities from behind the opposing net. He utilized his shot and side-to-side movement, as well as sneaky tactics to generate chances and would generally return to a number of preferred locations in the offensive zone if he was out of position. If he was freewheeling, however, Mogilny’s skill set allowed him to at times perform remarkable feats with the puck.

Without question, he was a different type of player from his two former-Soviet linemates. It is unfortunate, however, that more details about him have been forgotten than those of Bure and Fedorov. Though Mogilny’s game may not be as exhilarating as Pavel’s or as defensively-slick as Sergei’s, his presence as an intuitive, physical, creative sniper and playmaker should be recalled with fondness by fans of the former 76-goal scorer and Russian hockey legend.

Edited by WeatherWise, 01 October 2012 - 08:10 AM.

The greatest segue into a weather segment.

#2 VanCityScout

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:16 AM

was a great time

#3 BuretoMogilny

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:23 AM

Alot of people ragged on him in his time here, but forget he score 55 goals his first season here and 31 the next, was better than a point per game player with the nucks (unfortunately injured quite a bit during his time in van).

However, I believe when his play dropped off, alot had to do with his supporting cast. In the last couple of years in Van, I had season tickets and to this day, I still remember the many times you would see him bursting out of the zone waiting for the headman from our dmen only to never see it. I remember seeing him frustrated, banging his stick against the glass on numerous occasions because the puck was just not getting out...

Had we had a dman who could move the puck and some real center men, he would have continued his damage in the city. He was a terrific player and good guy as well. In fact shared a drink at the shark club with him.

Edited by BuretoMogilny, 01 October 2012 - 09:24 AM.


#4 Bite me Burr

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:57 AM

I appreciated him before, during and after his time as a Canuck.

He was an amazing talent.

*Who remember the front page of the Province paper reading, try not to salivate on this. It showed the 3 jersies, Bure Linden and Mogilny?

And the roster backing them was pretty rough and loaded with character guys, for a while...

Edited by Jim Lahey, 01 October 2012 - 09:58 AM.

CHARACTER AND TOUGHNESS

#5 Bite me Burr

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:59 AM

Alot of people ragged on him in his time here,

I remember seeing him frustrated, banging his stick against the glass on numerous occasions because the puck was just not getting out...

Had we had a dman who could move the puck and some real center men, he would have continued his damage in the city. He was a terrific player and good guy as well. In fact shared a drink at the shark club with him.

totally, right?!
ya buddy! That was tough to watch, a waste. Like Rick Nash or Sundin.
CHARACTER AND TOUGHNESS

#6 Wheels22

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:27 AM

This was great!

After seeing this and the Bure video.. I'm going to have request a Dave Babych video!

#7 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:55 AM

After being traded by the Sabres he played like he wanted to prove himself and that the Sabres made a big mistake.

But after that first dominant season he realized that the supporting cast was not here and he merely showed up to collect the paychecks. Can't blame him entirely, but the majority of his time as a Canuck was forgettable. Probably because the entire team at that time was forgettable too.

Like Kovalev and Semin, Mogilny is a severely underrated talent, but there's a reason why you don't build teams around these kinda guys.
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#8 ajhockey

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:58 AM

Had we had a dman who could move the puck and some real center men, he would have continued his damage in the city. He was a terrific player and good guy as well. In fact shared a drink at the shark club with him.


I didn't watch during those days, but wasn't Lumme a good puck-moving d-man?

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#9 ChuckNORRIS4Cup

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

Not on the Canucks Current roster according to the Mods here, if the player isn't on the Canucks current roster their topics get locked, just a heads up. I did one for Cliff Ronning, you never see Cliff Ronning threads on here, but I did one and it gets locked because he isn't on the Canucks current roster, go figure.

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#10 uber_pwnzor

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:19 PM

Mogilny - Fedorov - Bure

What an amazing line that must have been, too bad I never got to see them play together :(

#11 hudson bay rules

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:36 PM

More talented than Bure IMO.
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#12 Deets

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:19 PM

More talented than Bure IMO.


More well rounded then Bure sure. Still, I don't think there has been another player as explosive in offence as Bure was. For what he did, he was the best.

#13 TheAce

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:11 PM

Mogilny - Fedorov - Bure

What an amazing line that must have been, too bad I never got to see them play together :(




#14 Bleed Blue and Green

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:06 PM

What a time to be alive. I remember Mogilny putting the team on his back when Bure was injured. It's too bad they didn't play together for long in Vancouver. Anyone have highlights of Mogilny and Bure together in black, red, yellow?

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#15 kmotamed

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:39 AM

I never realized till I saw this video how that Naslund probably owes a lot of his development to Mogilny... I've always been a fan of Al-Mo, even had his skate jersey in white i got from Sportcheck back in the day. To me he is to Bure what Lemieux was to Gretzky. Always in the "bigger" guys shadow but arguably just as good. Anyone who doesn't put Alex Mogilny on the Canucks all time roster, is a fool.

#16 hudson bay rules

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:40 AM

More well rounded then Bure sure. Still, I don't think there has been another player as explosive in offence as Bure was. For what he did, he was the best.


Mogilny's point stats are just as good as Bure's and he actually used the players on his team more so than Bure. Bure was more electrifying but Mogilny was better
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#17 gurn

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

Mogilny had more talent.
Bure did more with his.

Keep in mind that Mogilny had fear of flying and being moved to a west coast team probably affected his play.

