Vladimir Konstantinov: biography and photo
Vladimir Konstantinov - the famous Soviet hockey player. Defender. Three-time world champion, winner of the Stanley Cup. He was one of the most promising athletes of his generation, but sports career suddenly interrupted.
Vladimir Konstantinov was born in Murmansk in 1967. His parents worked in the local port. At the school of urban rinks first started skating and started playing hockey.
On one of Murmansk youth tournaments, it drew the attention of children's coach Peter A. Anikeev, who became his first mentor. Vladimir Konstantinov began to play in the local team "Shipyard". At youth tournaments, he tried his hand at the position and the defender and the attacker.
In 1983, a young and promising 16-year-old Konstantinov went to conquer the capital. In the match against CSKA junior team it drew the attention of a famous coach Gennady Tsygankov, in his time speaking in the "army".
Vladimir Konstantinov enrolled in the youth school of Olympic reserve, which was in charge of the club CSKA. Two years later he became a versatile player on the hockey rink. With the same success he could play as a center-back and center forward.
The first major tournament for Konstantinov became the World Youth Championship, which he went to the USSR team. The team won the gold medal. Brilliantly in the tournament proved to be Vladimir Konstantinov. Hockey player after the return received an invitation from the trainer's advice to try his hand in adult competitions.
Successful game in the "soldiers" secured his place in the national team.
In the World Cup
Vladimir Konstantinov, whose biography is now has been closely associated with hockey, in 1986, was a bid for his first world championship. It was held in Moscow. At the preliminary stage of the Soviet hockey players were unstoppable. 7 wins in 7 matches. Most of all went to the Poles, who were defeated 7: 2.
4 teams continued to fight in the final round. And no one was able to re-create the Soviet national team worthy competition. Canadians were beaten 7: 4, Finns - 8: 0, Swedish 3: 2. The team won its 20th title at the world championships, and Constantine - the first. In addition to reliable game in defense, he noted goals scored and one assists.
Repeat success and become a world champion Vladimir Konstantinov was able to two more times.
In 1989, the USSR national team in Sweden again flawlessly passed the preliminary stage without losing any points. Poles at this time was played with an even bigger score - 12: 1.
In the final group turned out to be the first difficult match against the Czechs. Defense, headed by Konstantinov played brilliantly, so never and never missing. Sami Soviet hockey players scored one goal in the third period. It was then confidently beat Canadians 5: 3, and the Swedes 5: 1.
In 1990, at the World Cup already at an advanced stage in Switzerland, it all came together is not easy. After self wins over Norway 9: 1, 5, Germany: 2, $ 10: 1, Finland 6: 1, USSR team lost Swedes 1: 3, and in the final round tied with Canadians. As a result, the group managed to get only the third place.
In the final group of athletes domestic first taken from Swedish rematch (3: 0), then the Canadians (7: 1), and completed comfortable win over Czechs 5: 0.
In 1991, Vladimir Konstantinov, whose photo adorned while the sports pages of newspapers, the last time went to the World Championship in Finland. Assuming the preliminary stage only one misfire (the game against Sweden ended 5: 5), the Soviet Union went from first place. However, after the final round wins over Americans 6: 4, Konstantinov command could not beat Canadians (3: 3) and yielded a final meeting Swedes - 1: 2. The result - only the third place.
Escape in the NHL
During the adjustment Konstantinov became one of the first Soviet players, who decided to try your luck overseas. After Sergei Fedorov, he became the second player from the Soviet Union, which had acquired the "Detroit Red Wings".
USSR at that time had not yet broken up, so to play in the NHL, there was only one chance - to escape. Valery Matveev "Pravda" newspaper sports correspondent has been specially bribed by the Americans, to entice the Soviet hockey player. The plan failed when Constantine saw lives in the US Fedorov.
But crank it was not so easy. All this is more like a detective. The management team of the Detroit Matveyev has allocated 30 thousand dollars for expenses. He arranged Konstantinov in the hospital where found that a rare disease.
Before the start of the next season's wife turned to hockey coaches and CSKA with a request to release her husband for treatment in the United States. CSKA Tikhonov Head coach suspected a trick and made Konstantinova pass another examination in a specialized military hospital. But it turned out that doctors can be bribed.
But even after that let Konstantinova no one was going. Customs airport "Sheremetyevo" was ordered to withdraw his passport when attempting to travel abroad. Konstantinov fake documents arrived in Budapest, from where went to Detroit to have a private jet club owner Mike Ilic.
A career in Detroit
In the US, Konstantinov quickly earned a reputation as an aggressive and even "dirty" defender who did not avoid the dangerous techniques and clashes with rivals. American fans gave him a lot of nicknames. For example, a terminator or Vlad impaler (Romanian Count, is the prototype Drakuly graph). After the first season, he was in command of all the stars of the league newcomers.
In the 1995-96 season, the head coach, "Detroit" Scotty Bowman decided to experiment. He created a purely Russian five. In addition Konstantinova it included Fetisov, Kozlov, Larionov and Fedorov. Russians instantly hit it off and began to demonstrate unparalleled and effective game.
In the regular season Konstantinov was the best player in the league one of the key statistical indicators - plus or minus. This gauge the effectiveness of the player, which takes into account the number of washers, abandoned and missed the team at the time, until the hockey player was on the court. In Konstantinov was the result of 60.
This figure was not one player since the days of Wayne Gretzky. In that season, "Detroit" has won a landslide victory in the regular season, winning 62 matches out of 82. But in the Western Conference finals lost "Colorado" 2: 4.
The owner of the Stanley Cup
Gold for Konstantinov became the next season. everything was not so good in the regular season. Of the 82 meetings managed to win only 38. In the playoffs, the team went from second place.
But in the Western Conference finals revenge "Colorado" won 4: 2. And in the final confrontation with the "Philadelphia" just leave that chance - 4: 0.
This success was the last of his career. The NHL Konstantinov spent 446 games in which scored 174 points (47 of goals and 127 assists).
The fatal accident
The tragedy occurred on June 13, 1997. Less than a week after winning the Stanley Cup Finals. Konstantinov was returning from a party with Fetisov and masseur Sergei Mnatsakanova team. In a suburb of Detroit, they have an accident. The car lost control and crashed into a roadside tree.
Behind the wheel at that time was the driver of the rented limousine Richard Gnayd. The investigation revealed that he was under the influence of marijuana. As a result, Gnayd and Fetisov received minor injuries. Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov hit the bulkhead and held their heads in a coma for several weeks. When he awoke from a coma, Konstantinov was confined to a wheelchair. Speech and his memory have been broken forever. Similar problems experienced Mnatzakanov.
Fetisov for this was the second serious accident. The first in Moscow in the late '80s, he also hardly hurt, unlike that suffered Vladimir Konstantinov. Brother Fetisov then died.
After the accident, the club did not give up the Soviet hockey player. In 1998, the Stanley Cup was at the "Detroit" for the second time in a row. Club captain Steve Yzerman Konstantinov handed the trophy sitting in a wheelchair with him the team has made a lap of honor.
Vladimir Konstantinov today continues to live in the United States. In 2005, he became an American citizen. On the whole procedure lasted one year. At the ceremony he arrived documents are no longer in a wheelchair, and relying on the special device.
Currently Konstantinov lives in suburban Detroit. His wife and her daughter are in New Jersey. Although officially they are not divorced. He has been constantly in recent years gradually began to walk on their own and do things around the house.