Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/06/12 at 09:18 AM ET
From Russia Today, the hockey world’s suffered a tremendous loss as “Green Unit” forward and Soviet hockey legend Vladimir Krutov has passed away:
Soviet ice hockey legend Vladimir Krutov has passed away in Moscow aged 52. On June 4, the two-time Olympic champion was taken to Moscow’s main clinical hospital with gastric hemorrhage, from which he never recovered.
Considered one of the best hockey wingers of the 1980s, Krutov became known worldwide for his prolific play in the famed KLM Line together with Igor Larionov and Sergey Makarov. The team, dubbed the Red Machine and also boasting the likes of Vladislav Tretyak, Vyacheslav Fetisov and Aleksey Kasatonov was regarded as unstoppable in the 1980s.
Krutov had to his name the 1981 Canada Cup, two golds and one silver in the Olympics, as well as six golds, one silver, and one bronze in the World Championships.
Update: Reuters’ Gennady Fyodorov offers another English-language report:
Vladimir Krutov, part of the famous Soviet KLM offensive line with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov in the 1980s, died in Moscow on Wednesday. Krutov was taken to a local hospital with internal bleeding in his stomach on Monday just three days after celebrating his 52nd birthday.
“I’m shocked. I saw him this morning in hospital, then came back home and got this phone call that he had died,” his wife Nina told Reuters.
Russian ice hockey chief Vladislav Tretyak said on the federation’s website (http://www.fhr.ru): “We lost a great friend, someone with whom all of us would go to war without any doubt.”
President Vladimir Putin also sent his condolences to Krutov’s family.
“We lost a great sportsman, who was part of the illustrious history of Soviet and Russian hockey,” Putin was quoted as saying by the Kremlin press office. “He was a born forward, sincere and open person, a true hero for millions of our fans.”
In the early 1980s, Soviet and CSKA Moscow coach Viktor Tikhonov created the famous five unit, teaming up left wing Krutov, centre Larionov and right wing Makarov with defencemen Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov.
“I just can’t find the words to describe how I feel,” Tikhonov, who gave Krutov his first taste of top-level hockey when he drafted then 17-year-old into CSKA’s first team in 1978.
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