DETROIT -- The Alumni Showdown was a constant parade of memories and emotions as the greats from the past donned their sweaters once more. But perhaps no moment was more powerful than the one that came moments before the puck dropped.
In the ramp up to the game as the roster lists continued to grow, the promise of a Russian Five reunion for the Wings was about as exciting as it got, including Steve Yzerman electing to play. They were a tremendous part of Red Wings history, coming out to play as a unit in the early 1990s, and effectively too.
But the Russian Five era came to a sad ending when defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov was involved in a near fatal car accident just a couple of days after the Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997. He didn't play again but he remained around the Wings organization, including a stirring Cup ceremony in 1998 when Konstantinov was wheeled onto the ice to hold the Stanley Cup.
On Tuesday, Wings fans had a flashback once again to a great era as Konstantinov, with some help, walked onto the ice and joined Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov and Slava Fetisov for an all-too brief reunion. The crowd loved every second of it as the "Vladdie! Vladdie!" chants erupted.
Fedorov, who scored a goal in the Wings' 6-5 shootout win over the Leafs alumni, certainly enjoyed it.
"I was proud of that moment," Fedorov said.
We would call it another excellent moment from the festivities but that might do it some injustice. It was more than just another moment.