Saturday, January 17, 2009

Greatest Russian Hockey Players of All the Times

Long have Russian players had an effect on the game of hockey. Since the power house Olympic teams of the mid 1900's to the great Red Army to the players defecting to the NHL in the late 1980's there have always been dominant hockey players from Mother Russia. Here is my list of the 10 greatest Russian Born Players to ever play the game of Hockey:

10) Pavel Bure

One of the fastest players ever to play the game of hockey. Had a natural scoring ability that led to him leading the NHL in scoring three times. Won the Calder Trophy in 1992 and was nicknamed "The Russian Rocket." Holds franchise records for both the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers.

9) Alexander Ovechkin

Has already made an immediate impact on the NHL. Won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 2006. In 2008 became the first player ever to win the Rocket Richard, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson, and the Hart Memorial Trophies in the same year. Has the record for most goals in a season with 65. When he retires he will be much higher on this list.

8) Aleksandr Maltsev

The all-time leader in international goals for Russians with 213. Won two Olympic Gold Medals during the 1970's. After being a six time Soviet All-star, he was inducted to the IIHF in 1999.

7) Alexander Mogilny

After defecting to the NHL in 1989, the first Russian to do so, Mogilny had an immediate impact. Scored 76 goals in 77 games in the 1992-93 season. Won an Olympic Gold medal in 1988 and a Stanley Cup in 2000. He retired as the second leading scorer for a Russian Born player. Also he wore number 89, cant go wrong with a dude who wears that.

6) Valery Kharlamov

Gained fame for his amazing play at the 1972 Summit Series against Canada, and went on to win two Olympic Gold Medals. One of six players to be voted to the IIHF Team of the Century. Tragically his playing career was cut short when he died in a car crash at the age of 33.

5) Boris Mikhailov

Long time captain of the Soviet National team, won two gold medals at the Olympics with his stellar play. In the Soviet League play he scored a total of 427 goals in only 572 games. Also a two time Soviet MVP.

4) Igor Larinov

One of the first players from Russia to defect to the NHL, was part of the great "Russian Five" line that helped Detroit win back to back Stanley Cups. One of only two players ever to win gold at the Olympics, World Championships, Canada Cup, World Junior Championships, and a Stanley Cup.

3) Viacheslav Fetisov

From winning Gold medals to two Stanley Cups, Fetisov has been an instrumental part of hockey. One of the first Russian players to defect to the NHL. Back in his prime, people referred to him as the Russian Bobby Orr.

2) Sergei Fedorov

Three time Stanley Cup trophy winner, Hart Memorial winner in 1994, two time Frank J. Selke winner, first Russian to score 1000 points in the NHL, most goals scored in the NHL by a Russian and he hooked up with Anna Kournikova, need I say more?

1) Vladislav Tretiak

Back stopped the Olympic team to three gold medals and a silver as well as 9 gold medals at the World Championships. Greatest goaltender to ever play the game.


  1. I should clear up the fact that Igor Larionov and Vyacheslav Fetisov did NOT defect. They even signed their NHL contracts in Moscow under the watch of Soviet sports officials. In fact, Fetisov went through a lot of trouble to make sure his departure from the Soviet Union in 1989 was LEGAL. Mogilny and Fedorov did indeed defect, but thankfully the new post-Soviet Russian Hockey Federation did not consider them as such.

  2. The list is non-controversial except for the puzzling inclusion of Mikhailov. Any one of Zubov, Makharov, Krutov, Yakushev or Vasilyev would be a worthier choice. In fact, if you were a GM conducting an 'all-time draft' across different eras you would almost certainly select not only them but Malkin, Semak, Gusev, Khomutov, Firsov, Starshinov and half a dozen others before considering Mikhailov.