Tribute to Russian Hockey, KLM line re-united in first exhibition game played at Moscow's Red Square
RUSSIAN HOCKEY REUNION GAME AT THE RED SQUARE
After leaving the 2004 film Miracle, which told the story of USA's improbable 1980 olympic hockey upset over Russia, Igor Larionov told New Yorker magazine:
At the end of the movie, there was a standing ovation in the theatre, I just left. To be honest, I felt like I'd lost. My friends played there, Krutov, Makarov, Fetisov, Kasatonov. I wish the guys in Hollywood had spent more time, maybe even just five minutes, to show the Russian side of the story.
Little detail was afforded to to the Russian team, which Larionov joined shortly after the 1980 loss. Boris Mikhailov and goaltender Vladislav Tretiak were painted as the best players in the world, but a few brief black-and-white film clips were all that completed the "us vs them" scenario at the heart of the movie. Viacheslav Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Vladimir Krutov, former Shark Sergei Makarov and actors who played the rest of the Russian team were described by one film reviewer as "scowling automatons".
THE GREAT 5: MAKAROV, KASATANOV, LARIONOV, FETISOV, KRUTOV
Longtime Dynamo Moscow and Red Army head coach Viktor Tikhonov re-assembled the hockey greats on December 9th, 2006 for the first hockey game ever played in Moscow's Red Square.
The first hockey game ever played at Red Square honoured the 60th anniversary of the birth of Russian hockey, the 50th anniversary of the former Soviet Union's first hockey victory at the Olympics and the 25th anniversary of the creation of the famous KLM line in the 1980s.
"This is a historic event - to come to Moscow and play at Red Square," (Scotty) Bowman said. "And it's an honour to have all these great players to play here at a time to honour the heritage of the Soviet and Russian ice hockey."
If the visuals do not immediately grab you in the Youtube video above, Igor Larionov's daughters Alyonka and Diana Larionov sang a beautiful rendition of Ave Maria over a clip of classic Russian hockey highlights during the first intermission. Correction, highlights of players "that are not with us anymore".
Larionov capped the evening on the ice by scoring 4 goals for Team Russia.
A Hockey Game on Red Square - Kommersant.
Shooting in Red Square! Of Pucks, That Is - New York Times (paid article).
More from the archives on Miracle's portrayal of the USA Olympic team and the Soviet national team can be found here, here and here.
[Update] Igor Larionov discusses his "Farwell from Moscow" DVD on San Jose's pre-game show Shark Byte - Youtube.
Former Shark Byte host Drew Remenda notes in this video that Igor Larionov won 4 World Championships with Russia, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, and 3 Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. The famed member of the KLM line (Krutov, Larionov, Makarov), which many called the best forward line to ever play the game, played three seasons in San Jose with Sergei Makarov and Johan Garpenlov. The third year expansion franchise scored a first round playoff upset over top seeded Detroit in 1994.
[Update2] TSN's Ellen Pinchuk published another excellent video feature on Russian hockey about Vladislav Tretiak's grandson #20 Maxim Tretiak. The young goaltender told a reporter, "I want to play better than my grandfather". Vladislav Tretiak, HHOF member and the head of the Russian Hockey Federation, told his grandson Max that no player is perfect and that the key to being successful is playing consistently.
During the lockout in 2004, Ellen Pinchuk posted this amusing video feature of Fred Brathwaite's adjustment to Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League (New York Rangers East). There is a clip of him staring at a McDonald's outside his apartment window which still makes me laugh.
[Update3] An email from Alexey points to drugoi's live journal photo gallery from the Red Square tribute game. Drugoi had an invitation to take photos and posted a simply incredible gallery.