Abel to Yzerman

Abel to Yzerman

Lessons From 'The Russian Five'

06/12/2019 at 11:44am EDT

from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,

Went to see The Russian Five on Wednesday night, an excellent documentary about how the acquisition of five Russian players transformed the Detroit Red Wings into Stanley Cup champions....

The brilliance was of course in Scotty Bowman, the NHL’s winningest coach, in deciding to use the five as a unit, letting them play Russian-style hockey – no dumping and chasing – just continual puck control and puck movement on top of puck retrieval and a commitment to defence....

The irony was lost on no one in the audience that Bowman praised Detroit’s acquisition of Shanahan in 1996 as the missing piece that put the Wings over the top.

“That changed our team,” said Bowman. “We had a lot of skill, but so much will. Fisticuffs meant something on any team I ever had. Hockey’s a lot different now. But in those days, you had to stand up and fight for yourself.


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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that.