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Vladimir Konstantinov Today

from Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press,

Vladimir Konstantinov, a former Detroit Red Wings defenseman, picked out the shirt and tie he will wear on Saturday night when he is inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

“He is very excited about Saturday,” James Bellanca Jr., Konstantinov’s longtime lawyer and friend, said. “He knows something special is happening. Whether he can comprehend the meaning of it, I don’t know.”

And that’s the part that breaks your heart.

Konstantinov is one of the most beloved athletes in Detroit sports history. He was known as the Vladinator, a tough, physical defender from Russia, who helped the Wings win the 1997 Stanley Cup, ending a 42-year drought.

But he also is one of the most tragic athletes in Detroit sports history, after suffering a career-ending, life-threatening spinal cord injury in a limo crash, just six days after winning the Cup.

Twenty-two years later, Konstantinov lives in a condo in West Bloomfield, where he gets the best care available. His wife and daughter live in Florida but visit regularly. He requires 24-hour assistance from a team of caregivers, who have been with him for years. “I think he’s happy,” Bellanca said. “There are three or four ladies who take care of him, most of whom have been with him for 18 or 20 years. Those ladies are wonderful. They treat him like their child.”

continued

A video titled The Legends: Vladimir Konstantinov, is below.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: vladimir+konstantinov

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

His wife and daughter live in Florida but visit regularly. He requires 24-hour assistance from a team of caregivers, who have been with him for years. “I think he’s happy,” Bellanca said. “There are three or four ladies who take care of him, most of whom have been with him for 18 or 20 years. Those ladies are wonderful. They treat him like their child.”

I’m sure there’s more to the story, but all of this is just absolutely heartbreaking.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/04/19 at 12:21 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

That was a great video.  Watching those hits, I didn’t see one player challenge him after any of those hits.  It’s so different than today where even legal hits draw scrums and slashes after the play.  Not saying it didn’t happen then - Vlad also drew a lot of respect from other players.

I don’t think there is a greater moment in sports than when Vlad came onto the ice and was part of the Cup celebration in 98.  I can’t watch that without my eyes swelling.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/04/19 at 12:28 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

this makes me smile & cry at the same time ...

... memories

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 10/04/19 at 01:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Oh, what could have been the absolute best defensive tandem in Wings history in the pairing of Vladinator and TPH.  They were so good together.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 10/05/19 at 12:35 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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