Drafted 28th by the Phoenix Coyotes was a young fellow named Victor Tikhonov. Tikhonov is the grandson of legendary Soviet coach and taskmaster Victor Tikhonov, who we’re all seen over the years getting nasty with his Red Army and Russian National team players.
Grandpa Tikhonov was the cause of the bitter feud between Alexei Kasatonov and Viatcheslav Fetisov. Fetisov hated Tikhonov and everything he stood for. Kasatonov was a firm believer in the coach and the system. So the two, even though they were defence partners with the Red Army club and teammates in New Jersey, wouldn’t speak to each other. I don’t know if this bitterness still exists but it went on for years so it probably does.
Igor Larionov was another who never understood the drill sargeant techniques of Tikhonov. In fact, I think the majority of Soviet players thought he was a rotten bastard.
Tikhonov was once asked by a reporter about the Russian team in 1972 Summit Series, which he wasn’t a part of. “Why does everyone always talk about that team?” he asked, annoyed. “Some of my teams were better than them.”
I personally was at a game in St. Petersburg between St. Petersburg SKA and Moscow Red Army, which Tikhonov was coaching. After the game I joined a bunch of people milling around him getting autographs, and he was smiling and as friendly as could be. Just like a kindly grandfather. Just like young Victor’s grandfather.
Victor Tikhonov (the grandson) grew up in California and of course speaks english with no accent at all. He didn’t even step foot in his mother country until he was a teenager. So although he played in Russia last year, and played for Russia in the World Juniors, he’s basically an All-American kid.
Montreal drafted a kid named Patrick Johnson in the 206th pick. Johnson happens to be the son of Mark Johnson, who captained the USA in the 1980 Olympics when they shocked the world by beating Victor Tikhonov’s Big Red Machine. Mark was also an NHL’er who played for five different teams. And young Victor is the grandson of Badger Bob Johnson, the much-loved coach of the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Montreal also took right winger Danny Kristo at 56th, a youngster who’s years away from playing in the bigs. He’s still playing high school, then going to college. Kristo’s favourite team before the weekend was Ottawa.
For their 86th pick, the Habs chose 6’3″ Steve Quailer of the Sioux City Musketeers of the US Hockey League.
At the 116th pick, Montreal chose a goalie, Jason Missiawn of the Peterborough Petes, who happens to be, are you ready for this, 6’8″ tall!
And at 138th, they chose Russian Maxim Turnev, who Habs scouts say reminds them of Sergei Kostitisyn.
Last but not least is all the brand new turmoil swirling around the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rental player Marion Hossa is going to bolt the team this year and become a hired gun somewhere else. That means, of course, that it was a huge mistake Pittsburgh made by trading away blue chippers Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, and junior star Angelo Esposito and a second round draft choice to Atlanta for Hossa.
What was GM Ray Shero thinking? He probably thought Hossa might be the final piece of the puzzle to win the Cup. He was wrong.
Pittsburgh might also lose Ryan Malone, and who knows about Evgeny Malkin. He’s apparently been offered a boatload of money from a Russian team, and he says he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but who knows? Los Angeles also seems interested.
Instead of the Penguins looking like the young Edmonton Oilers of the 1980’s, they could end up looking like the recent Ottawa Senators.