#6 Valeri Vasiliev

Valeri Vasiliev was a slick skater and passer, but also known for his physical play, which was sometimes frowned upon back in the Russian leagues. That opinion seemed to change after 1972.
 
"We knew that Vasiliev was a rough and tough player. he had been criticized by the media for some 'dirty tricks,' " commented Russian sports writer Yuri Vanjat. "But comparing him with Canadian players, he looked like one of the cleanest hitters in the world."
 
Vasiliev scored one goal in the tournament. It proved to be the final Soviet goal of the tournament. He most often teamed with defense partner Yuri Liapkin, and both were on the ice when Henderson scored "The Goal."
STATISTICS

                       Pos.   GP   G   A  P  PIM
------------------------------------------------
Valeri Vasiliev        D     5   1   2   3    6
------------------------------------------------
Career Biography
Considered by many to be the toughest and most physical defenseman in Russian hockey history, Valeri Vasiliev was a punishing hitter who loved the physical play. Valeri reminded people of Hall of Famer Tim Horton.

He didn't have the offensive flair like Alexei Kasatonov or Vyacheslav Fetisov but was better defensively. Opponents hated to play against him because it could be painful. As a surprise to many opponents Valeri was only 6'0" and 190 Ibs but played like a much bigger player.  He put several opponents on the injury list during his career.

Valeri was born on August 3,1949 in Bora, just outside of Moscow. He began playing organized hockey as a 12 year old for Torpedo Gorky. He then went on to play league hockey his entire career for Dynamo Moscow between 1967-84. In one year he was actually demoted to the third division for disciplinary reasons following an incident on the national team.

He was one of very few players on the Soviet national team who never played for the Red Army team CSKA. Valeri played a total of 617 games and scored 71 goals. His 617 games is still a league record.

Valeri was a born leader and was a long-time captain of the national team. He was a eight time World Champion (1970, 73,74,75,78,79,81 and 82) and a two time Olympic Gold
medallist (1972 and 76). In 1973,77 and 79 he was voted as the best defenseman of the World Championships. He also made the All-Star team in 1974,75,77,79 and 81. Valeri represented his country 284 times and scored 44 goals. He was a member of the "super five" together with his partner on the blueline Vladimir Lutchenko and behind the troika of Kharlamov-Petrov-Mikhailov, the predecessors of the Kasatonov-Fetisov -Makarov-Larionov-Krutov unit.

Because of his physical style he loved to play against NHL opposition. He thrived in that environment. He played in the 1972 Summit Series as well as the 1979 Challenge Cup. Valeri had a big part in neutralizing Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and the other Canadian superstars in the 1981 Canada Cup final.

After his playing career was over Valeri coached the juniors of Dynamo Moscow (1984-89). He then went over to Germany where he coached EC Ratingen (1990) and Bad Reichenhall (1991). In 1996-97 he was the assistant coach for Spartak Moscow. In 1998 he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

Valeri has never been replaced on the national team by someone who could match his physical play and toughness. It's an element that has been sorely missed on the Russian national team over the years

Career Statistics

Born: August 3, 1949 in Volkovo
Height: 5'11" Weight: 187lbs
Position: Defense  Shoots: L

Team Year GP G A Pts PIM
Torpedo Gorky 1966-67 2 0 0 0 0
Dynamo Moscow 1967-68 42 2 1 3 28
Dynamo Moscow 1968-69 34 2 1 3 34
Dynamo Moscow 1969-70 43 5 2 7 37
Dynamo Moscow 1970-71 40 2 4 6 36
Dynamo Moscow 1971-72 31 4 0 4 35
Dynamo Moscow 1972-73 29 3 1 4 59
Dynamo Moscow 1973-74 31 4 11 15 42
Dynamo Moscow 1974-75 34 7 5 12 34
Dynamo Moscow 1975-76 28 6 15 21 13
Dynamo Moscow 1976-77 34 3 12 15 21
Dynamo Moscow 1977-78 33 2 6 8 30
Dynamo Moscow 1978-79 42 6 14 20 26
Dynamo Moscow 1979-80 41 8 10 18 26
Dynamo Moscow 1980-81 43 6 7 13 16
Dynamo Moscow 1981-82 36 3 12 15 18
Dynamo Moscow 1982-83 32 5 7 12 16
Dynamo Moscow 1983-84 44 3 7 10 14
NO TEAM 1984-89 DID NOT PLAY - RETIRED
Ujpesti Dozsa Budapest (Hungary) 1989-90 15 3 5 8
Bad Reichenhall (Division 4 - Germany) 1990-91 STATISTICS UNAVAILABLE
Soviet League Totals 619 71 115 186 485

Hockey Card Notes:

#1 Valeri Vasiliev - Hockey Card #132 Future Trends Canada Cup retrospective set.



From the Dennis Kane Collection