One year ago today the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s chartered plane caught fire and crashed almost immediately after takeoff. As the facts have come out we have seen that this tragedy, as many tragedies that happen, could have been avoided havd proper protocol been followed. After the ensuing investigation the plane itself was deemed unsafe for airtravel. Not only that, but the pilots used on the flight were not qualified to be flying a plane.
If just one of those two problems were caught and corrected this whole disaster could have been avoided. People not doing their jobs is what it comes down to and when you work in a professional where you control people’s lives that is unacceptable. Quite a few people in that airline can have the blame placed on them for this incident. Who exactly we may never know, but I am sure they know who they are.
One of the victims of this tragedy was former Flyers defensemen Brad McCrimmon. McCrimmon was going into his first season as the head coach of the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, but before that he was an unbelievable talent on the blueline for the Flyers. McCrimmon, known by teammates as Beast, came to the Flyers in 1982 in exchange for Pete Peeters and made Philly his home for five years. In the 1985-86 season Beast put a stat line of 13/43/56 and +83 plus/minus rating. Amazingly enough that +83 was topped by Mark Howe that season who led the whole NHL with a +85 plus/minus rating.
Howe and McCrimmon formed a deadly tandem on the blueline for the Flyers during the ’80′s and although it is Howe who is considered the Hall of Fame defensemen with the credentials if you ask any member of those 1980′s teams they will tell you that Beast was just as much a part of the their success as Mark was. In fact it was McCrimmon after that 1985 season that was rewarded with the Barry Ashbee trophy.
McCrimmon played with some of the best defensemen of all time including Nik Lidstrom and Chris Pronger. He was always considered a leader and a mentor to the young d-men when he got older. He was not afraid to take the body either as he was known to regularly throw bone-jarring hits completely disregarding his own body for the betterment of the team. He would not be considered an offensive defensemen though which sadly is why he is not as recognized as some of his counterparts. McCrimmon was a modest man though and I’m sure thought nothing of his underrated status. He gave what he had to every team he played for and that’s all that mattered to him. His career plus/minus was +444 which has only been surpassed by nine players as of 2012. I believe he is fully deserving of a Hockey Hall of Fame induction as well as a Flyers Hall of Fame induction.