Thursday, October 6, 2011
Born on this date in 1958 in the Soviet Union, Sergei Mylnikov began his professional career with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Soviet League but first gained recognition by winning consecutive gold medals at the 1977 and 1978 World Junior Tournament. He would play three additional seasons with Traktor before he tended the nets for SKA Leningrad in both 1980-81 and 1981-82 but returned to Chelyabinsk the following year.
During his second stint with Traktor, Mylnikov made his World Championship debut in 1985 winning bronze medal, competed in the Izvestia Cup tournament and then a second World Championships in 1986 where he earned a gold medal.
1987 proved to be a busy year for Mylnikov, as he was a member of the Soviet National Team for Rendez-Vouz '87 against the NHL All-Stars and the 1987 World Championships (silver) before becoming the starting goaltender at the 1987 Canada Cup later that year where he led the Soviets to the finals against Canada which included the epic three game final, all with 6-5 scores, including two overtime games and the winner coming with less than a minute and a half remaining in Game 3.
After participating in the Soviet League for Chelyabinsk, he made his next international appearance at the 1988 Olympic Games as the Soviets number one goaltender, going 7-1 on the way to backstopping the Soviets to their final Olympic gold medal.
For the 1988-89 season, Mylnikov played for Traktor for the seventh consecutive season, was added to the roster of the Soviet Red Army club for their tour of North America and concluded his season with his fourth World Championships and another gold medal following a perfect 7-0 record.
Later that year, thanks to the change in the political situation in the Soviet Union, Mylnikov was drafted in the 7th round of the NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. He found the transition to North America to be a difficult one, and it reflected in his performance, as in 10 games he posted a regrettable 1-7-2 record in what amounted to a lost season.
He rejoined the national team for the World Championships, where he regained his form with a 4-1 record and a 1.71 goals against average which earned him his third World Championships gold medal in his final international appearance.
He would rejoin Traktor for the 1990-91 season before joining Torpedo Yaroslavl for the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. His playing days would conclude with two seasons with Säters IF in the Swedish third division before his retirement.
Mylnikov was inducted into the Russian and Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.
Today's featured jersey is a 1989 Soviet National Team Sergei Mylnikov jersey as worn during the World Championships where Mylnikov was a perfect 7-0 on his way to the second of his three World Championship gold medals.
After wearing the spartan red and white style at the 1988 Olympics with CCCP straight across the chest and contained within a pair of horizontal lines, this new, modern style was introduced with the lettering as well as sleeve and waist stripes not only going up with a diagonal slant, but for the first time the addition of a third color, yellow.
This would be the final jersey worn by the Soviet Union, which included the infamous occasion where the Soviet World Junior team would start the 1992 World Junior Tournament only to have their country cease to exist while they were away winning gold!
This same style was worn at the 1992 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, only with the "CCCP" lettering removed, but the chest stripes still perfectly outlining the absent lettering.
Today's video section contains action from the Soviet Union against the United States from the 1988 Olympics in Calgary with Mylnikov in goal for the Soviets and a nice goal by Slava Fetisov.
This next clip is from the 1987 Canada Cup, where Mylnikov was in goal for the Soviets during the epic Game 3 of the finals, a dramatic 6-5 win for the Canadians on home ice.