When the Detroit Red Wings were rebooting their franchise after more than two decades of relative futility, they knew the best place to find world-class players who could help turn things around more quickly were conscripted servants behind the Iron Curtain.


Picking up where the international best-selling book The Russian Five left off, Vlad the Impaler will have readers alternately laughing—and in tears—with dozens more memorable, untold stories and anecdotes from the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup championship season in 1997, 25 years ago.


Like the group of players who stunned the world by upsetting the mighty Soviet Union in the iconic “Miracle Game” at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in 1980, few gave the Team USA women much of a chance to beat the Canadians in the inaugural women’s tournament in Nagano, Japan in 1998.

Make me an offer I can’t refuse

Along with dedicating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every copy of Vlad The Impaler, I am parting with three priceless items I have cherished since winning them in a silent auction 25 years ago. And when I sell them, every penny will be forwarded to the Vladimir Konstantinov Special Needs Trust established by his daughter, Anastasia, to help ensure that he gets the help he needs after changes in Michigan’s insurance laws threaten his care.

A-game-used Easton hockey stick signed by Hockey Hall of Famer Slava Fetisov.
A Red Wings jersey, white (never worn) signed by each member of The Russian Five,
A game-used Easton hockey stick signed by Vladimir Konstantinov.

All items will come with a notarized certificate of authenticity.

While I have no idea about the fair market value of these items, I do have a number in mind that would make me part with them and I will entertain offers until I sell them or take them off the market to hold an auction – with a reserve dollar amount to make sure we hit the minimum number before I agree to sell them. I am conducting this sale myself, rather than through a pricey auction house that will take a hefty amount of the proceeds as commission on the sales. So go ahead, make me an offer I can’t refuse and one or all three of these items can be yours. For the record, this proposed sale represents 75 percent of all the items I’ve managed to “collect” over more than 40 years in sports writing. I’m keeping the Louisville Slugger signed by Al Kaline.