Other International Stars
Loktev joined the national team in 1954, but it wasn't
until 1957 when he found regular linemates in Alexander
Almetov and Venjamin Alexandrov. Together the three became
one of the greatest troikas in Soviet hockey history.
Loktev, as coach Anatoli Tarasov puts it, was an original
hockey player. He raced up his wing with puck well ahead
of him. This must have caused the opposing defenseman to
smack his lips in anticipation of a big body check or a
turnover. However this was part of Loktev's arsenal. He
lured in unsuspecting defenders this way, and then
miraculously and almost without fail, he'd put on a
beautiful deke to leave the bewildered defenseman up ice
as he danced in on the lonely goal keeper.
Loktev, who trained by himself in spare time, was a rough
player as well. He never shied away from the boards and
would fight for the puck until the whistle had blown. He
was punished several times for rough play in his younger
days by the Russian hockey federation. That punishment
seemed to do him a ton of good, as he calmed down some. He
remained aggressive but controlled, and became one of the
all time greats.