Fedotenko shared Cup

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

Picking out his most memorable game at the Saddledome is easy for Ruslan Fedotenko.

It was Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final -- a 3-2 overtime victory for his Tampa Bay Lightning over the Calgary Flames.

"That was amazing to just extend it to Game 7," said Fedotenko, whose Bolts claimed the deciding game back in Tampa courtesy of his pair of goals in the 2-1 Cup-clincher.

Now a member of the New York Islanders, Fedotenko is looking forward to the growth of another fairly young team with the same aspirations.

Forever embedded in his brain is the experience from nearly four years ago, but rarely does the 28-year-old tap into it.

"It's always in the memory. It's something you can look back on and see what you accomplished," he said before the Isles took on the Flames last night.

"It's nice to win, it's a great accomplishment, but life moves on. Everything is new. We're just trying to set the goal again and try to accomplish it."

Any future championship will be welcomed but can never match the firsts that Fedotenko participated in during that first Stanley Cup.

While former Flames d-man Mike Commodore likely holds the record for time spent with the holy hockey grail in one summer, horning in on so many of his Carolina Hurricanes teammates' days with the Cup, Fedotenko can boast about two solo celebrations separated by the seas.

He took it to his homeland in the Ukraine and to the spot in the U.S. where he met his wife, Debbie, in Sioux City, Iowa.

"I asked if I could do that. I'm the first Ukraine-born player who won the Cup, and I have family and friends in the U.S., too. I felt like it was tough for me just to pick one place," said the left-winger, who has never since matched the level of play he displayed during the championship run.

"I think one time was eight hours and the other time was 12."

It's a far cry from Commodore's countless clockings with the Cup, but Fedotenko had an entire nation witness his revelry from Kiev.

Smack in the centre of Ukraine, Fedotenko was surrounded by thousands of his countrymen as the jubilation hit the airwaves.

"That was incredible," he recalled. "They had a huge party in the centre of town -- a concert and all that stuff. They broadcasted it throughout the Ukraine, live.

"It was an amazing day."

Much bigger a deal than even he anticipated, Fedotenko said about 12,000 people showed up -- the mayor and prime minister among them.

Later in the summer, he brought the Cup to Sioux City, where he racked up 43 goals and 77 points in 55 games as a member of the USHL's Musketeers in 1998-99 before signing with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers as an undrafted free agent.

"I felt like it was a good place to bring the Cup. It was the first time it was in Iowa," he said. "So both places I went, it was the first time for a Stanley Cup to be in both places. That was pretty neat."


Photos