Federov. Kozlov. Konstantinov. Fetisov. Larionov.
For some, this is just a group of names that end in “-ov”. But for others, these names changed hockey forever.
Joshua Riehl, Keith Gave, and Jason Wehling do an excellent job in their documentary titled “The Russian Five”, explaining how these five names transformed the Detroit Red Wings, and the entire NHL.
Old Memories, New Recognition
“The Russian Five” captures the triumph, the grit, the determination, and the togetherness of the Detroit Red Wings, in a time where the league was changing, and hall of fame careers forged.
The film starts in the 1980s, also known as the era of the “Dead Wings”. Throughout the film, mastermind Jimmy Devellano details how he carefully constructed a winning team, while changing the game of hockey forever.
It’s a wonderful film for fans of all ages to enjoy. Older fans will be able to relive memories of how this team came together and brought hockey back to Detroit, while young fans will be able to learn and appreciate how great of a franchise the Red Wings are. Not only does this film revolve around one of the greatest groups of hockey players to ever skate, but it also relives some rivalries, explains some odd decisions, and mentions why a pizza man wanted to own this team. Younger fans are encouraged to watch and learn about a piece of one of the NHL’s greatest franchises. If you’ve lived through this period, take a trip down memory lane and watch this movie to
Ov, Ov, Ov, Ov, and Ov,
Bringing these five players to the US wasn’t an easy task, as Russia had limits on what their hockey players could and couldn’t do. In the film, Devellano and others explain the risks it took to turn one of the NHL’s worst teams into Stanley Cup contenders. Each player has their tale, and each one is as great as expected. It’s no surprise that this group changed the dynamic of hockey, bringing the “keep-away” style of play, for which the Russians were most known. Federov was the first of the five to come to Detroit, and after he was drafted, the NHL quickly started to realize how Russians were going to make an impact on the league. The film depicts what exactly started to happen as soon as Detroit picked him in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL Draft.
Overall, the film was excellent in describing every event, without missing any key details. I recommend it for anyone, but keep in mind there is some mild/strong language at points in the film (thanks McCarty). Go for the history and achievements, and stay for the 1990’s Don Cherry.
Watch the film in select theaters, but only for a short time. Check for tickets and showtimes here.