January 14, 2014

International Hockey Legends of the Day

Each day until the Sochi Olympics I will be highlighting two international hockey legends. One will be Russian, the other will be an international star. 

Russian Hockey Legend of the Day 

Anatoli Firsov - It is a common argument by proud Canadians that if Bobby Orr was not unable to play due to injury, the 1972 Summit Series would have been a much different story. Orr was at the prime of his career and the best in the world.

Or was he?

Anatoli Firsov also missed the 1972 Summit Series showdown between the Soviets and the NHL. He is of legendary status in Russian hockey. Some old time Russian observers will tell you he was the best ever. Legendary coach Anatoli Firsov was probably his biggest fan. Then again, he was also Tarasov's most dedicated disciple.

Firsov is one of only 4 players to have his number retired in Soviet hockey (Bobrov, Tretiak and Kharlamov being the others). Firsov was perhaps a faster skater than Kharlamov, who of course wowed Canadian audiences with awesome speed. It was said that Firsov's fast skates were only out-paced by his mind, as he was always a play or two ahead of everyone else on the ice. He was also known for creativity, especially in his variety of shot selection.

International Hockey Legend of the Day

Romania is not exactly known as a hockey power, but they do have a long albeit thin history with the game.

And if early pioneer Constantine "Bazu" Cantacuzino does not top the list of greatest players, he certainly tops the list of most fascinating life story.

Cantacuzino played from 1928 through to World War II. He was described as a swift skater, crafty stickhandler and intelligent attacker. He led the Romanians through five World Championship tournaments.

But off the ice is where his story turns really amazing. He was described as a real-life playboy. He was the kind of guy they would have to get Leonardo Dicaprio to act as if they ever made a movie about him. And the really could.


Ash H said...

I love your site. It's awesome and very well done and I frequent it a lot. I'd love to "buy you a cup of coffee" (lol) when I'm a bit more financially stable. Watch for it, I'm a man of my word.
Until then, please keep gracing us hockey-lovers with your great writing and research. It really is a great site...

Joe Pelletier said...

Thanks Ash! Keep reading - I've got a lot of good stuff coming....