The Russian hockey community reacted with pride after four of that country’s legendary players were named to the NHL’s list of Top 100 all-time greats. Along with Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin, the list included Pavel Bure, Pavel Datsyuk, and former-Capital Sergei Fedorov.
However, some commentators and former players were upset that more Russian greats didn’t make the cut.
Soviet goaltending legend and President of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia Vladislav Tretiak saw the inclusion of Bure, Datsyuk, Fedorov, and Ovechkin as a “a recognition of [Russian] hockey.”
Tretiak called Datsyuk a “master craftsman on the ice” and compared Bure to the god of thunder for his speed and power. He also noted that the group, including Ovechkin, represented the “flower of Russian hockey,” “if not the best, then among the best” from the country’s storied hockey tradition.
Ex-Capital Andrei Nikolishin, however, felt that Stanley Cup-winners Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov, “along with other Russian [players],” should have made the list.
“I root for our guys,” said Nikolishin. “Since so many Russians have made their mark on the NHL,” it would have been nice to have included a few more on the list.
Sport-Express columnist Pavel Klimovitski called the exclusion of Penguins forward Evgeny Malkin “absurd,” citing Malkin’s two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe trophy from 2009, multiple Olympic appearances, and numerous other individual awards.
When Pavel Bure was asked about Malkin, the former Canuck was philosophical.
“It wasn’t just Malkin who didn’t make [the list],” Bure told Sport-Express’s Yelena Grigorievskaya. “Lots of other guys could have been included, but space was limited.”
Bure also noted that, while his 2012 induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame “the biggest individual award you can get,” the Top 100 list was a “more exclusive” club of players.
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