World team wins KHL All-Star Game

MOSCOW -- With the Kremlin walls and domes of St. Basil's Cathedral as backdrops, an international squad led by Jaromir Jagr defeated an all-Russian team 7-6 in the Continental Hockey League's All-Star game on a bitterly cold Saturday night in Red Square.

Slovakia's Marcel Hossa scored three goals while goaltender Robert Esche and former Ottawa Senator Ray Emery provided strong play for the winners. The Russian team featured former NHL star in Alexei Yashin.

Temperatures plunged to 3 degrees, with spectators shivering in the grandstands at the open-air rink in the heart of the Russian capital. The game was designed as a showcase for the Russian league known as the KHL.

"The [baseball] All-Star game in Yankee Stadium is special, and the Russians want to do something special, too," Jagr said before the game.

Jagr and Yashin are the most prominent former NHL players who have been lured by KHL teams flush with money from Russia's eight-year, oil-fueled economic boom. The game was broadcast on a major television network in the country. Russian hockey officials hope it will boost league during the global financial crisis, which is hitting companies sponsoring Russian sports teams.

"For now, we are looking to the future with optimism," KHL managing director Vladimir Shalayev said. He called the league's financial situation "quite stable."

The KHL was rocked in October by the death of 19-year-old New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov, Jagr's teammate at Avangard Omsk. He collapsed on the bench next to Jagr during a game at an arena outside Moscow.

Jagr, a former NHL MVP, joined the Siberian team Avangard Omsk last year. The one-time star for the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and Rangers said he was 6 or 7 when he last played outdoors, at home in the Czech Republic.

Yashin thanked the roughly 2,500 spectators who nearly filled the grandstand, roaring for a Russian victory.

"To be on Red Square when it is so cold -- that means they love hockey," he said. "It means Russian hockey is alive, and that's the most important thing."

Yashin was a top draft pick in 1992 and moved from Ottawa to the New York Islanders in 2001. His final four seasons of his 10-year contract were bought out by the Islanders in 2007. He is in his second season in the Russian league, where he plays for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Jagr is a nine-time NHL All-Star who had 646 goals and 1,599 points -- the most by a European-born player -- in 17 seasons. He had hoped for a high-scoring game Saturday for the sake of the fans -- and he got it.

Hossa, who plays for Latvia's Dinamo Riga, opened the scoring in the first period, and his second goal gave the international team a 4-2 lead with less than five minutes left in the second period. The Russians came back with two goals before the period was over, including one from CSKA Moscow's Oleg Saprykin with just more than a second left.

In the third, Saprykin scored again to put the Russians ahead for the first time, but Jagr's countryman Jan Marek of Metallurg Magnitogorsk made it 5-5 on a penalty shot and the teams traded goals again before Hossa beat Russian goalkeeper Konstantin Barulin with just more than a minute left in the game.

Also scoring were Denis Kulyash, Alexander Radulov and Sergei Mozyakin with two goals for the Russians. For the international team, former Capitals defenseman Ben Clymer, Jaroslav Kudrna and Pavel Brendl added goals.