In his new role as head coach of the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL, former Detroit Red Wings star Igor Larionov is taking significant heat from the Russian media over his decision to tender a contract to his son, Igor Larionov Jr.
The younger Larionov, 24, was born in Detroit when his dad was with the Red Wings. Igor Larionov Jr played youth hockey with Detroit Honeybaked and junior across the river with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
Igor Larionov's first move as the head coach of Torpedo is to put his own son Igor Larionov on the 1st line alongside Agostino.
The younger Igor Larionov has not scored a goal since 2019, then in USHL. Since then he's played 5 games in Kunlun and 4 in the Swedish second division pic.twitter.com/PghgNmfwNs
— Karl Månsson (@karl_khl) August 10, 2022
As a pro, though, he’s left much to be desired. In stops with Kunlun Red Star of the KHL, Mora IK of Hockey Allsvenskan, Sweden’s Second Division and with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg of Russia’s VHL, Igor Jr has never scored a goal. That’s a fact that’s causing much consternation among those covering the KHL.
Larionov Feeling The Heat
“Igor Larionov Sr. talked so much about corruption in the MHL, about nepotism in Russian hockey, that, apparently, he got confused,” wrote Alexey Shevchenko of Sport-Express.ru. “Yes, the younger one had a good summer period, scored a lot in exhibition matches and, perhaps, earned himself a contract. But it is very embarrassing that by the age of 24 he scored exactly zero goals at the adult level.
“He played little everywhere, and even in the Chinese club, where the level of skill of competitors is not the highest, they looked with displeasure at what the hockey player was doing.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 26, 2020
“The defenders of this decision operate with strange arguments. Igor has a minimum contract, so there is no big damage. Wait, but he takes a place in the lineup. If Larionov Jr. signed a contract with any other club in the league, then there would be no questions. And now there will be questions.”
Fondness for Larionov’s Approach To Hockey
While they might not like the fact that he’s keeping his team in a family way, there is tremendous respect being shown in Russian hockey circles for the Larionov gameplan. He’s taking a freewheeling approach to hockey. the emphasis is being put on creativity and making things happen in the offensive zone.
“Igor Larionov didn’t have traditional training camps, plus his principles of hockey do not imply sitting in his zone in order to keep the score 1-0,” Shevchenko wrote. “The team must attack, run forward, create.
The result is secondary. They are showing hockey that would be interesting to watch.”