Vladimir Konstantinov still has, and always will have, a special place in the hearts of Detroit Red Wings fans.
On Friday night, the Red Wings opened up their 2022-23 season at Little Caesars Arena with a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
What did Red Wings fans do when Vladimir Konstantinov appeared on the Jumbotron?
During the third period, with the Red Wings leading the Canadiens by a score of 1-0, Vladimir Konstantinov was shown on the Jumbotron, and the fans at Little Caesars Arena exploded.
Take a watch and listen as the crowd at LCA rises to their feet and chants, “VLAD-DY, VLAD-DY” as Konstantinov is shown on the screen.
Steve Yzerman presents Stanley Cup to Vladimir Konstantinov
June 16, 1998: The Detroit Red Wings' dominance of the hockey world continued as they hoisted the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year. Since then, only one other team has been back-to-back champs, the Pittsburg Penguins, after winning in 2017.
When the final moments clicked off the clock in Game 4 of the 1998 Stanley Cup finals, the Red Wings had secured the sweep of the Washington Capitals for their second consecutive Stanley Cup win. After Steve Yzerman received the Stanley Cup and raised it in celebration, he immediately placed it on Vladimir Konstantinov's lap as the entire team gathered around in one of the most unforgettable moments in hockey history.
Red Wings Limousine Crash
Following a golf outing with the Stanley Cup on June 13, 1997, celebrating the Red Wings Stanley Cup triumph, Konstantinov, along with Russian hockey legend Viacheslav Fetisov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov, hired a limousine to drive them home. The driver, Richard Gnida, whose license was suspended at the time for drunk driving, lost control of the limousine and hit a tree on the median of Woodward Avenue in Birmingham, Michigan. Konstantinov spent several weeks in a coma. As a result of the limousine crash, Konstantinov suffered from serious head injuries and paralysis, while Fetisov escaped with relatively minor injuries and was able to play the following season. Mnatsakanov sustained significant head injuries as well and spent some time in a coma; he has had a considerably more difficult recovery.
Although Konstantinov could never play hockey again due to the limousine crash, the Detroit Red Wings still recognized him as part of their team. The Red Wings sought and received special dispensation from the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup after they won the 1998 title. – Via Wikipedia