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07-01-2011, 09:42 PM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Jersey
Country: United States
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Let me comment on the "Best Russian Centerman of All Time."

Igor Larionov. His name is frequently mentioned, but let's face it: he was a very limited player. Don't get me wrong, I'm a lifelong Red Wings fan, and he was amazing with them and certainly with Red Army. One of the smartest players to ever play the game, an incredible passer, with the great vision, a terrific hockey sense, and pretty much the classiest player in history. Another thing that worked for him was that he mostly played in the systems that suited him (CSKA and DRW). But he was slow, had no shot, and could be intimidated. He was hardly ever a game breaker (except for that Triple OT in 2002).

Sergey Fedorov. Skills-wise, the best center Russia has ever known. Superb skating, speed, and shot. An elite two-way forward, an excellent passer and a frequent game-breaker. His work ethic, however, was questionable, in spite of turning it on when it mattered most (stellar playoff performances and 08). But when he tanked, he tanked (DRW 99-01, Anaheim/Columbus years) and was nowhere to be seen.

Pavel Datsyuk. Almost as good as Larionov in passing and game-sense, surpasses him in stick-handling, shooting, speed, and defensive play. Almost as good as Fedorov in skating and defensive play, surpasses him in work ethic and stick-handling. He doesn't have quite the pedigree as the other two (2 SC, Olympic bronze), but he didn't have the same support cast as they did either. He is only now assuming the leadership role. The next few years will make-or-break his legacy.

Last edited by Sentinel: 07-02-2011 at 08:57 AM.
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