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Greatest Russian/Soviet NHL Player?

Greatest Russian/Soviet NHL Player  

39 members have voted

  1. 1. Greatest Russian/Soviet NHL Player

    • Alex Ovechkin
    • Evgeni Malkin
      0
    • Sergei Fedorov
    • Alex Mogilny
    • Pavel Bure
    • Sergei Zubov
      0
    • Pavel Datsyuk
    • Alex Kovalev
      0
    • Sergei Gonchar
      0
    • Nikita Kucherov
      0
    • David Schriner (1st Russian Born NHL player and a Hall of Famer)
      0


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I saw this debate elsewhere and thought we should have our 2 cents.   This debate seemed easy at first blush, but when I started to put the poll together I realized how difficult this could be.  I had forgotten initially what a great career Sergei Federov had and how awesome both Gonchar and Zubov were on defense.  There are also the great all around play of Datsyuk, the offensive dominance of Malkin and of course the great scoring of Ovie.  We also can't forget the emerging dominance of Nikita Kucherov, is in the best of the Russian (not Soviet) born players.

This should be an interesting discussion.

  

Edited by GASabresIUFAN

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My initial and immediate reaction was Ovechkin.  But then I started to think about the question as who would I draft first if I were building a team.  In that context, it's pretty hard not to pick a #1 center, which would be Federov or Datsyuk.  I'd probably go with Federov, but certainly YMMV.

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I think it has to be Ovie. He’s at the top of the scoring lists every freaking year for like ever. 
 

Isnt he chasing Gretsky’s goal total now?
Hes been flat out dominant for his entire career,  which we can now call a long career.

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1 hour ago, LGR4GM said:

Datsyuk or Ovechkin

This.

Personally I prefer Datsyuk because of my preference for smart competitive centres.

But I've gotta go with Ovie: sustained brilliance over a long stretch of time. He is one of the greatest NHL players — and might be its greatest goal scorer — of all-time.

Separately, I know his best days were outside the NHL, but Larionov still deserves to be on that list. What a hockey player.

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Limiting it to just NHL players leaves out players who were unable to play in NHL, or were at tail end of career in NHL

Valeri Kharlamov - Was a top 5 to ever play

Igor Larianov - World, Olympic and Stanley Cup champ.  Great centerman

Slava Fetisov - One of greatest defenseman to ever play.  Was THE key leader on the Detroit cup winners.  Ask Yzerman.  

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Many great players on this list.  Ovie takes the top billing because he's the most dominant player of the bunch.  He leads in scoring, but also plays physical.  He has now achieved a Stanley Cup Championship, so that puts him over the top.  Had the Caps not won that Cup, I'd probably have gone with Federov.

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Yakushev, Tretiak, Balderis, Fetisov, or Kasatonov.  How am I doing?

Really, Tretiak is my choice.

Edited by E4 ... Ke2
Forgot pick!
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Of the guys that played in the NHL would have to be either Federov (could play any skater position and at a ridiculously high level) or Ovechkin (his shot is truly in the top handful of all time).  Datsyuk & Fetisov get honorable mentions.

Of guys drafted by an NHL team would have to go with the 2nd best goalie of all time.  #20.  He'd get my vote as the best to ever come from there.

The entire KLM line & Balderis have to also be in the discussion overall.

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Ovechkin is my answer.   Too much, too many, too long ... and with an edge, while having fun.

Now, if you got Ovechkin and I got Datsyuk or Federov, I'd not lose a minute's sleep.   Different style, same "highest of high" result.   The real tough question is how do you choose between these two.   Federov, because of playoff success?   Datsyuk, because he played hockey like Karpov played chess?   Datsyuk, it is.

And ... all of those old timer names from the 1970s.  The truly greats, the Titans.  KLM (Larianov was nearly 30 before entering the NHL; Markov 31),  Helmut Balderis (Great Name HOF), Fetisov 31 years old at entry!.   SO many, so many.

As I read the names together, the impact these guys had as 30 to 40 year olds is a topic, itself.

 

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My biggest issue with Ovie is the single Cup.  As a winger he doesn’t dictate the game.  Federov, Mallon and Datsyuk are and were better all-around players. 

Ovie best sniper, best goal scorer, but Datsyuk’s play on both ends of the ice gets them nod as best player.

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Thanks @Neo for reminding me about Kharlamov -- he has to be on this list.  (It was the "K" for Krutov on the KLM line.)

Thanks @Taro T for reminding me that Fedorov was the first player in ages who played all 5 skating positions at such a high level.  He belongs too.

Just thinking that Ovie could pass Gretzky with a lockout, another abbreviated season, in a lower-scoring era.  Wow.

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2 minutes ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

Just thinking that Ovie could pass Gretzky with a lockout, another abbreviated season, in a lower-scoring era.  Wow.

