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HISTORICAL ISSUE: Who remembers Igor Larionov as a Vancouver Canuck?

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02-08-2013, 04:28 PM
  #1
VanIslander
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HISTORICAL ISSUE: Who remembers Igor Larionov as a Vancouver Canuck?



We are debating on another board here at HfBoards whether Larionov was nearly as bad as Krutov in his NHL debut. Krutov was an overweight bum in Vancouver. I remember how much he was villified for not trying and being out of shape, ineffective.

The argument against says that Larionov and Krutov both were not effective because of culture shock and adjustment to the NHL, with Larionov sticking it out and Krutov not, a victim of circumstance in large part. I, on the other side of the issue, wish to argue that Larionov was impressive in Vancouver, but I'm looking to see what others thought to help my case (it's a history of hockey discussion).

The question is: Was Larionov impressive as a Canuck? Who is old enough to remember Larionov? WHAT do you recall about his play?

Any surfing savvy help via newspaper articles or online links to descriptions of his play in Vancouver is appreciated.

(Nothing about his days in San Jose or Detroit please. His play then is NOT being debated).

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02-08-2013, 04:38 PM
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dwarf
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Igor was ok as a Canuck. Slightly better then Kruton. He was defensively responsible, and seriously tried to win.

I remember him taking face-offs and he would look cross eyed, and of course as soon as Detroit gets him, they get him some glasses, and his play got a lot better.

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02-08-2013, 04:50 PM
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When I was a kid I thought he was awesome, but I thought they were all awesome.

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02-08-2013, 04:51 PM
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ginner classic
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I resent the fact you used the word history to refer to something I remember.

Thanks for that. Age-ist ******!

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02-08-2013, 04:59 PM
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I remember when Quinn and Burkie announced it. And I remember when we paid the transfer payments and when they got here.

Larionov was skilled and enthused. Krutov was fat, lazy and could care less if he ever got another shift.

He didnt have to worry about it for very long.

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02-08-2013, 05:01 PM
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I vaguely remember Igor's time here. He was a pretty good player - not a star, but a solid offensive and defensive forward.

His rookie season was before my time, but what I've read seems to indicate both he and Krutov really struggled, but that Larionov seemed to adapt better which is why he began to improve over time. It's just a shame that he really had to hit his stride elsewhere.

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02-08-2013, 05:02 PM
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Alan Jackson
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Larionov was a great Canuck, one of my very favourite players at the time.

Smart, classy player. It took him some time to adjust to the NHL game, and early on he refused to shoot the puck, but after that adjustment he was a very useful player here.

If I recall, he spent much of his last season in Vancouver on a line with Bure and Adams, and put up some pretty decent numbers.

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02-08-2013, 05:10 PM
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Larionov was just ok his first 2 years but really shone in year 3 when he finally got a line mate he found chemistry with in Pavel Bure.

To be honest it was a real tragedy that Griffths was a cheap ass and didn't pay the Russians to bring Larionov back. The Canucks struggled for years to find the right center for Bure, who knows how good both players would have done the following few seasons had they been together.

As a player Larionov was the classic Russian center. Good skater, excellent playmaker, and excellent defensively. The problem was he only really shone when he played with other Russians who were used to the same system that he was.

The problems here were more about the Canucks roster then they were about Larionov. Until Bure arrived he just didn't find chemistry with any other forwards.

He was still a good player though, he just didn't light it up offensively the way most expected.

Krutov was a different sorry. He couldn't survive outside of the structured Russian system. When he came over he ate and drank everything in sight and was laughably overweight for a pro hockey player.

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02-08-2013, 05:19 PM
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Very intelligent player, who apparently remembered everything about his on ice shifts.

IMO, he was respnsible for Bure's initial success....certainly helped Bure with his first year adjustement, at any rate, whch IIRC, was Larionov's last year as a Canuck. And his last year as a Canuck was his best year as a Canuck. But typcally with those days, something screwy went on between player and management.

