Many hockey fans will acknowledge Nikolai Sologubov as an early pioneer of defensemen in Russian hockey history. But not many know about his long time partner Ivan Tregubov.
The duo were the top defensive pairing in Europe for many years. They were arguably Russia's top pairing of all time until the 1980s when Viacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov patrolled the blue line.
Sologubov and Tregubov were so good that even the NHL took notice. Boston GM Lynn Patrick said, "there are five players on their team who can move up to the Bruins, and there's a commission of $2,500 for anyone who can get either Sologubov or Tregubov into Boston."
Sologubov was the flashier, more offensive star while Tregubov (nicknamed "Ivan The Terrible" by western media) played a physical and intimidating game. His game thrived on emotion, something that was outwardly rare in Soviet hockey.
Tregubov represented the Soviet Union in 44 international games, scoring 14 goals with his heavy shot. He won World championship and Olympic gold in 1956. He was named as the IIHF Best Defenseman in 1958 and 1961.
At the club team level Tregubov played a decade with CSKA Mscow before finishing his career with Khimik Voskresensk. He scored 128 goals in 350 games while winning 6 league titles.