Hockey was forever changed on October 27, 1995, during a tilt between the Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames.
It was the night that Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman sent five former Soviet Red Army players onto the ice in Calgary, and into history. Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Slava Kozlov all played together on the same line, and quickly became known by the legendary moniker of the “Russian Five”.
Fittingly, both Kozlov and Larionov scored in Detroit’s 3-0 win.
The style of play the Russians played was unlike most teams at the time, who employed a simple dump-and-chase strategy. The puck possession and quick passing mentality quickly became the Red Wings calling card, and helped to confuse opponents in the process.
The Russian Five helped the Red Wings to a historic 62 victory 1995-96 season that ended in what gave birth to the legendary rivalry between Detroit and the Colorado Avalanche. The next season, the Red Wings lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time in 42 years. The iconic image of Fetisov and Larionov both raising the Cup together will live on in hockey history.
Though the Russian Five was cut short by the tragic limousine accident involving Konstantinov shortly after the ’97 Cup win, the radical idea by Bowman helped to change the game of hockey forever.