Konstantin Loktev

Perhaps better remembered as a coach, Konstantin Loktev was a great hockey player, too.

Konstantin Loktev joined the national team in 1954, but it wasn't until 1957 when he found regular linemates in Alexander Almetov and Venjamin Alexandrov. Together the three became one of the greatest troikas in Soviet hockey history.

Loktev, as coach Anatoli Tarasov puts it, was an original hockey player. He raced up his wing with puck well ahead of him. This must have caused the opposing defenseman to smack his lips in anticipation of a big body check or a turnover. However this was part of Loktev's arsenal. He lured in unsuspecting defenders this way, and then miraculously and almost without fail, he'd put on a beautiful deke to leave the bewildered defenseman up ice as he danced in on the lonely goal keeper.

Loktev, who trained by himself in spare time, was a rough player as well, despite his tiny fram of 5'7" and 165 pounds. He never shied away from the boards and would fight for the puck until the whistle had blown. He was punished several times for rough play in his younger days by the Russian hockey federation. That punishment seemed to do him a ton of good, as he calmed down some. He remained aggressive but controlled, and became one of the all time greats.

In his first world championships, held in Moscow in 1957, Loktev tallied up a staggering 11 goals and 18 points in 7 games. He would not win a World Championship gold medal until 1965 and again 1966 when he was voted as the top forward.

Loktev would also win Olympic gold in 1964, as well as 10 USSR championships. He scored 213 goals in 340 games in Russia, and 50 goals in 57 Olympic and World Championship games.

Not bad at all for a player who almost switched to bandy before his hockey career took off. It was the great Vsevolod Bobrov who talked him out of the change, starting a great friendship that would grow as the two men became influential coaches.

Loktev would replace the legendary Taraso as coach of the famed Central Red Army club in 1974, recapturing the national championship title that Tarasov's team had lost.

It was as a coach that Loktev really became known to NHL fans in North America. His most famous moment came in the 1976 Super Series as the CSKA team toured the NHL in a series of exhibition matches. Against the Philadelphia Flyers Loktev pulled his players off the ice after the Flyers, the noted NHL bad boys, roughed up the Soviet players early. He also coached the Red Army team that famously played the Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Eve, 1975.

Loktev's coaching career would ultimately be short. For two years he was Boris Kulagin's assistant coach with the national team, although the Soviet teams of 1976 and 1977 had stumbled. He was dismissed from his posts with both the national team and Central Red Army, replaced by Viktor Tikhonov.

Loktev moved on to briefly coach in Poland before leaving the coaching game altogether.

Konstantin Loktev died in 1996.

No comments:

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP