HHOF Profile: Sergei Makarov

iThe NHL was not always one of the most international leagues in the world as it was ruled by the Canadians with a few very good Americans thrown into the mix.

For a long time, USA and Canada were the only two countries with any type of influence on the league producing the best players year after year.

For most looking at the world of hockey, Canada and the USA were the only two countries that mattered and everyone else had no type of NHL talent.

That wasn’t exactly the case though as there was another country producing amazing hockey players that nobody knew about.

There were the legends of the Soviet Union and the players that were located behind the iron curtain.

It was all just legends though as nobody got to see the talent from the USSR because during the time nobody got to see anything from the Soviet Union.

They had the steel curtain up throughout the Cold War with everything blocked off from the rest of the world.

The Soviet players were left to be legendary figures who could have been the greatest in the world but players that were never seen.

The debates began quickly as Canadians and Americans were always convinced that it was their sport while the Soviets believed that they could beat anyone.

As the talk between the two grew the world finally got to see the Soviet team known as the Red Army and when the world was exposed to these players they realised what the Soviets were hiding.

They were players that seemed faster and just overall more skilled than the North American skaters.

They didn’t really play the same game as the North Americans as they weren’t the type to use their toughness to win games.

Instead, they used pure skill to get by everyone and put up plenty of goals to bury teams that couldn’t keep up with them

They dominated international hockey for years as there was no team that could beat them in an era when only amateurs played.

The members of the Red Army team were far from amateurs despite not being allowed to play in professional leagues like the NHL.

All they ever did was train and play hockey and the international teams felt it from the start of the dominance.

Eventually, it evened out when Canadians pros began to play and brought their brand of hockey although the Soviets were still one of the greatest international teams.

The Soviet team brought a new brand of hockey to the world and they changed the game forever with that brand of hockey.sergei_makarov

Russian players have taken that style of play to a new level and now count among the best in the NHL.

It wasn’t always that way though and there had to be players to lead the way for the Russians to be welcomed into the league after the fall of the Soviet Union.

One of those players was Sergei Makarov who was one of the greatest offensive players in the history of the game.

There is no question that Makarov had some of the most talent in hockey but the stats simply don’t reflect how great he was when he was on the ice.

That was largely due to that iron curtain that Makarov was behind throughout his year in hockey.

He was never allowed to go to the NHL because he was a part of the Soviet Union and nobody was allowed to leave the Soviet Union.

That was unless he left as a part of the Red Army team under heavy supervision from Soviet officials.

As a result, he never made it to the NHL until he was 31 years old when he defected from the USSR and by the time he would have adjusted to the new league and had an impact his best days were behind him.

He still put up great numbers with over 1,000 points over his eight years in the NHL but many were left wondering just how great he could have been.

If Makarov, much like many of the Soviet stars, was able to find his way to the NHL earlier he might have put up some unbelievable stats.

He only got a few years though but his impact is seen even to this day as more Russians make their way to the NHL and make an impact.

Players like Makarov deserve their spot among the best in the history of the game as they not only had the skill on the ice but they changed the game forever.


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