Sunday, December 13, 2015
To celebrate Igor Larionov's retirement as a player after a 27 year career, a star-studded lineup of players from both sides of the hockey world gathered at Moscow's Luzhniki Arena on this date in 2004.
During his long and illustrious career, Larionov won two World Junior Championship gold medals, a Canada Cup gold medal, four World Championship gold medals, three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals (one of only four players to win all five), eight Soviet championships, eight European Club championships (one of only two men to win all seven titles) and was one of the first Soviet players to leave to play in the NHL.
Many of Larionov's former Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils teammates played for "Team World" against a team made up of Russian players of note with NHL experience.
An idea which originated with former Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman saw Larionov play the first two periods of the game for "Team Russia" before being "traded" to Team World for Steve Yzerman, who went on to score two goals in the third period to lead the Russians to a 6-5 win!
Larionov sporting the colors of Team World following being "traded"
Players for Team World were goaltender Chris Osgood, Brendan Shanahan, Ray Whitney, Scott Gomez, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Darren McCarty, Mathieu Dandenault, Chris Chelios, Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Martin Brodeur, Jiri Fischer, Steve Duschesne, Luc Robitaille, Jay Pandolfo, Martin Lapointe as well as captain Yzerman followed by Larionov with Team World coached by Bowman.
Those who skated for Team Russia were Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov, Oleg Tverdovsky, Sergei Brylin, Sergei Samsonov, Pavel Datsyuk, Valeri Kamensky, Slava Kozlov, Viktor Kozlov, captain Slava Fetisov, Evgeni Nabokov, Andrei Nikolishin, Boris Mironov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Vladimir Malakov, Danny Markov, Alexi Zhamnov, Sergei Nemchinov and, of course, Larionov plus Yzerman. Team Russia was coached by Russian legends Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov.
Larionov celebrates a goal with Zhamnov
During the game Nikolishin opened the scoring with a goal just 50 seconds into the first period. He then assisted on Samsonov's goal at 5:30 before McCarty cut the margin to 2-1 for Russia with a goal at 7:16. Team World evened the score at 1:30 of the second when Robitaille scored from Zetterberg only to have Russia regain a two goal lead with goals by the honored Larionov (from Malakov and Fedorov) at 5:19 and Kovalchuk (from Datsyuk and Samsonov) at 10:34.
Larionov scores his goal during the second period while still a member of Team Russia
The "Russian" Yzerman pushed the lead to three when he scored at the 20 second mark of the third period from Fetisov.
Yzerman wearing the blue of Team Russia in the third period
Fischer scored for Team World unassisted at 10:54 and Yzerman responded with an assist from Slava Kozlov at 16:27 before Lapointe's goal from the "traded" Larionov at 16:49 to get Team World back within two. Robitallie closed out the scoring at 17:01 to make the final margin 6-5.
Yzerman and Larionov embrace following the contest
Both teams pose for a group picture after the game
Today's featured jersey is a 2004 Team Russia Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn during the first two periods of his farewell game in Moscow on this date in 2004 when Larionov played for his home country.
This clever jersey was based on the style worn when the Soviet Union first entered the international scene at the 1954 World Championships where they immediately won a gold medal in Stockholm, Sweden while wearing blue jerseys prior to adopting their iconic red sweaters. The main difference, other than the obvious sponsorship logos, is the substitution of "Russia" in Cyrillic in place of the original CCCP cresting.
Following the game the jerseys worn by the players were signed and auctioned off, raising $30,000 for the Larionov Youth Hockey Charitable Foundation to support amateur hockey players in both North America and Russia.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2004 Team World Igor Larionov Farewell Game jersey as worn in the third period of his farewell game in Moscow after Larionov joined the World team to play a period with many of his former NHL teammates in exchange for Yzerman, who joined Team Russia.
Scoring somewhat lower marks in the creativity department, the Team World jersey is a copy of the template used in the 2004 NHL All-Star Game held in January of that year.
A DVD of the game was produced and today's video section is a preview of the DVD. Sadly, despite the banner on the video, IgorLarionov.com is no longer an active website.
In this next clip, Larionov scores in triple overtime in Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals.
This next feature is on the occasion of Larionov being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
No mention of Larionov would be complete without a mention of his daughters Alyonka and Diana, seen here singing prior to an outdoor legends game in Moscow's Red Square.