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3 декабря. 2001 года
Larionov doesn't play like NHL's oldest player // Michigan Live

By Ansar Khan

DETROIT -- Igor Larionov was a pioneer in 1989 as one of the NHL's first Russian players.
Twelve years later, he's still blazing trails. The NHL's oldest player, Larionov turns 41 today and continues to show why hockey is not just a young man's game.

A third-line center, Larionov plays in all key situations for the Detroit Red Wings, surprising even himself with his longevity.

"I never realized that I would be playing this long," Larionov said. "When I signed with Vancouver in '89, I was 28. Usually at that age in Russia you're considered too old. I was thinking to play three years, maximum, and that would be it. Now it's been 12 seasons."

It's actually been twice that long, including his career in the former Soviet Union, where he started as an 18-year-old in 1978. But the years have been kind to him. At an age when players start sprouting gray hair and developing wrinkles on their face, Larionov could pass for a man 10 years younger.

"He's fortunate that he's one of those people who's going to look young forever," Wings captain Steve Yzerman said. "And he really takes good care of himself, watches what he eats, trains hard, knows what he has to do to stay fit during the season and the offseason.

"And he's been fortunate that he's remained free of serious injury throughout his career. At 41, he's as good a conditioned guy as there is on this team."

Players his size (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) tend to be brittle. But Larionov's keen hockey sense enables him to avoid hits that would have taken their toll over the years.

"It's a dangerous game; injuries often occur," Larionov said. "You have to be physically and mentally ready every time you step on the ice, try to be aware what's going on on the ice."

He always seems to be aware of his surroundings and remains one of the top passers in the game.
"You know when he has the puck he's going to find the open guy," Wings forward Luc Robitaille said. "He does a lot of plays like (Wayne) Gretzky did, where he goes away from the norm to find space to maneuver."

Yzerman said Larionov gives the team many options.

"He's really valuable in that he can go into a lot of different spots and play well," Yzerman said. "He's good on the side boards, good in the corner to the left of the goalie and can also play the point."

Страничка Игоря Ларионова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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