Krutov Larionov Fetisov Kasatonov Tretiak

ALEXEI KASATONOV

Alexei Kasatonov was born on October 14, 1959 in St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad. His hockey career began when he joined the local team SKA Leningrad at the age of 16. Two years later he was drafted by the Central Red Army. In Moscow he began his rapid rise to became one of the best defenders in the world. He won 11 national titles in the Soviet Union.

Participating in 3 Olympic Tournaments, Alexei won 2 Gold and 1 Silver medal. By winning 5 World Championships he was named the best defender in 1983 and a five time Tournament All-Star.

Always playing together with his defensive partner Slava Fetisov, they were considered to be the best defensive pair outside the NHL. Some experts said that he was even better than Fetisov. Kasatonov was the favourite player of former Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov. That was one reason why the friendship with Fetisov came to an end.

The Russian players, led by Larionov and Fetisov, forced the rebellion against the Soviet system for better treatment and the permission to play outside of Russia. Kasatonov didn’t support their stance.

Even after joining the New Jersey Devils half way through the ‘89-90 season  and being reunited with Fetisov, the two continued to dislike each other and avoided talking.

He was already 30 years old when he left Russia to play in the United States. His best days were over and nobody thought that he would make a good career in the NHL. But Kasatonov did a pretty good job and played constantly as a defenseman for the first years. After a poor season in ‘92-93 he was traded to Anaheim where he was named for the All-Star Game. After a short stop in St. Louis the Boston Bruins hired him to help Bruins legend Ray Bourque to improve the standard of the team. After the lockout in 1995, he played some more games for Boston before ending his North American career in the Minors. Altogether he played 383 games for 38 goals, 122 assists and 160 points.

Kasatonov went back to Russia to play his last season ‘96-97 under Viktor Tikhonov for CSKA Moscow.

Even after his retirement he is still connected with hockey. Working for the Russian Hockey Federation, he led the Russian team as General Manager to win the Silver Medal in Nagano 1998. Kasatonov is an “Honoured Master of Sport” in Russia.