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02-09-2011, 01:19 AM
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Monsieur Anatoli Vasilievich Firsov

Russian Name: Анатолий Фирсов
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 154 lbs
Position: Left Wing / Centre
Shoots: Right
Date of Birth: February 01, 1941
Place of Birth: Moscow , USSR
Date of Death: July 24, 2000 (Age: 59)

Soviet League Champion (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
Soviet League Finalist (1967, 1969)
European Cup Champion (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
Olympic Gold Medalist (1964, 1968, 1972)
IIHF WEC-A Gold Medalist (1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971)
Soviet First All-Star Team Left Wing (1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
Soviet Second All-Star Team Left Wing (1971)
IIHF WEC-A Best Forward (1967, 1968, 1971)
IIHF WEC-A All Star Team1 (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971)
Soviet Most Valuable Player (1968, 1969, 1971)
Olympics Most Valuable Player (1968)
Russian Hockey Hall of Fame (1964)
IIHF Hall of Fame (1998)
#11 retired by the Soviet Hockey
1- The best 3 forwards were selected on the team, independently of their respective position

Domestic League:

No Data:
Game Played: 1958-1967
Assists: 1958-1961, 1963-64, 1967-1971
Penalty minutes: 1958-1961, 1963-64, 1968-71

Top-10 Scoring (1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 6th, 9th, 9th)
Top-10 Goalscoring (1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th)
Top-10 Assist (1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 9th)
Top-10 Penalty minutes (2nd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 6th)

Finishes in his last two complete hockey season, only complete database available
- His scoring finishes are affected positively due to having his assists total record in 1961-62, 1962-63, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67
- His scoring finishes are affected negatively due to not having his assists record 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1963-64, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70, 1970-71

Assists Results in Detail:

YearsAgeAss.Rank on TotalNotable(Age)
1961-6220321 on 61 
1962-632171 on 21 (+0%)Vitali Davydov(23) Alexander Ragulin(22)
1963-6422  NO DATA
1964-6523131 on 22 (+46.2%)Vitali Davydov(24) Alexander Ragulin(23)
1965-6624111 on 22 (+27.3%)Vitali Davydov(25) Boris Mikhailov(21) Vladimir Petrov(18) Alexander Ragulin(24)
1966-6725111 on 23 (+18.2%)Vitali Davydov(26) Boris Mikhailov(22) Vladimir Petrov(19) Alexander Ragulin(25)
1967-6826  NO DATA
1968-6927  NO DATA
1969-7028  NO DATA
1970-7129  NO DATA
1971-7230109 on complete 
1972-7331820 on complete 

International Games:

(Exhibition Game, Olympics & World Championship)
Games by Opposing Countries
United States1514
West Germany1216
East Germany1013

World Championship:

# ParticipationGPGAPTSPIM

Years in Detail:

1966-67711T-1st111st (+27.3%)221st (+13.6%)2
1968-6910101st (+10%)410th14T-1st6
1970-7110111st (+9.1%)82nd191st (+10.5%)4


In the 1960's and 1970's, no professional hockey player from North America were playing in the Olympics. Therefore, the World Championship and the Olympics should be viewed as equal tournaments in term of quality.

# ParticipationGPGAPTSPIM

Years in Detail:

19687121st (+50%)411th161st (+25%)

Top-10 All-Time Scorer at the Olympics

RankPlayers Name# ParticipationCountryPTS
1Harry Watson1Canada46
2Vlastimil Bubnik4Czechoslovakia37
2Teemu Selanne5Finland37
4Valeri Kharlamov3Russia35
5Boris Alexandrov3Russia33
6Anatoli Firsov3Russia32
7Vladimir Krutov3Russia31
8Wally Halder1Canada29
8Viacheslav Fetisov3Russia29
8Sven Johansson4Sweden29
- Different sources indicate different results for Vlastimil Bubnik and Harry Watson

All-Time Top 10 Soviet Players at the Olympics

Ranked by the IIHF (2002)
RankPlayers NamePos
1Vladislav TretiakG
2Anatoli FirsovLW
3Slava FetisovD
4Vitaly DavydovD
5Boris MikhailovRW
6Valeri KharlamovLW
7Sergei MakarovRW
8Vladimir KrutovLW
9Alexei KasatonovD
10Alexander MaltsevRW

