Even though he's engaged to one of the most famous women in the world—"We like it when she's here," Bowman says. "Sergei always plays well when she's around"—that can't be all roses for Fedorov. At an exhibition game on the road last September, one haute-couture fan showed up in a replica of Fedorov's number 91 Red Wings sweater with KOURNIKOVA on the back. The slap was unmistakable.
"He's not showcasing her. They're not a couple around town," Red Wings associate coach Barry Smith says of Sergei and Anna. "He's very private with her, but he still gets kicked around for it." Fedorov offers no comment on his personal life, a stance as chivalrous as laying a cloak for Kournikova's injured foot to tread on.
Against the Kings, Fedorov's play didn't speak for him, it bellowed. This is his time, his tournament and, most important, his canvas, one he paints with a vibrant palette even if the Wings are a portrait in X-ray black and white.