Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (L) and forward Sergei Fedorov of Russia look at their bronze medals during ceremonies on the ice after Russia defeated Belarus 7-2 in men's ice hockey at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in this 2002 file photo. Sun Media's Randy Sportak lists Fedorov as one of the best Russian's in the history of the game. (REUTERS)
MOSCOW - Russian and Soviet hockey history may not have Canada's time frame. But it's filled with all kinds of great players. Here are 10 of the best, in no particular order.
So who did that pre-Summit Series scouting report, anyway? Tretiak was watched once by scouts before the 1972 series, but the game came on the heels of a bachelor party so the goalie wasn't anywhere near his best.Not only was he phenomenal during the eight games, but his home could be a museum with all the accolades he received during his playing career -- 10 world championships, three Olympic gold medals and a Canada Cup crown.
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Fetisov came to the NHL past his prime, but for nearly 20 years he was the linchpin of his country's blueline. A six-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion, he still had enough in him to win a couple of Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings.
He could skate. He could shoot. He could make plays. And, man, could he score. His career ended prematurely when he died in a car accident in 1981, but he burst onto the hockey scene in the 1972 series. There's a reason the Canadians targeted him in the series. Kharlamov ended his career with eight world championship titles to his name and two Olympic gold medals.
Canadians were introduced to him as the head coach of the Soviet Union's Summit Series team in 1972, but he was a great player in his own right and one of his nation's first hockey stars, with his prime in the early 1950s. He won a pair of world championships and an Olympic gold. Amazingly, he was also a soccer star.
The Canadians were without a few stars in the 1972 series, with Bobby Orr injured and Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe both left off the team because they went to the WHA. The Soviets were without one of the greatest players in their history, Firsov. He was a dominating force though the 1960s but reportedly boycotted the series to support Anatoli Tarasov, who was ousted as the coach. He won eight world championships and three Olympic golds.
His resume is beyond belief. Four world championship titles, two Olympic golds and three Stanley Cup titles in a career which started in 1977 and ended in 2004. A sublime passer, he is considered to be one of the smartest players ever, and was the centre on a line with Vladimir Krutov and Sergei Makarov.
He was captain of the Soviet national team for many years, leading his nation to a pair of Olympic gold medals. Consider this stat: In Soviet league play, he scored 427 goals in 572 games and was twice named the MVP. He could physically dominate games.
An eight-time world champion and two-time Olympic champ, Maltsev was a quiet superstar. He remains a revered player in Russia.
He and Alexander Mogilny were the first players to star solely in the NHL instead of in their national league. Fedorov, who defected, won the Stanley Cup title three times and had the ability to play the game any way needed, adept both offensively and defensively.
After many years starring along with Larionov and Vladimir Krutov on the famed KLM Line, during which he won a pair of Olympic titles and seven world championships, Makarov joined the NHL and was named rookie of the year in 1990. Despite not being allowed to play in the NHL until his best days were behind him, Markarov was an excellent player for the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks before calling it a career.