- All-Time Winner of most Olympics Gold Medal (3), alongside Vitali Davydov, Viktor Kuzkin, Alexander Ragulin and Vladislav Tretiak
- Since 1952, no one has scored more goals in a single Olympics tournament than Firsov 12 goals at the 1968 Olympics
- Anatoli Firsov is the All-Time goalscoring leader at the Olympics, with 18
- Firsov is 2nd All-Time in Olympics scoring by a left winger, with 32 points in three Olympics. He's only bettered by Valeri Kharlamov 36 points in 17 games

Awards Nomination:

Most Valuable Player

- The award was first presented in the 1967-68 season

Sturminator Analyse Firsov's MVP Nomination:
Originally Posted by Sturminator
We begin to see an interesting incongruity between Firsov's scoring finishes in the Soviet League and his MVP voting finishes in same. He finishes 2nd in goals on the way to his 1st MVP award (67-68) - ok, no problems so far. He finishes 5th in goals and again wins the MVP the next year (68-69). Ok. He finishes 5th in goals again in 69-70, but drops to 7th in MVP voting. He wins his 3rd Soviet League MVP award the next season (70-71) without placing in the top-5 scorers, and is not even an all-star. [sic 2nd All-Star]So what's happening here? Firsov's third and final MVP award is particularly interesting, given that he wasn't one of the league's top scorers, nor was he a 1st team all-star. It is reminiscent of Ted Kennedy's Hart season, or Bobby Clarke's first Hart in 72-73, in which he was only a 2nd team all-star at center. Was Firsov that kind of player? The differences between his performances in 68-69 and 69-70 seem to have nothing to do with scoring (both times he placed 5th), and yet in one season he was 1st in MVP voting and in the other 7th. Are the Soviet MVP voters taking more than scoring into account when casting their MVP votes? It appears so.

Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Tarasov always admired Firsov, and together they were a fortunate combination. They both valued hockey above anything else in their lives. For them, hockey was where you could be creative and invent new strategies every day.For Tarasov, Firsov's total dedication to hockey was backed by a unique combination of abilities. Firsov's style of play was based on his speed in several aspects of the game. The first was his ability to think fast. Firsov's game was a continuous flow of actions. In tough situations, he got his bearings instantly and came up with the most unexpected solutions. He also displayed uncanny speed in executing any technical maneuver in handling or passing the puck. And finally there was his terrific skating speed.

Each of these abilities compounded the others. During a play, his thoughts and actions were synchronous and usually resulted in a complete and correct solution.Firsov's game on the ice consisted of a blend of his own peculiar manner of back and forth skating, stickhandling and sudden and covert passes topped of with a variety of shots on goal. He moved all the time without knowing it, even when taking a shot on goal. He was especially good at the trick of "losing" the puck by letting it slide towards his foot. Naturally the opposing defenseman would make a grab for it, but Firsov would pass the puck with his skate up to the blade of his stick, all the time picking up speed.

No one was as selflessly dedicated to hockey as Firsov or as hard on himself and fanatical in workouts. He even augmented the tough drills designed by Tarasov. Coming down the ice with the puck, he would perform a variety of hops, skips and jumps at the same time.
Originally Posted by The Red Machine
Of all the Russian players Seth Martin faced in the 1960s, none, he said, compared with Firsov. To Martin, he was the Gretzky of his time, a creative scoring machine. Firsov wasn't a big man but possessed a whiplash shot. An unselfish player, he enjoyed setting up goals as much as scoring them. The Soviet coaches had tried teaching their players a "skate-stick" feint. The player would pass his stick over the puck, as if missing it, and then, when the defending player went for it, kick it around him with the skate. Only Firsov would perfect it.
Originally Posted by 1972 Summit Series: A September to Remember
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. Russia too was missing one of their biggest stars, if not their biggest: Anatoli Firsov

Firsov was perhaps faster than Kharlamov, who of course wowed Canadian audiences with awesome speed. It was Firsov's scoring exploits that helped establish the Soviet Union's dominance of the international hockey scene. Firsov, along with names like Vyatcheslav Sharshinov, Vsevolod Bobrov and Victor Populanov paved the ways for the powerfully awesome Red Army squads that would prove that they were the equals of the professionals in the National Hockey League.