He and Krutov were going to lead us to instant respectability. Not to be, of course. As mentioned elsewhere, Krutov showed up fat and out of shape and could not function independently of the Russian training system.

But Larionov was a very good, very heads up player. Classy guy who played a classy game.

Side note: Anatoli Tarasov was at that first training camp as well and I got to speak to him, through an interpreter, of course. He did not seem to have a particularly high opinion of the skill level in North American Hockey and felt the skill and skating level in NA could not match either European or Soviet hockey. I also remember he said that Larionov was an encyclopedia of hocky info.

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02-08-2013, 05:26 PM
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that first season, everyone was all "BUST."

as the season went on, it was more "larionov's okay i guess" whether that was a case of anyone looking good in comparison to krutov...

but adams - larionov - bure should have been a line for years to come. i thought he was finally getting used to the NHL game, and as his SJ and early DET years would show, he was only getting better.

these, of course, are the memories of someone who was 8-10 during those years. the quotes are from the elementary school playground.

but as i recall, more than a few of us thought bure was going to sophomore slump bad without larionov around. but then i also don't think any of us, even as young as we were, could believe that any canuck could ever score 50 goals or 100 points in a year. i mean, the russian gretzky comes over and is a 40 point guy.

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02-08-2013, 05:34 PM
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I've always theorized the Canucks would've won the Cup in '94 if they'd kept Larionov.

Yes, it's impossible to say for certain.

But he was known as "The Professor" for good reason.

He was magic with Bure. MAGIC.

Canucks management at the time completely disrespected their Russian players.

And that's a shame.

On the other hand, Krutov was a total disaster.


.


Last edited by Strangelove: 02-08-2013 at 05:40 PM.
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02-08-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potatoe1 View Post
Larionov was just ok his first 2 years but really shone in year 3 when he finally got a line mate he found chemistry with in Pavel Bure.

To be honest it was a real tragedy that Griffths was a cheap ass and didn't pay the Russians to bring Larionov back. The Canucks struggled for years to find the right center for Bure, who knows how good both players would have done the following few seasons had they been together.

As a player Larionov was the classic Russian center. Good skater, excellent playmaker, and excellent defensively. The problem was he only really shone when he played with other Russians who were used to the same system that he was.

The problems here were more about the Canucks roster then they were about Larionov. Until Bure arrived he just didn't find chemistry with any other forwards.

He was still a good player though, he just didn't light it up offensively the way most expected.

Krutov was a different sorry. He couldn't survive outside of the structured Russian system. When he came over he ate and drank everything in sight and was laughably overweight for a pro hockey player.
It had nothing to do with Griffiths. Larionov refused to sign as he did not want any money being transferred to the CIS hockey federation. There was no probem between Vancouver and Larionov at all.

"After his three-year contract with the Canucks had expired, Larionov chose to play a year in Switzerland so that Sovintersport would not continue to draw a portion of his salary. He returned to the NHL with the San Jose Sharks in 1993–94, where he was re-united with Sergei Makarov and helped the Sharks to a record 59-point improvement over the previous season. The Sharks then upset the heavily favoured Detroit Red Wings in the opening round of the playoffs and extended the Toronto Maple Leafs to seven games in the Conference Semi-Finals before falling."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Larionov

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02-08-2013, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post

I definitely remember him and those HORRIBLE ProSet cards - their first year in production if I recall. But I was just kid starting to get into hockey those days... wishing I could trade for more UpperDeck cards of course too

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02-08-2013, 05:45 PM
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Barney Gumble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
The question is: Was Larionov impressive as a Canuck? Who is old enough to remember Larionov? WHAT do you recall about his play?
He was a positive influence on Pavel Bure. That alone made his acquisition worthwhile.

That's something the Oilers should think about in regards to their phenoms. It's a shame he didn't play longer as a Canuck; who knows, perhaps Bure might've never left.

