Red Wings legend Igor Larionov introduced as a coach!

The Professor is taking his talents behind the bench!

Michael W.

They called him "The Professor" for good reason. Simply put, former Detroit Red Wings forward Igor Larionov was one of the smartest hockey players every to lace up the skates. Of course, he was also instrumental in the introduction of Russian players into the National Hockey League, playing a key role in forcing the then-Soviet government into allowing their players compete in hockey's top league. 

He'll be putting his legendary smarts to good use now, as he was recently selected as the head coach of the Russian Olympic team that will be hitting the ice in Beijing in February. 

“The management group of the Russian national team has taken the decision to appoint Igor Larionov as the head coach of the Russian Olympic team (the reserve team of the senior national team), and Oleg Bratash as the head coach of the junior Russian national team.

Bratash has been working with Russian national teams since 2015. Previously, he was a coach of the junior national team and the head coach of the Olympic team.

This is the third season for Igor Larionov as a coach within the Russian national team set-up. In the 2019/2020 campaign, he was a member of the junior national team’s coaching staff at the World Junior Championship, before he subsequently worked as the team’s head coach. The specialist will coach players who are in reserve for the senior national team.”

Larionov's arrival in the Motor City gave birth to the "Russian Five", and he helped Detroit to three Stanley Cup titles (1997, 1998, 2002). He appeared in a total of 921 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Red Wings, Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. During his career, he scored 169 goals along with 475 assists, as well as 97 points in 150 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games. 

Following his playing career that ended after the 2003-04 season, Larionov would be named director of hockey operations for Russian powerhouse hockey club SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). 

This won't be his first head coaching experience, however. Larionov previously served as head coach of the Russian junior team, making his debut in the 2021 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.