I know I’m a bit late with this post, but the job and family held me up a bit. By now everyone has heard the horrific news of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team plane crashing after take-off, killing all but one player. Absolutely horrific news.
Among the players and coaches lost were former NHLers Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek and Karel Rachunek, who played for the Rangers a handful of seasons ago. The team’s head coach, Brad McCrimmon, who played in the NHL for 18 years, and more recently was an assistant coach in Detroit with the Red Wings, also died.
Alexander Karpovtsev, who was part of the New York Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup team, and was an assistant coach with Lokomotiv, was also killed, along with 2003 Rangers draft-pick Jan Marek.
The lone player to survive was Alexander Galimov, 26, who is being treated for severe burns over 80 percent of his body.
“This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 nations,” said IIHF President Rene Fasel. “This is a terrible tragedy for the global ice hockey community.”
Hockey players across the globe shared their grief throughout the day. “I played with [Galimov] when I was a little kid and again in nation team, junior,” said Alexander Ovechkin. “It’s kind of a scary moment. A whole national tragedy. My friend just told me when I go out to the ice, I go to the Internet see it’s true or not. It’s scary. I don’t know what to say.”
Several New York Rangers players were visibly shaken up, including Artem Anisimov, Henrik Lundqvist and Marian Gaborik, who was very close with Demitra. He was unavailable for comment after the team’s workout today.
“I knew a lot of guys on that team, we had gone to school together in Yaroslavl, grown up together,” Anisimov said, who played for Lokomotiv for several years as a teenager. “When I heard the news I felt like this can’t happen. I heard on the news then received texts about a plane crash. I feel sick after. It’s tragic.”
Lundqvist was shaken up following the news of his friend and fellow Swedish goaltender Stefan Liv was on the plane. “Unbelievable,” Lundqvist said.