Look what he's got!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- It was so Russian. At the end of the second period, the PA announcer informed the crowd that in the event the Worldstars won the game, there would be an overtime session to decide the winner of the Russia-NHL series.

That's right, Gary Bettman.

Russia vs. NHL. The signs on the dressing room doors and the cover of the program featured the NHL logo.

When the game ended and the NHL beat Russia 5-4, the players formed on the blue-line for the traditional presentations.

"Nyet,'' said the ex-Soviets.

"Overtime to settle series.''

The Worldstars had lost 5-4 in Moscow.

"No,'' said coach Marty McSorley.

"But trophy!'' said the Russians of the impressive cup they'd created for the winner of the two-game Moscow-St. Petersburg series, which replaced the normal Russian League All-Star Weekend here.

In the end, they settled on a shootout, which the NHL won 2-1- not that you'd know that if you watched on pay TV back home. They'd long since left the air.

"I was sitting here in the dressing room,'' said coach Marc Bergevin. "They came and got me. This is Russia. They make the rules as they go along.''

Coach McSorley said it was hilarious.

"We'd won the game. We've played three games in four days and will make it four in five days (tonight) in Pilsen in the Czech Republic. We're playing here for good spirit and goodwill. I said. 'absolutely not!'

IF YOU'VE GOT BRODEUR ...

"But I'm glad we did the shootout. We didn't really understand how they'd promoted this here,'' he said. "Any time you want to play a shootout and we have Martin Brodeur in net, our chances are real good.''

While this was going on, Tie Domi and Brodeur entertained the crowd, trying to do a traditional dance to the Russian music coming over the PA system.

Mats Sundin, John-Michael Liles, Mattias Nordstrom, Glen Murray and Ray Whitney (who won the MVP trophy for the "tournament'') scored for the Worldstars. Sundin and Luc Robitaille scored in the shootout, as Brodeur stopped four of five.

"We had no clue about any overtime or shootout,'' said Brodeur. "We didn't feel like playing more hockey. The shootout was fine. No Russian players can score on me on breakaways.''

COULD CLOSE HIS EYES

"When they picked Valeri Zelepukin, I knew I could close my eyes,'' he said of his former New Jersey Devils teammate.

"When you travel so much as we have and have as many travel problems as we've had, when you play every day, and are having as much fun as we're having, we're doing pretty well so far,'' said Brodeur.

Unlike the game the night before in Moscow when the Russians threw their best together and clearly were playing it for keeps, this Russian team was an All-Star-type team playing in an All-Star-type game.

The Russians dressed goon Alexandre Yudin, but he didn't get his bout with Domi.

"They say no fight. We play game. It beautiful,'' said Yudin, who had the crowd cheering his name.

"This was an exhibition game,'' said Glen Sather, the New York Ranger boss who is over here scouting. "No intensity.''

Sather, who had no comment on the NHLPA offer to reduce salaries by 24%, has been here for four games and is still trying to get his head around the Russian League, which has a couple of teams with New York Ranger budgets (salaries, insurance, living expenses, cars, etc.)

It's to the point that AK Bars Kazan, which is hardly lighting up the league despite a lineup which features 11 NHLers including Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Iliya Kovalchuk, Alexei Kovalev, Darius Kasparaitis, Nikolai Khabibulin and Fred Brathwaite, is being called the AK Bars Kazan Rangers by Russian writers.

"It's the way free agency works,'' laughed Slats. "If you can afford it, do it.''

One thing for sure. None of the Worldstars have any intention of coming back here to play in the Russian league.

"It's been a great experience, but we're ready to leave Russia,'' said Whitney diplomatically.


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