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02-20-2011, 03:15 AM
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My 20 cents on Krutov...

I don't quite understand why he is singled out of all the Soviet greats as having been a likely drug user - even if he is the biggest suspect of the bunch. There has been talk about the Soviet players using illegal substances already since the Seventies (at least). Many old Finnish players have either hinted or have been quite frank about it; not just that the Soviet players - especially some defensemen - were 'inhumanly' strong on the ice, but also the deteriorating health of some old USSR players has been seen as some sort of proof of this.

As far as Krutov's role on the KLM line goes, I remember something of those times (1980s) and me and most of my mates ranked them in this order: Makarov, Krutov, Larionov. It can very well be that we were too young to appreciate Larionov's (supposedly) superior hockey mind and two-way play. But then again, I have seen numerous games from the Eighties in the past few years and I still rank them as so.

During the 1987 Canada Cup finals, the 'color commentator' Ron Reusch talks about Krutov having already surpassed Makarov as the best Soviet forward. I'm not a huge fan of Reusch, and I'm not even sure that Krutov was ever better than Makarov (except for some single tournaments), but that says something about Krutov and his level of play around 1987 anyway. And when someone occasionally replaced Larionov on the top line, like Victor Tyumenev did in the 1985-86 CSKA-NHL series, it did not seem to have any negative effect whatsoever; the line was as devastating as ever. Of course, it was only one short series, but anyway...

Even though he didn't have Makarov's finesse, Krutov was almost as dangerous 1-on-1 and could create his own scoring chances. I do think that he was slightly more inconsistent than his linemates, though.

Last edited by VMBM: 02-20-2011 at 03:34 AM.
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