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Vladimir Krutov, Soviet Hockey for KLM Line, Dies at 52

June 06, 2012

Vladimir Krutov of Soviet Union Hockey’s KLM Line

Vladimir Krutov of the Soviet Union plays against Germany in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Source: Getty Images

Vladimir Krutov, a member of the Soviet Union hockey team’s KLM Line in the 1980s, died this morning after suffering a stomach hemorrhage, the International Ice Hockey Federation said. He was 52.

Krutov, a 5-foot-9, 195-pound left wing, won two Olympic gold medals and helped the Soviets to five world championships. Center Igor Larionov and right wing Sergei Makarov joined him to make up the KLM unit that is considered one of the most dominant in international hockey history.

The trio was often paired with defenders Vyacheslav Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov in a lineup known as the “green unit” because they wore green practice jerseys. All five players have been inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

During his career with the Soviet national team, Krutov won a gold medal at the 1979 and 1980 World Junior Championships, and gold at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. He was also part of the 1981 Canada Cup-winning team, which defeated Canada 8-1 in the championship game in Montreal, and won 11 national championships with CSKA Moscow.

In international competition, Krutov totaled 89 goals and 75 assists in 123 games.

He joined the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks in 1989, scoring 11 goals and 23 assists in 61 games before returning to Russia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Buteau in Atlanta at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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