In all fairness, by the time 1972 rolled around, Firsov was near the end of his career and was not the dominant player in Soviet hockey at that time. The torch had been handed to Valeri Kharlamov earlier in 1972 as Kharlamov led the Red Army to Olympic Gold. The Soviets believed that young hockey players were better because of their fitness level and biological clock, and almost as a rule would retire hockey players in their early 30s. That changed after the 1972 and 1974 Summit Series after they saw first hand the greatness Canadian aging stars like Gary Bergman or Gordie Howe.

Firsov likely would have been a part of the 1972 series had Anatoli Tarasov been the coach. Tarasov and Vsevolod Bobrov, who ended up coaching the 1972 team, were undergoing a power struggle at the time, and Bobrov was winning at that point and time. Firsov however was a staunch Tarasov loyalist, and refused to participate in the series against Canada. The official reason for his absence was injury.Anatoli Firsov never had the chance to prove to the world that he could play and excel against North American professionals. That's a shame because that means only a precious few saw perhaps the greatest Russian hockey player ever.
Originally Posted by International Hockey Legends
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 was perhaps a faster than Kharlamov, who of course wowed Canadian audiences with awesome speed. It was said that Firsov's fast skaters 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.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
No one was as selflessly dedicated to hockey as Firsov or as hard on himself and fanatical in workouts. He even augmented the tough drills designated by Anatoli Tarasov. Coming down the ice with the puck, he would perform a variety of hops, skips and jumps at the same time.

He strengthened his body by choosing the roughest, toughest defense men as his opponents, Alexander Ragulin and Viktor Kuzkin.
Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey: Time Capsule
Anatoli Firsov One of the great early Soviet forwards, Firsov was named a Directorate Award winner at the World Championships three times in five years (1967, 1968, 1971) and led the Worlds in scoring three consecutive years (1967 to 1969).
Originally Posted by The Voice of Russia in New York City: Russia remembers Soviet star puckster
Hockey fans appreciated Firsov’s professionalism that often helped him score eyebrow-raising goals, which was, for example, the case with one scored during the decisive match between the USSR and Canada at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble. He managed to score a goal from a long distance without even looking at renowned Canadian keeper Seth Martin.

Being himself was Firsov’s trait that helped him to adequately perceive his skyrocketing popularity ratings in the 1960s, and that was especially thumbed up by his fellow players, fans and journalists.
Originally Posted by History of Russian Hockey – Part 1
The next torch-carrier of Soviet hockey was Anatoli Firsov. He was a forward and played from 1958 to 1974. Firsov was one of the best hockey players ever because of his brilliant skills and extremely hard slapshot. He also innovated many of the moves that today’s forwards use to beat defenders.
Originally Posted by The Globe and Mail; Boisterous Crowd Sees Red Impress With Passing Plays (12/27/1969)
Anatoli Firsov, the hard shooting Russian centre, played a strong, vigorous game, consistently setting up linemates Vladimir Vikulov and Victor Popupanov.
Originally Posted by Chidlovski: 1974 Summit Series
Known for his booming slapshot, Firsov might have rivalled Canada's Bobby Hull if he had been permitted to play in the NHL; enjoyed three straight Olympic gold medals from '64 to '72.
Originally Posted by Vellu Ketola - Ässien Ässä (authorized biography on Veli-Pekka Ketola) by Jyrki Laelma, 1979
A perfect hockey player? To me Anatoli Firsov was one. Anatoli had it all. [...] That man (Firsov) was a shooter, skater, passer, playmaker. And he was tough - which was rare among the Russian forwards at the time. [...] A top player in every way; he had incredible vision.At his best, Kharlamov might have been a better 'solo artist' and a better dangler, but he lacks Firsov's skills in many other areas.

- ''Coming down the ice with the puck, he left his rivals dumbfounded by performing a variety of hops, skips and jumps at the same time. His famous feint, 'the club-skate-club' is still used by many in Russia and beyond." - Igor Romishevsky, Olympic champion and Firsov’s fellow hockey player

- ''I can hardly name another forward who could perform such a feint. It is still Greek to many defenders, which is why it is still in use." - Igor Romishevsky

- ''His persistent push for victory helped his fellow players put theirbest foot forward to prevail over their rivals. In this regard, Firsov contributed greatly to his team’s winning streak in the 1960-70s.'' - Igor Romishevsky

- ''A continuous succession of brilliant thoughts.'' - Anatoli Tarasov describing Firsov's game

