|ESPN.com: LeBrun||[Print without images]|
Once in a while, we like to update you puckheads on a former player. Today, we bring you Alexander Mogilny.
Immensely talented when he patrolled the wing in the NHL, Mogilny seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth after his stellar career ended. He wasn't the type that would want to hang around NHL rinks in his retirement. But we tracked him down nonetheless.
"Hold on for a second. I'm parking my car, picking up the kids at school," Mogilny told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
That's half of the new life right there. Daddy Mogilny.
"I'm helping out a team in Russia and, otherwise, just being a father and helping to raise my kids," Mogilny said. "I go back and forth quite a bit, but I live in Florida [Miami]. That's where we retired. I travel a lot, spend quite a bit of time in Russia during the season."
Mogilny, who turned 40 last month, is a special advisor to the president of the KHL team Amur Khabarovsk.
"It's my hometown and I feel like it's my duty to help out the local organization," said Mogilny, who grew up in Khabarovsk, a city in the most Eastern part of Russia, some 20 miles from the Chinese border.
"I give lessons to the young players and help out in any way I can," he added. "That makes me feel really good. This game gave me a lot and I feel like I owe it and need to give back. I really enjoy working with the kids, and especially in my hometown. Not a lot of hockey players have come from out of there. Hopefully, we'll have more in the future."
When we last caught up with Mogilny in February 2007, he was struggling a little bit. He missed the game a great deal and, actually, at that point, hadn't even retired. But a chronic hip issue grounded him for good. His last NHL game was Dec. 31, 2005, fittingly enough between Toronto and New Jersey, his last two NHL stops. The Devils, as some of you may remember, put him in the AHL to finish the season because of salary-cap problems. It's not a great way to finish a career, especially one as dynamic as Mogilny's, but he has no regrets. He had 16 years in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000.
Now, more than three years removed from his last NHL game, he's at peace in his new life, enjoying time well spent with wife Natalia, daughter Anna, 11, and son Alex, 9.
"Everything is great actually," said Mogilny. "I can't complain. Things are really good. It took me a little while to adjust and decide what I wanted to do. It looks like I've kind of settled down and I'm doing what I really enjoy."
Mogilny put up 1,032 points (473-559) in 990 regular-season games with Buffalo, Vancouver, Toronto and New Jersey, including his memorable 76-goal campaign for the Sabres in 1992-93.
We actually phoned Mogilny back about three hours after our interview Wednesday. There was a small detail that was bothering us.
"Alex, it's Pierre again," we said to him. "I wanted to ask you, but I forgot earlier: did you ever officially announce your retirement from the NHL?"
"No, why, do I have to?" Mogilny said with a laugh. "What if I want come back when I'm 50?"
Funny to the end. The NHL isn't the same without Mogilny, truly one of a kind.