Monday, January 2, 2012

The Russian Five

During my lifetime only a few hockey units gelled almost perfectly (mid 90's Vancouver 1st line, early 00's Anaheim 1st line, Mid 90's to Mid 00's Colorado 2nd line, 00's Detroit 1st line and 90's Detroit 1st line) and only two units gelled perfectly, The 95-06 Colorado 1st unit, (the Tanguay-Sakic-Hedjuk line was perfection on ice, especially good with Adam Foote and Rob Blake backing, and subs of Liles, Ozolinsh and Bourque) and the Russian Five! The Russian Five had a forward line of Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov and Vyacheslav Kozlov and a defensive line of Viacheslav Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov, that's right Detroit boasted possibly the greatest power-play unit ever as it's second line and first power-play unit. Sergei Fedorov is possibly the greatest Russian hockey player ever (Definitely the most versatile and possibly most talented), same could be said about Fetisov, while Larionov was easily the smartest hockey player anyone had ever seen, seeing passing lanes before it started, Larionov played hockey like chess, ""if I do this the defender will do this which will bring this lane open which means i can make this pass to Sergei who can use his wrist shot to light the lamp!". Konstantinov could hit better than anyone in the league (with the exception of Scott Stevens) and was world class while stick checking everyone and blocking every shot that came within a 5 foot radius of the net, and to say the least about Kozlov is he could dangle every player on the ice, much like a less speedy and worse Sergei Fedorov and/or Pavel Datsyuk (Yes they are similar players, Fedorov could do any deke Datsyuk can while pulling it off at a higher speed, better goal scorer and could have picked his spot at center, winger or defense-men and been an all-star, so in my humble opinion... ok maybe not taht humble but still, Pavel Datsyuk is a poor man's Sergei Fedorov, Still great, but not as legendary). The Russian Five was born as a result of coach Scotty Bowman seeing the Russians routinely played in 5 man units decided to play them at once, and their success was almost guaranteed when you put together such a talented and cohesive group, and a group that had a huge part in breaking down the barrier between the U.S.S.R. and NHL. To this day one of the greatest things me and the rest of the hockey world has seen is the original Russian Five skate the ice and move in almost perfect fashion. The red and white moving together, when one moved the others reacted, that motion won periods, games, and Stanley Cups! The Russian Five, by true hockey fans you will never be forgotten...

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