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Tailing the Komets

Who remembers these guys?


Fri, 02/20/2015 - 6:52am

Wonderful article. It was indeed special to watch. A few other great lines:

Anderson Boudreau Loach         Gruhl Chin Lakso          (Pistilli Crowder Perlini)??????

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 8:29am

I was living in south Florida at the time, so I did not get to see the Mig line, but I've heard great stories about them.  So sorry I missed them.

I am looking forward to your next article because I was here for that!




Fri, 02/20/2015 - 9:04am

97-98 was the 1st season I got to enjoy Komet Hockey ~ very spoiled getting to see this line ~ Bashkirov was by far my favorite. The stick handling was just so smooth

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 9:10am

The Russians were awesome but how about, Rivard, Dubchak and Goodwin or Thornson, Dubchak and Goodwin. Those two lines were really special IMO.

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 12:48pm

They were the best line ever. As we were aware the end for us in the IHL was near, I remember telling my wife to enjoy every game because we would never see anything like this again in the Coliseum. They were incredibly good together...

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 1:51pm

They were so smooth and fluid, they made it look easy.  Perfection on skates!

Just My Thoughts
Fri, 02/20/2015 - 3:11pm

Great line by far the best ever for the Komets. They could have been a third line on any NHL team. Maybe a second line on a lower team. By them self each player was very good but a top NHL guy at the time. It just goes to show you that when you have three guys who work togeather like great things happen. At the time this line was in the IHL most North Americans were still stuck in the I skate on my wing that is it. These guys were a text book of F1, F2, F3 hockey and cycling the puck. 

Blake Sebring
Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:01pm

Here you go, Muel


Thursday, April 9, 1998

Without the members of the MiG Line, the Fort Wayne Komets would probably be sweating this week to earn a playoff spot instead of celebrating the IHL's Central Division title.

Like any great lines, Viacheslav Butsayev, Konstantin Shafranov and Andrei Bashkirov have carried their team offensively this year. They have scored 36 percent of the Komets' goals this season along with an amazing 57 percent of the assists while scoring 3.74 points per game.

``They pass the puck and open the play up for whoever is passing,'' former longtime Komets Coach and owner Ken Ullyot said. ``They know that possession of the puck is the whole thing. They make the other team try to take it from them.''

But how good are they? With the help of former Komets statistician Ed Rose, we developed a formula to measure the success of the MiG Line against the greatest lines in the Komets' 46-year history. Like a mythical computer game, we pitted Butsayev, Shafranov and Bashkirov against the Century Club (John Anderson, Bruce Boudreau and Lonnie Loach), the Western Union Line (Terry McDougall, Robbie Laird and Al Dumba), the EMS Line Pat Elynuik, Rob Murphy and Shafranov) and other great Komets lines.

Because the Komets played a different number of games in different seasons, in an effort to calculate their impact on an individual Komets' team, we figured the percentage of the team's goals and assists and the points per game scored by each line. In a poll of 10 top lines, the line that averaged the most points per game got 10 points, the second most nine points and so on. Because Shafranov missed 11 games to play in the Olympics, we substituted Lee Davidson's statistics as he filled in.

The MiG Line fared pretty well, but they weren't the best.

According to our calculations, the top Komets' line of all-time was Len Thornson, John Goodwin and Merv Dubchak in 1966-67. That line averaged 5.20 points per game as Thornson scored 139 points, Goodwin had 106 and Dubchak had 98. The line of Bob Rivard, Goodwin and Dubchak in 1965-66 set IHL records for most points by a line, as Rivard scored 133, Dubchak had 117 and Goodwin had 114. They were a close second in the poll because the rest of the team also scored.

The 1959-60 line of Thornson, Norm Waslawski and Len Ronson was third; Anderson, Boudreau and Loach were fourth and the MiG Line was fifth. Anderson, Boudreau and Loach scored the most points per game at 5.79, the MiG Line had the highest ratio of assists at 57 percent, and Thornson, Dubchak and Goodwin had the highest ratio of goals at 51 percent.

But how would the MiG Line compete over the decades?

``I really feel they could play in any era,'' all-time Komets great Eddie Long said. ``Butsayev is one of the finest centermen I've ever seen in the IHL. I really feel these guys play with heart. They are thinking all the time out there.''

Other longtime Komets watchers agree.

``I think they'd be no different then as now,'' former Komets center Doug Rigler said. ``With their skill level they could dominate in any era because of their passing and positional play. They make everything look simple.''

As Komets radio announcer Bob Chase said, ``So many used to play the game that way, and these guys are on a par with any of them. The game has changed a lot, but I think they also have the skill level that would keep them in contention with the high skill level of some of the great lines of yesterday.''

Who knows which was the best line, but enjoy the MiG Line while it's here.>

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 4:33pm

Thanks Blake! I knew those two lines were pretty potent...but the MIG line really was something the way they kept control of the puck. It reminds me a lot of Datsyuk and Hossa

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 10:55pm

Apod brought the Russian dance back but this song played nightly when these men light it up. I became a real fan watching these play in my youth.

Blake Sebring
Fri, 02/20/2015 - 11:23pm

Funny thing is, Shaf says the song isn't even Russian.

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 2:33pm

i remember watching these guys and thinking to myself....so this is what the nhl looks like!....