When Canadians were introduced to Russian hockey at the Summit Series in 1972, many were surprised at the skill and grace the Soviet’s exuded.
They rarely retaliated when they were met with physical adversity. Their stoic nature was amazing to watch, but they were labelled as “soft”. Many experts thought you couldn’t win a Stanley Cup with Russians on the roster.
Boy, have things changed. This past season, Alex Ovechkin became the first Russian player to captain his team to the Stanley Cup. He also won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.
On this episode of the Hockey Night in Canada podcast, we are talking about the evolution of the Russian hockey player in the NHL.
WATCH | Meehan talks about bringing Mogilny to the NHL:
We spoke to former Sabres general manager Gerry Meehan, who was involved in a James Bond-like mission to bring Russia’s Alexander Mogilny to the United States.
We also chat with Ken Holland, who has been with the Detroit Red Wings for 36 years as a scout and GM. He was directly involved in getting some big-name Russians into the NHL.
Those Russians played an integral part in the Red Wings championships in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
The Hockey Night In Canada podcast is a weekly CBC Sports production.
In each episode, host Rob Pizzo is joined by colourful characters within hockey to discuss great moments and great players and talk about today’s stars. The Hockey Night podcast brings you beyond the boxscore with insight you won’t find anywhere else.
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