- ''My first idols were Boris Mayorov and Anatoli Firsov. When I was growing up, they were big in our game.'' - Alexander Yakushev

- ''He's a star who never fell prey to the egoism of stardom." - Anatoli Tarasov

- ''He played with irrepressible rage.'' - Vladislav Tretiak

- ''I was also helped to the top by such world-renowned players as the brilliant forward Anatoli Firsov.'' - Vladislav Tretiak

- ''That devilish Russian!'' - Seth Martin

- ''On the other hand - well, I was now playing side by side with Anatoly Firsov and Vladimir Vikulov, teammates who ruled out the possibility of playing badly right out. I have learned a lot and benefited greatly from playing in a new group.'' - Valeri Kharlamov

- ''I have gained a new vision of ice hockey. Playing alongside a master of Anatoly Vasilyevich Firsov's calibre, I kept rediscovering many nuances of ice hockey - to put it in other terms, I got a deeper understanding of the tactical side of the game. Playing with new partners has taught me to be more thoughtful on the rink, to follow the plans laid out before the match more consistently, and to prepare for tactical formations thought out by the coaches in order to confuse the opponent in advance. In general, I became more circumspect and ceased to act rashly. - Valeri Kharlamov

- ''In virtually every match Vikulov and Firsov demonstrate their creativity, improvise, and confound the opponent with one riddle after another - they were also doing a great deal of work, and very eagerly so, pulling back whenever they would lose the puck. So if I had played more offensively with my former partners (Petrov and Mikhailov), caring little about defence, now that I was on ice alongside such eminent players, it would be embarrassing to carry on playing instead of going back and helping them. To play any different from how they played or to work any less on the rink would be tantamount to disrespecting them.'' - Valeri Kharlamov

- ''Probably Hull would win, but if they played two on two, it would be more interesting. Three on three, Firsov would win. Four on four, Firsov would win easily. Five on five, it wouldn’t even be a game.'' - Anatoli Tarasov, asked about who would win a one-on-one contest between Bobby Hull and Anatoli Firsov
Originally Posted by A Game In Crisis: Part 10 of 12
Tarasov’s point was that Hull’s terrific individual skills and sensational slapshot would be countered and bettered by the passing, playmaking and teamwork of the European player.

The 1972 Summit Series: Study of Anatoli Firsov Absence on the National Team:

The 1972 Summit Series was one of the most exciting hockey event to ever happen. As the best players of both Canada and Russia were facing each others, it should come as a surprise that one of the best hockey player of his generation, Anatoli Firsov, was left off the Russian squad. As multiples explanations were given after the event, I will try to rationalize the reasons why Firsov didn't play on the Summit Series. At first, the official reason given by the Russian authority is that, at the time of the event, Anatoli Firsov had sustained an injury which disabled him to play in the series. Almost four decades later, it is now well known that Firsov was fully healthy. The 1972 Summit Series website write that ''Both Firsov and Davydov had been officially listed as injured for the series, but it was later learned that Firsov wasn't injured.''

One of the first suggestion given as to why Firsov was left off the team is that his performances over the last few seasons did not warrant him to be on the squad. Let's take a closer look at this. At the end of the 1971 season, Firsov was awarded his third and final MVP awards as Russia most outstanding performer. However, it is quite difficult to understand how the 30 year old received the honour over legendary left winger Valeri Kharlamov. Indeed, Kharlamov finished first in the standing with 40 goals, a whole 23 goals over 9th place, veteran Firsov. It wouldn't be far fetched to believe that Firsov was a well more rounded hockey player than Kharlamov, but the dispensary in goalscoring is still quite astonishing. However, Firsov had played brilliantly on the international stage, finishing as the top scorer of the 1971 World Championship tournament while receiving the honour as the top forward of the tournament. If international play had an effect on the MVP results, then Firsov's award might not be that surprising after all. At last, it is also argued that Russians were giving extra points for style. Although historically it seemed like a valid point, it would difficult to apply in this situation, as the 24 years old Valeri Kharlamov was arguably the most exciting player in hockey. Nonetheless, Anatoli Firsov was still arguably the second best left winger in Russia. Indeed, Firsov was second in scoring among left winger in the 1970-71 season and third in the 1971-72 season, behind Kharlamov and talented Yuri Blinov. Looking at statistics alone, it's quite astonishing that a legend like Anatoli Firsov, perhaps the brainiest Russian player of All-Time, who could of bring leadership and experiences into the squad, was not deemed as one of the best four left winger in the country.

