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The Malik Report

A lengthy look back at the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy

Sportsnet’s Brett Popplewell wrote a massive article revisiting the tragedy in Yaroslavl which took the lives of former Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, defenseman Ruslan Salei and scores of NHL and international players whose untimely passings touched everyone in the hockey world. Popplewell’s article is both excellent and incredibly difficult to read, as it should be:

At 4:05 in the afternoon all but one of the Railway Men were sealed inside an aging plane, staring down an empty runway. In the cabin sat Lokomotiv, the gods of Yaroslavl whose names 600,000 people cheered and cried. Twenty-six hockey players and 11 coaches and staff embarking on a two-hour flight to their season opener in Minsk.

Directly behind the cockpit sat the coaches. There was Brad McCrimmon, the ‘Beast’ from Saskatchewan, one of two men on-board with his name on the Stanley Cup. Still driven by ambition at the age of 52, he had recently left his home in Detroit and crossed the Atlantic to coach this team. And beside him sat his assistant, Igor Korolev, the former Maple Leaf who played for five teams in a 12-year NHL career, back in his homeland but far from his family in Toronto on this, the day after his 41st birthday. Beside him sat his old friend Alexander Karpovtsev, the former Ranger who’d stood by Korolev’s side on his wedding day in Moscow 21 years ago. He was the second man aboard this plane with his name on hockey’s most revered chalice.

Behind the coaches sat the players. Young and old, from the former all-star to the struggling prospect, together they formed one of the strongest teams in the second-best league in the world.

Continue reading, and bring out your Kleenex box…

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hockeychic's avatar

So difficult to read but I’m glad I did.  Thanks for posting, George.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 12/09/11 at 06:46 PM ET

SYF's avatar

That was a hard article to read.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 12/09/11 at 07:07 PM ET

DocF's avatar

This is a well written article.  It makes the obvious point of this being a human tragedy, not merely a mechanical failure.  These men and boys were heroes of so many and will be missed for a long time.

Thank you, George, for posting this.


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/09/11 at 07:10 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar


Never go to bed without telling a loved one how much they are loved.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 12/09/11 at 08:45 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Thank you, George, for the link.  That was difficult to read, but definitely worth it.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 12/09/11 at 10:55 PM ET


So, so painful to read but important because it reminds us of how precious life is.

Posted by Right Winger on 12/10/11 at 02:19 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Agree with everyone who already posted - a difficult and moving read.  As Doc said, it really brought home what a human tragedy this was.  Thanks for posting that link, George.  (Just hoping Pav doesn’t see it…)

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 12/10/11 at 01:34 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.