January 09, 2014

International 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 TarasovAnatoli Vladimirovitch Tarasov is regarded as the architect of the Soviet Union's powerful hockey empire. Yet he alienated the Soviet hockey higher-ups enough to land him in hot water several times, including for the 1972 Summit Series.

Tarasov was a product of Soviet hockey himself. He was a workmanlike winger who was overshadowed by the flashy Vsevolod Bobrov. Tarasov lacked Bobrov's natural skill, but made up for with an incredible understanding of the game and a willingness to experiment. 

The two would continue their mostly friendly rivalry for years off the ice as well. Both became successful head coaches. Tarasov coached his country's national team to nine straight world amateur championships and three consecutive Olympic titles before he retired after his team's gold win at Sapporo in 1972. He was the undisputed king of Soviet hockey until he was abruptly unseated shortly after the 1972 Olympic win and shortly before the 1972 Summit Series showdown with the Canadians.

Here's the full Anatoli Tarasov feature.

International Hockey Legend of the Day

Raimo HelminenDid you know that Finland's Raimo Helminen has played in more Olympics than any other hockey player?

In 2002 at the Salt Lake games Helminen became the first hockey player - and just the sixth Olympian overall - to compete in six different Olympic games.

Helminen first competed in the Olympics in 1984 in Sarajevo. He also represented Finland at the 1988 games in Calgary, 1992 games in Albertville, 1994 games in Lillehammer, and 1998 games in Nagano.

He won a silver medal in Calgary and back-to-back bronze medals in Lillehammer and Nagano.

(Note: Countryman Teemu Selanne will officially join Helminen with six Olympic competitions when the puck drops in Sochi)

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