Sergei Fedorov was indeed married to Anna Kournikova.
Another Red Wing, Luc Robitaille, gets more publicity these days for his attractive singer of a wife, Stacia.
Then there are Vitaly Vishnevski and Ruslan Salei of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks who appear in ESPN: The Magazine with two stunning blondes on their arms … despite the athletes having a few missing teeth and beaten faces.
So what is it about hockey players and gorgeous women? Is it the money? The lifestyle? Their stick-handling ability? The mullets?
Apparently, it is much simpler than that.
“They say (hockey players are) different,” Michigan sophomore Milan Gajic said. “Everyone says we’re different people, and I guess it’s saying opposites attract. We’re just different guys, we’re not afraid to say what we want to say, and we don’t hold anything back.”
As for Gajic, himself?
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a wacky kid, so if I can find a girl that’ll marry me and love me – or even one that looks like Anna – I wouldn’t drop her for a second,” Gajic said. “I guess Fedorov’s in a different boat.”
Unfortunately, Gajic may have more time to look for that special lady. With an injury to his left knee in last Friday’s 4-0 loss to Michigan State, Gajic found himself out of Saturday night’s game, and he is now fighting to get his starting job back after sophomore Charlie Henderson filled in with success for him.
“Charlie came in and he played well,” Gajic said. “If we’re winning, there’s not really any point (to putting me back in). I would love to come back in and play. As long as we keep on winning … it’s going to be hard to get back in the starting lineup. A lot of people say you can’t lose your job to injury, but if the team’s playing well, what can you do?”
Before the winter break, Gajic endured a scoring slump (three goals, five assists and a plus-minus rating of minus-two in 16 games) and an academic suspension imposed by Michigan coach Red Berenson. Most of his publicity to that point had been anything but positive.
After the break, however, Gajic found a home on a line with sophomores David Moss and Jason Ryznar, where his numbers flourished (6-4-10 and a rating of plus-5 with Moss and Ryznar for 15 games). Until last weekend, the trio had played together the most out of any line this semester. But now, one hit on a knee that was injured (torn MCL) three years ago in juniors literally 180-ed Gajic back to where he was at the end of December.
“I got the puck down low, (David) Moss took my wing, then I came around the net – and I guess the guy was chasing me – and then I passed it to Moss right by the Cheeze-it’s sign (at Yost Ice Arena,” Gajic said. “I was still looking at (Moss), expecting to get the puck back, because I was busting through the middle. (Michigan State’s) Colin Fretter came from the other side and turned me ass-over-teakettle. I did a complete flip in the air. Every time my left knee gets hit kind of weird, I always have a little pain, because I never gave it as much time (to heal) as I should have.”
So as Gajic fights for playing time with Henderson and junior Joey Kautz, whose name emerged in practice this week, he knows that unless Michigan is losing without him, he can wait with content for the team’s success. Although the sophomore is uncertain about his ice time, other developments from the weekend have left him confident on one thing: If he or any hockey player wanted her, Kournikova’s probably theirs.
“You’d have to have some serious problems if you said no (to Anna),” Gajic said. “Enrique (Iglesias)? Come on. Enrique? The smallest guy on our team could probably beat the hell out of Enrique.”