Problem with Krutov - as from his conditioning - was culture shock. Larionov (and well as his wife) were more "worldly" and had an easier time adapting to being in a strange land.

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02-08-2013, 05:48 PM
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Strangelove
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Originally Posted by ginner classic View Post
It had nothing to do with Griffiths. Larionov refused to sign as he did not want any money being transferred to the CIS hockey federation. There was no probem between Vancouver and Larionov at all.
Well that was the "official" story.

There were rumours at the time that he wasn't happy with Canucks management.

At the very least Larionov could not have been impressed with how management had treated friend + countryman Pavel Bure amirite?

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02-08-2013, 05:52 PM
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It had nothing to do with Griffiths. Larionov refused to sign as he did not want any money being transferred to the CIS hockey federation. There was no probem between Vancouver and Larionov at all.
That would be BS.

The Canucks were not going to pay and Igor being the class act he was let them off the hook publicly.

The team could have easily paid that bill and then told Larionov to lace em up, which he likely would have vs playing in Europe.

Our ownership were a bunch of cheap ******** back then. The talent exedous we saw from 92 through 96 was just appalling. We were losing a good player per year for financial reasons even though the building was full.

Larinov, Nedved, Craven, Courtnall, Ronning, all gone for money in a 5 year period.

Thats the main reason the team went into the dark ages for the next 5 or 6 years.

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02-08-2013, 06:03 PM
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Alan Jackson
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Originally Posted by Potatoe1 View Post
That would be BS.

The Canucks were not going to pay and Igor being the class act he was let them off the hook publicly.

The team could have easily paid that bill and then told Larionov to lace em up, which he likely would have vs playing in Europe.

Our ownership were a bunch of cheap ******** back then. The talent exedous we saw from 92 through 96 was just appalling. We were losing a good player per year for financial reasons even though the building was full.

Larinov, Nedved, Craven, Courtnall, Ronning, all gone for money in a 5 year period.

Thats the main reason the team went into the dark ages for the next 5 or 6 years.
I seem to recall that Larionov refused to sign in Vancouver if any money was going back to Russia.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/column...rre&id=3685460

Quote:
When it came time to sign a new deal with the Canucks for the 1992-93 season, Larionov fought again. This time, it cost him a season in the NHL.

"When I was signing the deal with Soviet authorities, one of my conditions or requests was that this money would be used for youth programs for development of Russian hockey players," Larionov said. "But every year, I went home to Russia and never saw any trace of money spent on youth programs."

The Russian government wasn't going to feed off his hockey salary ever again, he said. So, Larionov defied his government and instead played with Lugano in Switzerland.

It was not an easy decision. He loved Vancouver and had just begun to forge great chemistry with young Russian sniper Pavel Bure. But Larionov had to follow his principles.

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02-08-2013, 06:04 PM
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Exactly. The Canucks management at that time had the media wrapped around its finger, and a lot that was reported simply wasn't true.

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02-08-2013, 06:08 PM
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Barney Gumble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potatoe1 View Post
That would be BS.

The Canucks were not going to pay and Igor being the class act he was let them off the hook publicly.

The team could have easily paid that bill and then told Larionov to lace em up, which he likely would have vs playing in Europe.

Our ownership were a bunch of cheap ******** back then. The talent exedous we saw from 92 through 96 was just appalling. We were losing a good player per year for financial reasons even though the building was full.

Larinov, Nedved, Craven, Courtnall, Ronning, all gone for money in a 5 year period.

Thats the main reason the team went into the dark ages for the next 5 or 6 years.
Can't help but think the Vancouver Grizzlies really cut into the profits of the Griffiths to the point it had an effect on the Vancouver Canucks payroll as well. Wasn't that the reason why Arthur had to eventually sell off both teams?

