Our dear Sasha!
Even though we are on different continents, we try not to miss any of your games. We both watch them religiously, your mama in America and your dad at our dacha (country house) outside of Moscow, because doctors recommend he not fly cross-country for health reasons. Since our time zones are so different, your father wakes up in the middle of the night and turns on the TV.
Losing streaks are always hard. But those downswings happen to every team in the course of the season. The most important thing is to continue to believe in yourself. We are glad that you, Sasha, always fight for your teammates and try to do everything to make the team win and play well. This is more valuable to you than breaking Sergei Fedorov's scoring record. Although it is a nice feeling to bypass such a great player, try not to put too much emphasis on this. We know that you want to win another Stanley Cup, and do it more than once. We understand how much you strive for this and we wish you good luck on this journey. The few misfires during the regular season should not discourage you. Without defeats there are no victories.
It is very important, son, that you know how to bring people joy. We felt it ourselves last June. We saw hundreds of thousands of hockey fans taking to the streets in Washington. We know how people in Russia literally cried with happiness when you beat the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. With your game you are capable of evoking incredibly strong emotions among real fans.
Fedorov is not just another hockey player in our country. It is a big deal that you have overtaken such a great master.
Fedorov was a very good hockey player. He taught organization, understanding of the game, always clearly explained everything and showed by example what world-class hockey should be. It is indeed a great fortune to overtake such a master. We all respect our great hockey players: Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, Igor Larionov. The fact that you managed to bypass them all in scoring, and even needed 200 fewer games then Sergei to get there is a testament to the great job you have done and your great desire to succeed.
We remember how thrilled you were when Fedorov came to Washington. You were very, very happy about it. As a kid, you loved watching the Detroit Red Wings and the Russian Five play, all of our guys in the NHL. You collected hockey cards. We still have them in our apartment, all six albums of them. They are old and priceless now, that collection you started back in the '90s.
We are looking at your photograph from that time. We think it's from 1993, when Mogilny scored 76 goals in one regular season, setting a Russian record. He, too, was called "Alexander the Great." And you are still very young in the picture, smiling and wearing a Buffalo Sabres jacket. Remember, we stopped at a hockey shop and you really liked this jacket? Lukewarm, beautiful jacket. So we bought it, you would wear it all the time. Fit you perfect.
Dad did not miss a single practice of yours until 2002, when Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov already started selecting you for Team Russia. We remember that he invited you to a tournament in Europe and immediately put you on the first line -- if memory serves us right, along with Maxim Sushinsky and Valeri Zelepukin. You were only 17 years old. Dad even asked Tikhonov for permission to accompany the team.
Another memory flash is when you were leaving for the NHL in 2005. We did not cry at the airport. We were sure of you. Firstly, you knew a little bit of English. Secondly, we had talked with the former Dynamo defenseman Andrei Markov, who then played for Montreal, and he reassured us: "They will treat Sasha well. He won't be abandoned there. They will take care of him in the new city."
And take care of you they did. At first you lived with Capitals general manager George McPhee. We will always be thankful to him for taking you in. Feels like it was yesterday.
We remember how you took your first steps in hockey, how you graduated from school. Sometimes we sit down at the table, look at each other and feel like we have just gotten married recently, and this is our 49th year together. We had our wedding in September of 1970. And you also were born in September, 15 years later.
So we sit opposite each other, saying: "Is our 50th wedding anniversary really coming soon?" Well, at least you finally gave us a grandson. (Sergei) is a great boy, so lively and smiling. He has turned five months old recently. What he becomes -- only time will tell. An athlete, maybe? Once he picks up a hockey stick, let's see how he holds it. Or, if he picks up a basketball, let's see what that looks like. So long as he grows up healthy and becomes a good person, for us it would be good enough.
Most important, Sasha, is that you stay healthy. It is also paramount that everything is good in the family. You have a wonderful family. We are so thankful to your wife Nastya for such a precious gift, for our grandson (Sergei). We are so pleased to see how Nastya cares about you, how delicious her cooking is, and how she always supports and helps you with everything. Such support is inspiring, so you can be even more successful in hockey.
In addition, the entire Capitals organization is also your big family. All your teammates, the entire coaching staff, without whom this scoring record would never be possible. Club owner Ted Leonsis, he has always been so attentive to you and has done so much for you. We are very grateful to him. He is the head of this big hockey family. He often comes into the locker room and seemingly knows your every achievement. He congratulated us so warmly on the birth of our grandson. (Sergei) and the Stanley Cup were our two biggest victories in 2018.
We are so proud to see you play the way you have. You glorify Russian sports in North America, and you never forget your homeland. You don't pay much attention to the critics, and they will always be there. Keep going down your own path, do your own thing. You just keep playing hockey, keep having fun doing it, like you did as a boy. This feeling is always with you. The love of for the game, coupled with your hard work. Most others can't perform at this level at 33. But you maintain this highest level and don't ask any less of yourself. And you keep proving that Russian hockey is the best in the world.
We love both of our sons the same way -- you and Misha. If the children are happy, then we are happy. We will never get tired of repeating it.
Hugs and kisses.
Your mom and dad