Taking his performances on the ice aside, two other reasons were retrospectively given. At first, after coach Anatoli Tarasov was left off the coaching staff for the National Team, both Firsov and Vitaly Davydov protested by refusing to play for the National Team. Firsov was very vocal about Tarasov departure, whom he taught as a father figure. ''Bobrov is a perfect nobody'' he stated, talking about Vsevolod Bobrov, the legendary hockey player who would coach in the Summit Series. It is unclear how Bodrov and assistant coach Boris Kulagin treated Firsov from the start, but Anatoli himself was definitely part of the problem. As he later recalled: ''We immediately got a gap. [...] I psychologically could not obey to other coaches. When they gave me an exercise, I either laughed at them in my soul, or, in reality, behaved so that they were angry at me; understood, that I, as they say, was making fools of them.'' It's not hard to imagine that friction existed between the coaching staff and Anatoli Firsov. It would be quite an coincidence that the two best players who were vocals on their disapproval of the new coaching staff, Firsov and Vitaly Davydov, were left off the Summit Series, both written down as injured. Anatoli remember how he was threated by the National Team: ''I was completely barred from visiting games themselves. These were directives of coaches Bobrov and Kulagin, because I would have psychologically prevented our team from winning over the Canadians, and therefore it was forbidden to me. [...] I was not allowed for the games. I had already been ''an enemy of the people,'' once I refused to play with these coaches and I was not let to the games.'' Martin Lawrence, the author of the book ''The Red Machine'', believes in that theory.The second reason given was that there had been rumour that Firsov was putting effort to defect in North America. Some 25 years after the end of his career, it was indeed revealed that Firsov had been contacted by Larry Regan in 1968. Regan was then the general manager of the Los Angeles Kings and they were holding discussions concerning Firsov's defection from the Soviet Union and playing in the National Hockey League. The arrangement fell through, as it is believed Russian authorities must have learned of this possibility. In the suppressed Communist Soviet Union, the story never been revealed until Gorbachev's Glasnost. This might also be a reason why Firsov was left off the team.

In retrospect, I believe it is difficult to agree that Anatoli Firsov was left off the the Summit Series, either due only to his degrading overall abilities on the ice or that he was in fact, injured. In my opinion, it is far more believable that a mixture of Firsov vocal dissatisfaction of the coaching situation and the rumours of him defecting to North America were the main reasons why he wouldn't compete in the Summit Series. It would also not be surprising that Anatoli Firsov just flat out refused to play in that series, as he did for the World Championship in 1972.

Biography, Professional Career & Personal Life:

Anatoli Vasilievich Firsov was born on February 1st, 1941, in Moscow, Soviet Union. Firsov had an unfortunate childhood. As he wrote in his autobiography: ''There were three kids in the family. My father was killed in the war when I was just a month old. My mother worked as a stoker at the kindergarten, and we didn't have any extra money.''

As a kid, he used to play 'bandy', a form of ice hockey using a ball, carving his own stick using cherry-trees in order to make a hook. As his family couldn't afford skates, Firsov had to fix a blade directly onto his boots. All this made his first few experiences on ice a difficult one: ''[...] That's why the leaders of our backyard team put me on the defense line. At that time, defensemen were considered to be second rate players. So kids without skates or a stick, and smaller kids, were put in that position.'' To his recollection, Firsov didn't learn that pucks existed until the age of 14 or 15 years old.Firsov believed he gain his skating abilities and speed by playing on the larger, 100 meters, bandy field: ''An ice-hockey player could stay in the field 1-5 minutes,'' he said, ''while we could play ice hockey about 5-7 minutes without leaving the field. Why? Because those same long distances of ice were working out our lungs.''

Already at a very young age, he established himself as a phenomenal hockey player. He played for the Zenit and Almaz home town teams and also for the Spartak club and the Krasnyi Bogatyr. To his recollection: ''For the 1st men team, I played guys who had already served in the Army, and I was taken, a boy of 11-12 years, too. Practically, I was not any worse than them.''Anatoli gives credits to his former coach, Alexey Ivanovich Igumnov, for learning him his first skills: ''When I came to Spartak, there was an outstanding coach there. He was called ''Satan'' in the Russian hockey. He gave my first skills already in the 2nd youth team. [...] gave me an opportunity to practice my hands and to learn to correctly put my body, feel where a goalkeeper is and certainly to feel weak places of a goalkeeper, how he holds a stick.''

