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10-07-2011, 11:01 AM
Rob Scuderi
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The Mallards select C Viktor Yakushev

x2 1st Soviet League All-Star Team
x1 3rd Soviet League All-Star Team

x1 Olympic Gold Medalist
x5 WC Gold Medalist
x1 WC All-Star Team ('63-'64)

x1 Russian League Goal Leader ('59)
- 162 Goals in 400 Russian League Games
- Led Russians In Goals at 1964 Olympics
- Led Russians In Goals at 1959 Worlds
- Led Russians In Assists, 2nd in Points, at 1965 Worlds
- 28 Goals, 29 Assists, 57 Points in 57 International games
- 36th in goals, 31st in games with Russian National Team
-High character individual, stayed with hometown Lokomotiv Moscow rather than moving to a better club, played any role asked of him, ultimate team player
-20 years of professional hockey in USSR, including minors at end of career when Lokomotiv Moscow was no longer in the top division

Originally Posted by Kings of the Ice
Viktor Yakushev was a unique hockey player not only in the Soviet Union but internationally. The circumstances of his career are even more remarkable than the many pecularities of the game. He played for only one team Lokomotiv Moscow, which in 1961 was among the top three in the SSR. he played until age 42, by which time Lokomotiv was reduced to a minor league team that folded after he left.

At the World Championships, he played for the USSR eight times in six different lineups. It is worth noting the character of the time, the lineups and the morals that prevailed then. Anatoli Tarasov, the virtual ruler of the nationals, had whipped into shape a whole detachment of candidates from his own local CSKA club for the national lineup, capitalizing on the competitive pride of each candidate. tarasov virtually ignored the forwards from Chernyshev's club, even though as Dynamo coach he was the senior coach of the nationals. Dynamo's best forward, Yurzinov, only made it to the Worlds twice. Tarasov also seemed to enjoy breaking up the talented lines of Spartak Moskow in order to weaken his competitors in the domestic championships.

Tarasov used Yakushev as a pawn in his political game because he wasn't a threat to his CSKA club. Yet Tarasov valued the Lokomotiv forward because Yakushev played a key role for the nationals, not just by handling problems and performing well. In 1963, when the Canadians managed to bring the score from 4-0 to 4-2 in the final game, the Soviets faced losing the Championship if they allowed another goal. Yakushev fought for the gold right to the final seconds of the game. A year later at the Olympics, the extremely loyal and conscientious Yakushev was assigned the job of guarding the eminent Tumba Johansson. Yakushev scored 9 goals and became the leading scorer of the team.

One of Yakushev's cohorts, Boris Mayorov, said of his partnership with Yakushev at the 1966 World Championship: "Yakushev was an outstanding player who simply had to be in the nationals lineup. It is with a special feeling of pleasure that I recall the seven games played shoulder to shoulder with Yakushev in Ljubljana." At that championship, Yakushev posted 11 assists, proving he was an invaluable partner on the ice.

What did Yakushev have that the nationals couldn't do without? What was it that made Yakushev feel at home on any forward line? If Yakushev had been playing for a team like Lokomotiv in the media frenzy of today, there is little doubt that he would be heralded as the best player ever. There is no denying that Yakushev was an outstanding player with an exceptional ability to collaborate with other players. Flexibility, adaptibility, and compatibility were Viktor Yakushev's strength. "Compatibility established right at our very first training workouts.", he once said. "no matter with whom. After that, I did my best to work out with the particulars of real teamwork."

On the ice, Yakushev played common sense hockey. When he celebrated his 40th birthday, coach ******** of Novosibirsk, noted "If I could accomplish the impossible and somehow tempt, win over or purchase Yakushev, I would bring him up her to Siberia and say to him, 'You can play for me as long as you want in any game. If you want to play more, go ahead. Less? Go ahead. if you want, you can play till you're 60. In short, do what you feel is necessary. Every minute you are on the ice, every minute of your caliber of hockey is worth more than a dozen training sessions and 30 sermons.'"

But Yakushev remained loyal to Lokomotiv. In those days, that kind of dedication and loyalty to family, home, and team eas genuinely and widely shared.

Yakushev appeared on the ice at most of the major hockey competitions in the world. At the end of his career, he played in a minor league in Tashkent. Words such as "popularity", "image", and "ambition" weren't in his vocabulary. What he loved most was playing for Lokomotiv - nothing else mattered as much. Yakushev played the game longer than any Soviet hockey player. When he continued to play in minor leagues, he ignored the many comments about his age. Throughout his more than 20 years as a hockey player, Viktor Yakushev missed only three training workouts.
Big thanks to Seventies for posting that in an older thread

Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 11-12-2011 at 09:14 PM.
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