When Igor Larionov was a key member of the Detroit Red Wings, skating among the famed Russian Five, he was known simply as The Professor. But in yet another example of today’s society not putting much stock in knowledge, the Russian media was questioning The Professor’s hockey acumen.
Larionov, the first-year coach of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL, was facing accusations of nepotism when he was signing his son Igor Larionov II to play for his club. Critics pointed out that the younger Larionov hadn’t scored a goal in almost three years and was without a goal as a professional.
First day at work for head coach Igor Larionov. pic.twitter.com/5tkGYgrdS0
— KHL (@khl_eng) September 3, 2022
“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.
Larionov Sinks One For Torpedo
Well, guess who’s having the last laugh? The KHL season opened on Saturday. Although Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod lost 5-4 to Magnitogorsk, among the goal scorers for Torpedo was Larionov’s son.
— Igor Larionov II (@Igor_LarionovII) August 24, 2022
It was his first goal since he was playing for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. The son of the Red Wings three-time Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Famer scored his previous goal in the Detroit suburbs. It was against NHL prospect Drew Commesso and USA Hockey’s NTDP squad at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan on February 27, 2019.
As a pro, the younger Larionov had failed to register a goal with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star, Mora IK of Hockey Allsvenskan, Sweden’s Second Division and with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg of Russia’s VHL.
Fondness For Larionov’s Approach
One the one hand, they may be taking him to task for inking his son to a contract, On the other hand, Larionov is earning much praise. He’s choosing wide open, entertaining hockey he’s choosing as his team’s trademark.
“When there is space and time to create a masterpiece and score a goal, why not?” Larionov told KHL.ru. “It’s moments like these that make viewers realize that hockey is a game of improvisation.
“We want to draw attention to the team throughout the country with our game. For the fans to enjoy our matches.”