Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Born on this date in 1960, Vladimir Krutov was a member of the famed KLM line, along with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov, which dominated Soviet and international hockey the 1980's.
The KLM Line
Krutov, a left winger, played for CSKA Moscow, better known in North America as Central Red Army, beginning with one game in 1977-78 and a half season the following year, in which he scored his first goal before becoming a full time member of the Red Army squad in 1979.
1981-82 would see Krutov set a personal high with 37 goals and 66 points in 46 games and was Red Army's leading scorer with 53 points in 1982-83. CSKA would win the Soviet League championship in each and every of Krutov's 12 season's with the club. Additionally, he led the league in goals in 1984, 1986 and 1987, was named to the USSR All-Star Team every year from 1982 to 1988 and was the Soviet Player of the Year in 1987.
His Soviet League success was duplicated in international play as well, beginning with a pair of gold medals in the World Junior Tournament in 1979 and 1980 while leading the tournament in scoring both years.
Krutov's senior international career began with a silver medal at the 1980 Olympic Games prior to a run of five consecutive gold medals at the 1981 World Championships, the 1981 Canada Cup, the 1982 and 1983 World Championships and the 1984 Olympics.
1984 Olympic Champions
A third place finish in the 1984 Canada Cup and a bronze medal in the 1985 World Championships followed. The Soviet Union would rebound with another gold medal at the 1986 World Championships, where Krutov was named Best Forward, before a pair of silver medals at the 1987 Worlds were Krutov led the tournament in goals and points and was named Best Forward for the second consecutive year, and the 1987 Canada Cup where he was named to the All-Star Team.
The 1988 Olympics concluded with another gold medal after finishing the tournament at the leading scorer and Krutov finished his international career in style with his fifth World Championship gold in 1989.
Krutov finished with 150 goals in 254 international games and his medal count shows ten gold medals, three silver and two bronze, which included at least one gold at each of the World Juniors (2), World Championships (5), the Canada Cup (1) and the Olympics (2).
He was one of the first wave of Soviet players allowed to join the NHL, playing for the Vancouver Canucks in 1989-90, where he played for just one season, scoring 11 goals and 34 points in 61 games while he tried to adjust to life and the sudden freedom he was afforded in North America after an entire career in which he was required to train 10 months out of the year. It was unfortunate that Krutov's attempt to play in the NHL was viewed as unsuccessful after such a stellar career in the Soviet Union since it tainted many North American's opinion of Krutov based on just a single season late in his career.
Krutov played very little hockey in 1990-91, just one regular season game and three playoff games with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland. After another season with ZSC, he moved to Ostersund IK in the lower levels of the Swedish hockey leagues for three seasons and wrapped up his career with Brunflo IK before retiring.
He was named to the Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981 and the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2010.
Today's featured jersey is a 1987 Soviet Union National Team Vladimir Krutov jersey as worn by Krutov during Rendez-vous '87, a two-game series held in Quebec City on February 11 and 13, 1987 which replaced that season's NHL All-Star Game which featured a team of NHL All-Stars against the Soviet National Team.
Game 1 went to the NHL All-Stars 4-3 and the Soviets came back to win Game 2 5-3 in which Krutov scored a pair of goals, including the game winner at 9:19 of the third period.
This jersey is typical of the Soviet style, with a minimum of adornments and simple one color names and numbers, made to look even more spartan when compared to the flashy NHL All-Star jerseys it competed against.
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions
Today's video section begins with Krutov scoring against the Montreal Canadiens on December 31, 1982 in an exhibition game.
Here Krutov scores for the Soviets in Rendez-vous '87 to put the Soviets ahead 2-0 followed by his game winning goal to make it 4-2 on the Soviets way to a 5-3 win.
In some truly rare footage, Krutov scores on a penalty shot for the ZSC Lions, quite possibly the slowest approach in the history of hockey.