#18 Zissou

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:12 AM

Wow, that power play unit. Mogilny, Bure, Naslund, Linden, Lumme.

#19 hudson bay rules

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

Mogilny had more talent.
Bure did more with his.

Keep in mind that Mogilny had fear of flying and being moved to a west coast team probably affected his play.


Liked Mogilny's sense of humour too


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#20 infinitecarnage

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:25 AM

Wow, that power play unit. Mogilny, Bure, Naslund, Linden, Lumme.


the player who's wearing #10 on that power play is Esa Tikkanen. not only Bure didn't play in the '96 playoffs because of the season ending injury, but also he changed his number from 10 to 96 at the start of the season

Edited by infinitecarnage, 02 October 2012 - 12:05 PM.

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#21 Hockey Fever

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:14 PM

Yeah he was a great player, as for the video highlights i felt like it was more of a Brodeur/Roy highlight package than Mogilny, but still fun to watch.

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#22 Rick Rypien

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:33 PM

Being born in 94 and not getting to see these guys play night in night out, I appreciate it! Great work man, keep it up!
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#23 Edge

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:37 PM

I forgot the Naslund wore #22 for a time. Great compilation video. Next up, Larionov please. ( oh yeah, flying skate jersey still the best )

#24 Shoot the Puck!!!!

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:19 PM

Saw him at 8 rinks just after NJ won the Stanley Cup. Nice guy.

I agree, he was a more all round player than Bure.

Sure woulda been nice to see the two of them together(healthier) longer.

Mogilny lit it up every contract year.

#25 Grapefruits

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:20 PM

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Who wins?

Edited by zero-ONE-three, 03 October 2012 - 02:20 PM.

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#26 Lancaster

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 05:15 PM

I remember Larschied saying that Mogilny was actually faster or quicker than Bure. I guess Pavel with the quick acceleration and Alex with being more shifty.

Mogilny is the type of player that brings your team to the next level, but not really a player to build your team around (a la Fedorov).

That being said, it was a shame he was on the Canucks during the dark days of Keenan and Messier. Just the year previous, it was him, Linden and Hirsch basically carrying the Canucks to go toe-to-toe with the stacked Avalanche team. Probably would have won had they had Bure in the lineup.

#27 Lemieux

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 09:35 PM

Mogilny was the ultimate goal-suck. Would never go back to his own zone. Always try to hover and get that breakaway pass. His tenure here made the team so horrible to watch. Russians need to stay where they belong.
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#28 gurn

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:41 PM

After all the discrimination of the french, your username talks about Russians?

#29 Grapefruits

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:46 PM

Mogilny was the ultimate goal-suck. Would never go back to his own zone. Always try to hover and get that breakaway pass. His tenure here made the team so horrible to watch. Russians need to stay where they belong.


After all the discrimination of the french, your username talks about Russians?


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#30 Zissou

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

Mogilny had more talent.
Bure did more with his.

Keep in mind that Mogilny had fear of flying and being moved to a west coast team probably affected his play.


He also had some off ice problems after his defection from the USSR.

96 was the first year I started watching the Canucks (5 years old) and I quickly became a huge Mogilny fan (I've got a black skate Mogilny jersey.) I'm in a Political Science class at university that is about organized crime. Mogilny's name actually came up in one of the lectures:

"In the 1990s, a number of Russian players in the NHL were forced to pay the Moscow underworld protection money for their families back home. One unidentified Russian player was quoted as saying: “Russian players aren’t safe anywhere in the world. The Russian Mafia leaders are in league with the former directors of the Communist party. They have all the contacts and control all the channels”1. A good example of this is the case of Alexander Mogilny.

Alexander Mogilny was the first Russian hockey player to defect from Russia to play in the NHL. He also became the first Soviet player in the NHL to reportedly be hit with extortion demands. Mogilny’s story started when he met Sergei Fomitchev at a hockey World Championship in Sweden in 1989. Mogilny talked about the possibility of playing for the Buffalo Sabres in the West. Fomitchev helped with Mogilny’s plan to escape from USSR. A couple of days later, Fomitchev had hidden Mogilny in a hotel, while his wife, fluent in English, called the Buffalo Sabres, who had drafted his rights. Things started off well enough in America for both of them. Mogilny gave Fomitchev half of his $150,000 signing bonus and the Sabres hired Fomitchev to live, travel and translate for the young star. Fomitchev kept hanging around, trying to trade on their association to meet other hockey players. However, Fomtitchev had never been able to build from that, while Mogilny went on to become a star, wearing number 89 to celebrate the year of his freedom.

Problems began for Mogilny when in March 1994 Fomitchev threatened the hockey player for money. Fomitchev wanted $150,000, but the hockey star refused. Mogilny later testified in court that the reason Fomitchev had to ask for money was that “he blamed me for ruining his life… and asked for money” 1.

During the trial, Fomitchev admitted to having said, “In your sport, your legs are very important.” Mogilny recalled him asking: “How would you feel if someone stabbed you in your legs or shot you in the back?” Thus, Fomitchev pleaded guilty and served two months in an Erie County jail in Buffalo. He also pleaded guilty to charges of visa fraud and the immigration judge ordered him deported 2
."

Obviously that only focuses on his time in Buffalo, but I'm sure some of that followed him to Vancouver.

Thought some of you guys might be interested. I had no idea about any of that until I too this class.

Edited by Zissou, 05 October 2012 - 10:05 AM.





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