German Titov

When the Soviets first came to the National Hockey League in the early 1990s, I took special interest in each one.One player that confused me was German Titov.

Titov, who starred for years with Khimik Voskresensk, came to Calgary in 1992 after a season and a half playing in Finland. I admittedly had never heard of him prior to his joining the Flames. I think what really surprised me about him was he had very good size and was not outstandingly fast - making him unusual amongst the best Soviet players.

That is not to say he was not amongst the better Soviets to initially join the NHL. In fact he adjusted quite well, thanks to willingness to use the body (thanks to incredible balance on his skates). He protected the puck well, blocked shots and sacrificed his body defensively. He was good on faceoffs and kill penalties. Because he was so responsible defensively he found a role with the Flames quickly, most famously on a line with speedier, more offensive players Theo Fleury and Michael Nylander.

Titov did bring offense to the table, too. In 3 of his first 4 seasons he topped 20 goals. He was a streaky scorer, but he had good hockey sense and was creative with the puck. I will always remember him for his short stick and his one-handed puckhandling. 

Titov played in 624 NHL games, also playing with Pittsburgh, Anaheim and very briefly Edmonton. He scored 157 goals, 220 assists and 377 points. He also helped Russia win the World Championship in 1993 and Olympic silver medal in 1998.


Anonymous,  1:11 PM  

good interesting fact about titov though you left out...unlike the other former soviet players that carried a military rank to keep their amateur status...titov served four years in the red army pretty much living in a tent and didn't even skate for at least two years before making the NHL

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