“The Russian Five” is being used as a fundraiser for a former Detroit Red Wing

Embed from Getty Images Former Detroit Red Wings star, Vladimir Konstantinov was seriously injured in a limousine accident 22 years ago. When the Limo driver was driving drunk and slammed into a tree. 22 years later Konstantinov needs round the clock care.

Vladimir Konstantinov, was not expected to make it through the night. As  part of what would be the beginning of 4 Stanley Cup Championships for the Detroit Red Wings, Konstantinov was part of Detroit’s legendary “Russian Five.”

Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozio, Slava Kozlov and Konstantinov, arrived in Detroit and changed the sport of hockey forever. They could hit, they were unbelievable fast. They were a sight to see on the ice. For those of us fortunate enough to see them.

Shortly after the team won the 1996-97 Stanley Cup the team gathered  at Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s house for a dinner. Tired and wanting to sleep Konstantinov and a few other left. Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman would receive the phone call 15 minutes later.

A local Michigan man Josh Riehl, and die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan made a documentary “The Russian Five.”  It is playing in Michigan movie theaters and is a great film.

Suffering brain damage as well as a broken neck in the accident, Vladimir is said to attack his physical therapy the same way he hit opposing players. “The Vladinator” that is what Red Wings fans called him.

His care totals around $50,000 per year. Wearing #16 during his playing time, while it does not hang from the rafters, No Detroit Red Wing has worn the number since Konstantinov. Players have said they do not ask because they understand it is off limits.

“The Russian Five” is being show and all ticket proceeds are going to care for Vladimir. That is a  very nice gesture on behalf of Josh Riehl.


Detroit Red Wings remembering the Russian Five

Embed from Getty Images Five Russian hockey players who would go to form life long friendships and one of the most deadly lines in the NHL. They were a sight to behold. No team could slow them down. No team could stop them.

Igor Larionov centered the line he was anchored by Slava Fetisov on the left and one of the greatest players I have ever seen play Sergei Fedorov on his right. No team to date has a line that scores goals as quick as this line did.
They got the puck down low and before opposing teams knew what happened they were skating off the ice with another goal on the board.
Vladimir Konstantinov and Slava Kozlov were the defenders who dominated and punished offensive players. And left many bruised and battered.
Konstantinov was severely injured in a limousine accident after the 1997 Stanley Cup championship. He is in a wheel chair and is accompanied by Sergei Fedorov whenever he is seen in public. Once a teammate always a teammate.
There are no words for what these guys did during there time in Detroit. But the city and Red Wings fans still talk about them today. Many including myself think the team needs to retire Sergei Fedorov’s number.
Today’s NHL play of getting the puck down low and playing smothering defense is a direct tip of the cap to five guys who changed hockey.