Skip to main content

Remembering Ruslan Salei

One of the top Belorussian players, Ruslan Salei was a solid and physical NHL defenseman. His 917 NHL game career was best remembered with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, though he also played with Florida, Colorado and Detroit.

Unfortunately for me, I probably never appreciated Salei for being as good of a player as he actually was. I still tend to remember him for early career controversies where he hit Mike Modano from behind, sending the defenseless superstar awkwardly into the boards. His reputation was cemented early after the scary play and the resulting 10 game suspension. It was a bit of an unfair reputation as for the most part Salei was a reliable and steady physical defender.

Interestingly, Salei and Modano became teammates in 2011, as the Detroit Red Wings sought veteran help from both of them. Even though incident happened 12 years earlier, Salei was certain to make sure there was no hard feelings.

Both veterans were let ago after the season. Salei opted to go to Russia and signed with the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Unfortunately he never got to play. The team's plane crashed as they prepared to open the season on the road. All but one member of the team perished.

For Salei's family and friends it must have been a heart wrenching moment. Yaroslavl was opening the season in Minsk, Belarus, close to Salei's home. During the early confusion in the breaking news of the plane crash and the team's demise, there were conflicting reports as to whether Salei was on the plane or not. There was some thought that he had travelled earlier, perhaps by car, to Minsk to spend some extra time with family.

Unfortunately, Salei indeed was on that doomed plane. He was 36 years old.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M