Igor Larionov

Hockey legends like Brady leaving Patriots Orr Howe Hull Brodeur
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With Brady leaving Patriots, remember these hockey legends in places you forgot

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As mind-blowing as it is to type this, it’s true: Tom Brady said goodbye to the Patriots on Tuesday. It’s something that’s difficult to process, even if you’re not a Patriots or even a football fan. Yet, as Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra chronicles for baseball, legends donning strange uniforms late in their careers is no new phenomenon, and certainly not limited to the land of pigskins. So what about hockey and the NHL, then?

Hockey fans have been treated to quite a few one-team legends, including Mario Lemieux saving the Penguins more than once.

Even so, there are plenty of legends who ended spent time in jerseys that just felt wrong. Let’s ponder the hockey answers to Brady leaving the Patriots, Johnny Unitas on the Chargers, Michael Jordan with the Wizards, and Babe Ruth on the Boston Braves.

Orr down hockey Brady comparison
(Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque leave Boston with very different results

At least with Brady, Boston-area fans couldn’t reasonably ask for more. Meanwhile, Bobby Orr’s career concluded with questions of “What could have been?”

Knee injuries ravaged his later career, and after 10 seasons, Orr left the Bruins for the Blackhawks. Between two seasons, Orr could only appear in 26 games for Chicago.

In something of a sequel, the Bruins traded Ray Bourque during his 21st season with the team, setting the stage for Bourque to eventually win a Stanley cup inspiring enough to essentially demand a parade in Boston.

Brodeur Blues Brady leaving Patriots hockey comparison
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brodeur finishes with the Blues

If Orr on the Blackhawks isn’t the Brady comparison you think of for hockey, then it’s probably Brodeur appearing in seven games for the Blues after winning three Stanley Cups, four Vezinas, and setting the all-time wins record over 1,259 games with the Devils.

(That contrast still makes me chuckle, to be honest.)

As awkward as Brodeur’s brief Blues stint was, it lacked the angst of how Orr’s career ended. That might make it closer to a 1:1 hockey comparison for Brady, although the QB could easily prove that his tank isn’t empty.

Much of this list shows examples of players trying to prove that they could still play, with most sputtering out after running on fumes.

(Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hull of a change, and Howe

Bobby Hull already experienced quite a journey going from the Blackhawks to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets (scoring 303 goals in the WHA alone). Hull’s final hockey and NHL season was especially odd, though, starting with 18 NHL games for the Jets before being traded to the Hartford Whalers, playing nine games for The Whale. Gordie Howe ended up being a Whalers teammate of Hull, which is … yeah, pretty mind-blowing. Bobby Hull also attempted a comeback with the Rangers.

(Howe’s legendary career featured quite the second [and maybe third?] acts after his Red Wings days, including playing with his sons, and somehow managing 15 goals and 41 points with the Hartford Whalers at age 51.)

Bobby’s son Brett Hull experienced a journeyman career of his own. Brett convinced the Coyotes to unretire Bobby’s number 9, but that story ended with a whimper (five games) as Brett realized he couldn’t adjust to the post-lockout style of play in 2005-06.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Random Red Wings

If you’re playing trivia and “This player finished his career/briefly played for this team …” comes up, blurting out Detroit Red Wings isn’t the worst bet.

Lightning round, sometimes involving Lightning

  • Mats Sundin stunned Maple Leafs fans by joining the Canucks. There was some Alfredsson-like logic of linking Sundin with fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, yet the experiment lasted just 41 games.
  • Brian Leetch playing for the Maple Leafs was a little strange, but Leetch in a Bruins sweater will never look right.
  • Guy Lafleur, Montreal Canadiens legend, as a Quebec Nordique? Yes, that happened. Jacques Plante bounced around quite about post-Habs, too, including eight games with the (gasp) Bruins.
  • Like Plante, Grant Fuhr pinballed around the NHL quite a bit after parting ways with the Oilers, but joining the Flames? Wow. Fuhr didn’t just play for the Calgary Flames, either, as he suited up twice for the Saint John Flames.
  • File Ed Belfour and Igor Larionov under “people you might not have known played for the Panthers.”
  • Olaf Kolzig was persistent in Washington as Godzilla could be in Tokyo, playing 711 of his 719 games for the Capitals. The eight other games came with the Lightning. (Vincent Lecavalier playing for the Kings was strange, but softened by his years with the Flyers.)

