My earliest memories of Vladimir Krutov were from his lone season as a Canuck. I was 8 or 9 and I remember by dad telling me about how great he and Larionov were going to be. Larionov was, of course, but Krutov missed camp and came to Vancouver out of shape, never really regaining his form in his lone NHL season. It wasn’t until much later, when I was old enough to delve into hockey’s past in more detail, that I was able to appreciate just what kind of player he was in his prime.
Along with Larionov and Sergei Makarov, Krutov helped make the KLM line one of the most potent forward lines in hockey history. With Alexei Kasatanov and Viacheslav Fetisov in the mix as well, the Green Unit (pictured above) was one of the most feared five man arrangements in international hockey.
Krutov was an integral part of the Soviet Union’s 1984 and 1988 Olympic gold medal winning teams. In 1988, he led the Olympic tournament with 15-points. He also captured 11 Russian super league titles and five World Championship golds, setting a World Championships record for goals (7) and points (14) in 1987.
In short, today hockey lost a true legend of the sport.
Rest in peace.