May 21, 2009

Memories of Slava Bykov

The Montreal Gazette made me very happy on Wednesday.

Reporter Pat Hickey (no, not the former NHL player) talked about Russian reports that Vyacheslav Bykov and Igor Zakharian, the head and assistant coaches of the Russian national team, were possible coaching candidates for the Montreal Canadiens. Russian media leaks tend to be erroneous to say the least, but they have Zakharian suggesting an offer was on the table, but the Russian coaching tandem opted for oil rich Ufa of the KHL instead.

The Montreal Canadiens have had no comment. But Bykov does meet two standards for the Habs. He is fluent in French, as he learned the language while starring as a player with Fribourg in the Swiss league. He is also a very successful coach, capturing back to back world championships and leading a Russia team that many people consider the favorites to win the 2010 Olympic gold medal.

Montreal does have a lot of Russian players of late, so maybe it is not so far fetched. But Regardless of the accuracy of the Russian story and quotes, the news made me happy as it allowed me the opportunity to share some memories of my favorite Soviet player of the 1980s.

Bykov, along with Andrei Khomutov especially and later Valery Kamesnky, centered a great line of incredible chemistry. They played a smooth, uninterrupted style of game. Their hockey truly was beautiful hockey, an absolute joy to watch. Their criss-crossing skating with dazzling passing displays dizzied the best of defenses and wore down the opponents. The only thing more nimble than their feet was their hands.

I share more of my memories here with the Vyacheslav Bykov full biography.

I've also had the time to remember some other international hockey stars: Valeri Vasiliev, Erich Kuhnhackl, Alexander Maltsev, Mike Eruzione, Jimmy Foster, Bibi Torriani, and the unique story of twin brothers Frantisek and Steve Tikal.

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