[VIDEO] Alexander Mogilny: The Lost Shifts (A Look Back at Another Tremendous Former-Canuck)
Posted 12 October 2012 - 06:41 PM
Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:02 PM
Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:41 PM
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.
Pretting interesting stuff. I remember the Russian Mafia coming up once in awhile in the context of Pavel Bure, but didn't hear that bit about Mogilny.
Alex Mogilny was a very hard working player. For some reason, some people say he never back-checked, etc., but I watched his full tenure as a Canuck, as can say he was very defensively responsible and an obvious team player. Great play-maker, and great shot. Some will tell you he was faster than Pavel Bure, and for sure he was fast, but when the puck was on the stick, nobody was as fast as Bure. He became lightning. He also didn't have the 'edge' that Bure had. Bure played so passionately, and retaliate when necessary. Mogilny was calmer, and not quite as explosive either on the ice or with his emotions.
Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:55 AM
Also a reminder of Brodeur's brilliance...
Thanks for the post!
Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:53 AM
What a gifted player with the puck. I can still picture some of his moves - extremely fast stickhandling in tight situations. Able to adjust speed to the next gear to bypass a defender with inside-outside moves and then a quick release on net.
In 2001-02 playoffs he was just insanely motivated. It was a huge series against the Islanders and Sundin had broken his wrist. He carried the team in his absesnce (with Roberts as well). Along with Quinn's heart issues against Carolina I think he really brought the team together through adversity. He finished with 8 goals in 20 games. That is how I will remember him - a leader when called upon.
He was also so funny with the press. He would get asked questions after the game and look at the reporter completely deadpan and say something totally unexpected with a straight face. Nobody would know if he was serious or not until he started to grin. He had some really funny quotes.
His impact in Toronto was Huge. Only Sundin has made a more impactful presence over the last 10 years and fans recall Mogs with a lot of great stories. I'm glad to see that the same is true in Vancouver but I can see he is more of a distant memory for you than for us where I would say he is a recent memory.
Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:20 AM
Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:12 AM
Thanks for posting this.
Someone said it earlier but AlMo had some kind of fear of flying or airplanes so I always thought it was funny that he would end up on the most travelled team in the NHL.
Would love to hear the details behind the struggles russian players had in coming to N America what with the russian mafia n all the corruption over there.