Feel free to mention other fish-out-of-water memories in the comments. Also, if you had to guess, which hockey legend will Brady mirror the most?

(Hopefully we won’t ever get that “Halloween Olajuwon as a Raptor vs. Patrick Ewing with the Magic” feeling from Brady’s final act.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Report: Habs’ Galchenyuk fires agent Igor Larionov

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Contract talks between the Montreal Canadiens and pending restricted free agent Alex Galchenyuk are currently on hold while the forward looks for a new agent.

Galchenyuk recently fired Igor Larionov who is an agent with The Will Sports Group.

“Ian (Pulver) and I were trying to help him to become a good hockey player but, more importantly, to be a good human being,” Larionov told The Montreal Gazette. “I would speak to him every day; I think I spent more time talking to him than talking to my wife.”

The 21-year-old set career highs with 20 goals and 46 points in 80 games during the 2014-15 season. However, he struggled in the playoffs scoring just once in 12 games.

“I tried to make him understand that he has to be patient,” Larionov. “I had to wait when I was a young player; every great player has a time when he’s going to be on the bench, but you have to learn that’s part of the game.”

Galchenyuk’s three-year, $9.7 million entry-level contract is set to expire next month.

Larionov on Olympics: ‘Hockey is the main event’

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We’re focused on hockey here, but the Winter Olympics have more than just that going on for it. With the number of other big sports and events, sometimes we get a little caught up in our own thing, but Hockey Hall of Famer and Russian legend Igor Larionov says it begins and ends with hockey in Sochi.

In an interview with SophieCo in Russia, Larionov says the rest of the events in the Olympics can’t hold a candle to ice hockey.

“I mean, the hockey is the main event – I don’t care what anybody says about figure skating and all in that respect, and other sports, but hockey – because you got so many superstars coming to play and they play against each other, so it’s not every time you can see top teams from around the world playing. It’s like a World Cup of soccer. But this is NHL players coming and playing especially at Olympics, and for the players to come and play and to be proud for their country, so I think it’s kind of historic event for the players because of that.”

The Olympics always create stars in other sports. Such is the case in figure skating, bobsled, and skiing, but the superstars come into hockey prepackaged.

Fans of other sports might call Larionov biased since he comes from, and is a player agent in, hockey but it’s not unlike NBA talent in basketball in the Summer Olympics.

That said, having NHL players in Olympic hockey in Russia turns the players into rock stars of sorts given how hockey-mad the country is. That kind of status causes those involved in some of those other sports, as Puck Daddy shares, to sound off in a fit of jealousy.

Nail Yakupov will reportedly play in KHL if there’s a lockout

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One of the down sides to a possible lockout is that we’ll be denied seeing some of the great young talent drafted this summer. In Nail Yakupov’s case, the Edmonton Oilers’ loss would seem to be the Sarnia Sting’s (his junior team) gain.

Not so fast.

IIHF Communications Director Szymon Szemberg reports Yakupov’s agent, Igor Larionov, says his client will take his talents to Russia and the KHL for the year if the NHL lockout ends up cutting into the regular season. Rather than suit up for the Sting, Yakupov will play for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.

Provided this is true, it won’t do much to calm the nerves of people worried Yakupov would jump ship full-time to play back home in Russia, but he’s made it known from the outset that playing in the NHL is what he wants to do. If there’s no games being played in the NHL, you have to play somewhere and doing it at home makes for a comforting option.

Report: Sergei Samsonov to get a tryout with San Jose (Update: Maybe not)

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Sergei Samsonov didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he may be getting a shot to come back.

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports according to his agent Igor Larionov, Samsonov will get a tryout with the San Jose Sharks, but there’s a catch.

For him to get a chance to show what he’s got left there needs to be a training camp to try out in. If the NHL locks out the players, the chances we’ll see training camp decrease each day it goes on. As it is, the CBA expires on September 15 which is right about when camp would begin in the first place.

Samsonov last played in the NHL in the 2010-11 season with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers scoring 13 goals and adding 27 assists. The Sharks may be hoping Samsonov can find old chemistry with fellow former Bruin Joe Thornton and give them a needed, and inexpensive, offensive lift.

UPDATE (4:09 p.m. ET): According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, Samsonov’s actual agent Neil Abbot says there is no training camp deal with the Sharks as of yet and that his client is speaking with many teams.

Read more at CSNBayArea.com