Russian hockey lost a legend today. Vladimir Krutov passed away at age 52 due to a stomach hemorrhage this morning.
While Krutov never really staked his claim in North America in the NHL,his legacy internationally is well known.
Krutov won two Olympic gold medals and five World Championships with the Soviet Union as a member on the legendary “KLM line.” While teamed up with Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov, Krutov dominated international play with 164 points in 123 games. Those three players would combine with Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov to make up one of the most dynamic five-man lineups in hockey called “The Green Unit.”
Krutov played one season with the Vancouver Canucks in 1989-1990 scoring 11 goals and adding 23 assists teaming up with Larionov. While Larionov stuck with Vancouver and ultimately won Stanley Cups with Detroit, Krutov headed back to Russia the following year. Krutov was inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2010.