At 19, he flew to Colorado with the Spartak in his first encounter with hockey outside his country: ''So these first meetings had left an impression for my entire lifetime. Then, we were coming, our boots with skates such that they were falling apart. We looked at American hockey players. Their speed capabilities were better, they manoeuvrer better, while we were not somehow used to everything. Although we had a first trio which met with them.''In the 1960's, talented hockey players had the choice to either serve their time in the army playing for the CSKA Moscow, SKA Leningrad or various other hockey clubs around the country, or enlist themselves into the regular army force, unable to play hockey for the next two years. For Firsov, the choice was very easy and in 1961, at the age of 20 years old, Firsov joined the CSKA Moscow, a team he would play with for the next 13 years. His coach at the time, Aleksandr Novokreshchenov, strongly suggested to go play with the CSKA, under the grip of Anatoli Tarasov, because: ''That gifts which you've got, only Tarasov can develop it.''

So Firsov first came to the Central Red Army and coach Tarasov as a scrawny kid, his bones protruded from under the thin layer of muscle. To Firsov, the training ''were the most horrible suffering. I came puny (67 kilograms), I was light. Technical and mental abilities were so much faster that physical capabilities were not good enough. And so Tarasov started 2-3 trainings per day with me. I did not imagine before what were these trainings. Guys, who were trained under Tarasov before that, sustained it. But I, during the first days, fell down after trainings and could not even stand up.'' Although Tarasov's training were gruesome to the newcomer, he persevered and after a certain while, he couldn't see himself taking a days off: ''First time under his leadership I could not train quietly; I could not understand what he demanded from me. But then, when he rooted me to love those trainings, I trained permanently until the age of 27. I did not understand how it was to not train once or twice a day. Even on vacations, when I went to Zhemchuzhnyi, there was a stairway of 150 steps. In the morning, I went down on my left foot, than on my right foot, then went to swim, made big exercises with a weight in the afternoon, played tennis in the evenings, forces permitting and run on a hill in the evenings.''

In the early 1960's, Anatoli Firsov and his teammate considered themselves professionals, and then definitely trained harder than any players in North America. Winning was always the most important thing for Firsov. Although they were sometimes rewarded with extra money when he and his teammate were able to collect many victories on their trips away from home, they always gave their best mostly for the love of playing the game. Hockey, for them, was everything: ''We devoted ourselves completely, without any pity to ourselves. [...] we forgot about families, about kids. We only knew that we only had a hockey stick. We went to bed and woke up thinking about hockey. During the latest years, my spouse was travelling along with me, but even she did not exist for me at that time. Even though she sat somewhere on a rostrum, I did not see anything. As soon as we went out to the field, we forgot everything. No matter what they shouted or what they hang out there. Communists or no Communists, we just had a game. That was the most important.''

In the mid-1960's, Firsov contributed to organizing the Golden Puck junior hockey tournament. He had repeatedly instructed young hopefuls to show their best traits when on ice and during training sessions, warning against envy, cowardice and spleen. It's in 1967, when Firsov won his third World & European Championship in a row, that he felt that Russia could compete with the best in the world: ''There was a first very strong impression in 1967 on a championship in Vienna, when the strongest team in the world played against us, the Canadians. This amateur team won four games from the Montreal Canadians. That's where we felt the strength of our hockey.''

Around the same period, it is clear that sports and politics were crossing path on a regular basis. The Russian ambassador in Sweden, Dima Maltsev, was keen to remember the players that winning could solve many political issues back in their country. However, that added pression didn't seemed to hinder their abilities, as the Russian team won the WEC six times between 1965 and 1971.

The last couple of years playing were bitter ones for Firsov. When Tarasov was left out of the National Team, Firsov never was able to cop with the new coaching staff: ''Once Tarasov was not taken, I, relating to him like to a father, just said, that I don't want to work with these coaches [...] I was devoted to Tarasov, and it was psychologically fixed at me that once there is no Tarasov, there won't be a victory. I already did not believe into any of other coaches.''After being left off the famous Summit Series and a couple of mediocre seasons, by his standard, later, Firsov hanged up his skates, 4 games into the 1973-74 seasons and decided to become an assistant coach for the CSKA team for the rest of the season.

