Other International Stars
Playing on the second great troika with Almetev and
Loktev, Venjamin Alexandrov was considered the greatest Soviet player of his
time. He drew some incredible comparisons. He was dubbed "Bobrov 2" in
Russia, after the first great Soviet star, Vsevolod Bobrov. The great Russian
coach Anatoli Tarasov had another comparison though - Maurice "Rocket"
Tarasov once had a conversation with the Rocket, where Richard said his secret
to success was to not worry about the two or three burly defensemen that are
about to crush him as he shoots on goal. He concentrates only on finding the
open spot in the net, and takes whatever punishment the other team can dish out.
After all, as long as Richard scored, he would be handing out the ultimate
punishment. Tarasov instantly thought of his own Alexandrov when Richard had
"I think that our Alexandrov, by his style of game, by his ability to keep
a level head even in the most explosive situations, looks something like Maurice
Richard, the great master of attack." said Tarasov in his book Road to
Alexandrov was the left wing on his troika. He was destined for hockey stardom
as he was groomed from an early age. He was brought up and trained as a
youngster through the Central Army hockey school. When he was in his prime he
was an electrifying star that had crowds cheering for him not only in Russia,
but in Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Finland. Even in Canada and the US, he was the
closest thing to a household Soviet name in the 1960s.
Alexandrov was not an individualist, at least not in the manner that Bobrov was.
Though he certainly had the skill, he was not afraid to do his share of the
dirty work as well, and used his linemates better than Bobrov did.