I think this sentence right here ends the argument.  I mean, even as recently as 5 years ago did anyone really foresee any NHL'er flirting with any of Gretzky's records?  Until the reality of the last two seasons kicked in, they were still expected to be untouchable.

Ovie may not pass Gretz, but the idea that it is even being bandied about is pretty incredible.  We all figured those records wouldn't be touched.  Different eras and all that.  yet here we are.

 

And Ovie doesn't drive his team's play?  Seriously?  He's one of 2-3 wingers in the league during his career that could and did.

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4 minutes ago, tom webster said:

You people need to watch some Pavel Bure highlights. And If you are opening it up to non-NHL then Tretiak needs some love.

The question specified "Russian/Soviet" players.  Given my age, you can guess that my opinion of the Soviet players is coloured by the 1972 Summit Series, the Canada Cups, and the team tours through the 1980's.  Kharlamov was so good that Harry Sinden and Bobby Clarke felt it necessary to break his ankle.  Yakushev was great through the 1970's.  Balderis was the next in that parade.  Tretiak was just incredible.  Fetisov was great in the NHL for how long?

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1 hour ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

Thanks @Neo for reminding me about Kharlamov -- he has to be on this list.  (It was the "K" for Krutov on the KLM line.)

Thanks @Taro T for reminding me that Fedorov was the first player in ages who played all 5 skating positions at such a high level.  He belongs too.

Just thinking that Ovie could pass Gretzky with a lockout, another abbreviated season, in a lower-scoring era.  Wow.

 

https://youtu.be/tkt63NNoRr8

 

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45 minutes ago, tom webster said:

You people need to watch some Pavel Bure highlights. And If you are opening it up to non-NHL then Tretiak needs some love.

I am a man of limited capacity .....   exhibit 2,711

I could never tell if Tretiak was a great goaltender, or the goaltender on a great team.

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I took Fedorov because of his all around game and the fact he played centre. The guy was just talented.

Ovechkin may be the best pure goal scorer, ever. I think Mike Bossy may  have been better but was limited by injuries. Ovi’s physical element is another huge plus..

Bure was the McDavid of his era, just blew by guys.

Datsyuk was a beauty to watch, silky mitts with a Selke attitude.

Had he played the bulk of his career in the NHL, Tretiak would be in the mix.

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You’d have a pretty good “all time” team with this list.

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1 hour ago, tom webster said:

You people need to watch some Pavel Bure highlights. And If you are opening it up to non-NHL then Tretiak needs some love.

I watched a lot of Bure out here on the coast. 
The man was a treat to watch and one of the most explosive skaters I have ever seen.

Didn’t have Datsyuk’s brain or Ovie’s power, or that indomitable will to win.

Pavel wanted to be the best, but he defined it by the number of goals he scored and the number of players he could beat one-on-on-one, not the number of games he won.

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18 hours ago, E4 ... Ke2 said:

The question specified "Russian/Soviet" players.  Given my age, you can guess that my opinion of the Soviet players is coloured by the 1972 Summit Series, the Canada Cups, and the team tours through the 1980's.  Kharlamov was so good that Harry Sinden and Bobby Clarke felt it necessary to break his ankle.  Yakushev was great through the 1970's.  Balderis was the next in that parade.  Tretiak was just incredible.  Fetisov was great in the NHL for how long?

Fetisov was great the whole time he was here.  Bowman knew how to use him and got years out of him like he did with Larry Murphy when others saw them as finished.  Not finished at all, but being asked to play the non creative horrid hockey of the early 90's.   As a Detroit fan Slava was amazing to watch.  His leadership on that team cannot be overstated.  He was the one that brought that team together.  Swedes, Russians and Canadians did not all get along back then.  It was still the Don Cherry everyone needs to play like a canadian time.  To a man that team loves Papa Bear.  

Federov was incredible and a better scorer that Datsyuk, but he was lazy guy so Datsyuk was better longer.  Bure was amazing.  He was hurt a lot unfortunately.

Ovie beats them all due to longevity and how much harder it is to score in his era.  He cannot be judged by Cups as the Salary Cap has made putting together a Great team much harder.

Regarding Kharlamov, i went back and found article about him being top 5 of all time.  Serge Savard said that so i trust it.  Wish i could have asked Scotty and Pat burns when i was able to spend time with them.  Leads to:

Unrelated but neat anecdote:  I was able to spend time with Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns.  One question i asked was Serge Savard or larry robinson a better payer.  They both hemmed and hawed but agreed it was Serge.  Burns especially said he was just so strong, smart and hard to play against.  Surprised me.

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I took this as a "for one game in their prime" vote.  Who was the greatest on their greatest day - my pick is Bure (fully aware that he may threaten to sit out the game unless I drop off 1 Million cash to his private locker room an hour before puck drop)

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