During his playing days, in 1965 and 1968 precisely, Anatoli received two Orders of the Badge of Honor. That civilian award is still given to citizens of the USSR for outstanding achievements in production, scientific research or social, cultural and other forms of social activity. He also received an order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1972, an order given in the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service.

Before the 1987-88 season the Vancouver Canucks and the Soviet Union had reached an agreement allowing the NHL team to choose an assistant coach from four Soviet national team members. The deal was worked out between Vyacheslav Gavrilin, the Soviet Union's vice president of the State Committee of Sport and Physical Culture, and two members of the Canucks' board of directors: Frank Griffiths and Ray Perreault. The new assistant was to be chosen from among Firsov, Alexander Yakushev, Sergei Kapustin and Victor Shalimod. At the end, it seems that none were selected on the coaching staff. (I need confirmation?)

At year later, Firsov went into politics. In 1989, Firsov was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies, running on a policy of improving health conditions and sporting facilities. Hundreds of people were requesting his assistances and Firsov was renown for trying his best to answers the request of his electors. He served in the Russian parliament through the 1990's.

In the late 1990's, Firsov began creating large international Olympic school. His idea was that the more children were playing sports, the less they would be attracted to the vice of drugs, vodka and cigarettes: '' [...] in order to make an international strong nation. In general, if we have a strong nation of the world, we will have less weak and useless people. Therefore my task now, if I manage to, is to create an Olympic base. I will give away literally everything to deviate children from all these nasty things.''

Fun and Interesting Facts:
- Firsov first international game was on December 21st, 1962 against Czechoslovakia in Prague
- In the 1960's, Firsov was paid around 50$ a month
- During one world championship, Tarasov did not allow Anatoli Firsov to take a day or two off even though he had a fever of above 41 degrees celcius
- Firsov didn't smoked on drinked until the age of 27 or 28 years old
- Firsov is the Soviet player to ever record a hat trick in consecutive games at the Olympics (2/07/68 3 goals and 2/09/68 3 goals)
- In the 1972 WHA General Player Draft, Anatoli firsov was selected by the Calgary Broncos/Cleveland Crusaders
- Firsov last international game was on February 16th, 1972 against Japan in Toyko
- Firsov is one of only 4 players to have his number retired in Soviet hockey. Viacheslav Bobrov, Valeri Kharlamov and Vladislav Tretiak are the others
- Later in his life, he owned a hotel in Switzerland
- Anatoli Firsov was the hockey hero of Ulf Nilsson
- In Zhemchuzhnyi, there was a stairway of 150 steps named after Firsov


- ''I was lucky to see many professionals, to see professionals of that Original Six, to see both Maurice Richard and Henri Richard and many others, and Jacques Plante, an outstanding goalkeeper. Although many consider Vladislav Tretiak the strongest, I believe, that Plante was an outstanding goalkeeper. I happened to meet with Jacques Plante on an ice hockey field and me, not only me, but our entire team could not drive him a single puck past him at all.'' - Anatoli Firsov

- '' He was cruel on trainings, cruel to games. He did not admit sicknesses. [...] I played with a broken rib, like it is normal. He believed that if your legs pain, you must train on arms, if legs and arms pain, let even train on ears, but you must make a training. Even when I got a pneumonia, I could not stand up; three days later I went to world championship in Finland. So, for him disease did not exist. Full devotion to hockey. It was a real dictator.'' - Anatoli Firsov on Anatoli Tarasov method of training

- ''At Olympic games, we certainly always admired our sportsmen. We made very many trainings with wrestlers, because they are very abrupt, with boxers, with basketball players. But basketball players began to get very serious traumas and they stopped meeting with us, while with wrestlers and boxers we met to learn to strike back in our meetings with professionals. That was Tarasov's sickness: no matter with whom you meet, you should expose a little bit of boxing, should be able to strike back. In order to be able to strike back in a future meeting with professionals. - Anatoli Firsov

- ''No, there was never anything like this with hockey players. Even when I had a temperature 42 degree Celcius, I did not take neither aspirin nor anlagen.'' - Anatoli Firsov, when asked about steroids

IIHF: International Ice Hockey Federation
WEC-A: World & European Championship Pool A
WHA: World Hockey Association

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Special Thank You: Sturminator, VMBM

Last edited by EagleBelfour: 03-26-2011 at 11:33 PM.
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