He was one of the most punishing and devastatingly effective defenseman in the National Hockey League, and was truly coming into his own at the time of the historic 1997 Stanley Cup victory. He was also an astounding plus-60 during Detroit's record-setting 1995-96 season, and his massive body checks put fear into the hearts of opponents.
But his career ended and his life was changed forever less than a week after the ultimate triumph when he was critically injured along with team trainer Sergei Mnatsakanov in a limousine accident. Konstantinov suffered serious head injuries and paralysis.
Thankfully, Konstantinov can still remember his playing days and his former teammates. He was recently asked during a public photo opportunity at a local Detroit sports retailer who he felt the best Red Wings player he suited up alongside with, and the answer was obvious - Steve Yzerman. Konstantinov then jokingly said that he was the second best.
A new law that went into effect in Michigan last July could cost Konstantinov the life sustaining care that he relies upon. Despite a GoFundMe account set up by Vladimir's daughter Anastasia Konstantinov, it failed to reach even 10% of the $250,000 goal. The NHLPA is also in contact with the family on how to provide assistance.