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02-08-2013, 06:09 PM
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Sorry to argue with those who are saying Larionov did not leave becuase of a tranfer agreement with the Russian federation. It was the deciding factor. Canucks and Larionov agreed to a contract, but as per the original contract with the first transfer, it was a 1 to 1 dollar matching in money going to the Russian Hockey federation. The probloem was, as Igor layed out in his book, the money was not going back to help hockey but back the government officails who would not invest in the game. Igor did not want any more money going back to the Russian officials. To break the original tranfer agreement he had to go to Europe for a year to become a UFA and that ended all financial obligations that any contract signed had with the Russian federation. Read his book, it is covered in the book and his views on the federation. He could never play with the canucks again because of a clause that stated any monies paid to Larionov by the Canucks would need to be matched with payments to the Russian Hockey federation and because being reaquired was not covered in the agreement, the ruling was that if the canucks got him back, they would have to pay money to the Federation

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02-08-2013, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Strangelove View Post
I've always theorized the Canucks would've won the Cup in '94 if they'd kept Larionov.

Yes, it's impossible to say for certain.

But he was known as "The Professor" for good reason.

He was magic with Bure. MAGIC.

Canucks management at the time completely disrespected their Russian players.

And that's a shame.

On the other hand, Krutov was a total disaster.


.
Good post. I forgot to mention this.

He helped Pavel Bure transition from Russian to Canadian life. Even today Bure talks about how big a deal it was.

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02-08-2013, 06:42 PM
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He was good his last year when they gave him more time to shine. Also for the nerds here that played those classic NHL games that NHLPA hockey or whatever game it is for gensis(before tehy started naming just after the year)I belive larionov, jagr, lemieux and maybe someone else were the highest rated players in the game lol. So someone must have thought he was pretty darn good!

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02-08-2013, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mrcrazycanuck View Post
He could never play with the canucks again because of a clause that stated any monies paid to Larionov by the Canucks would need to be matched with payments to the Russian Hockey federation and because being reaquired was not covered in the agreement, the ruling was that if the canucks got him back, they would have to pay money to the Federation
And this my friends is a classic case of what some of us call "Canuck Luck". Kind of impressive that a Canadian sports team got screwed by a Russian government policy.

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02-08-2013, 08:07 PM
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Say, what ever happened to poster Wetcoaster?

Once upon a time, before he came to HF, we were members of another Canuck site

(said site no longer exists).

Wettie and I scarcely ever agreed on anything, but hey I agree with THIS:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...=852165&page=8

Nice job Wettie!

For those interested in the Larionov story, from the archives of this very forum...

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02-08-2013, 08:58 PM
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Say, what ever happened to poster Wetcoaster?

Once upon a time, before he came to HF, we were members of another Canuck site

(said site no longer exists).

Wettie and I scarcely ever agreed on anything, but hey I agree with THIS:

http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...=852165&page=8

Nice job Wettie!

For those interested in the Larionov story, from the archives of this very forum...
Wet's still on hf, only now he hangs around pretty much exclusively in the political forum. Why this came to be is a topic that's pretty much intsa-delete territory whenever it's mentioned, so there's not much point in discussing it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Larionov was okay-ish in his first season here. The first generation of Russian (Soviet) players had a real tough time with the culture shock and differences in the way the NHL worked as opposed to the Red Army system. Krutov, as mentioned, went straight to hell. Couldn't adapt to the changes in his life, hoovered up every hotdog within miles of the stadium, and his career went into the toilet from there. Larionov had it better; smarter guy and imho more determined to make a clean break. He kept working on adjusting to the NHL and life outside the USSR, and really was terrific for Bure and I would imagine the younger generation of Russian players who went to Detroit. Strictly my opinion, but Larionov was able to motivate himself outside of USSR Big Brother scrutiny, and Krutov just went: "I'm freeeeeee!!!! YAAAAYYYY!!!!!" and let himself go in a huge way.

I'd say his play with Bure could have been described as "impressive" in some ways. As everyone's said, he was a very smart player, very responsible, great playmaker, and had a hockey IQ up there in Mensa circles. It took him some time to find his way, but he did steadily improve from shaky, uncertain beginnings here.

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