Ruslan Salei

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Ruslan Salei
Ruslan Salei Detroit Red Wings Oct 8, 2010.JPG
Salei whilst with the Detroit Red Wings.
Born (1974-11-02)November 2, 1974
Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Died September 7, 2011(2011-09-07) (aged 36)
Yaroslavl, Russia
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 212 lb (96 kg; 15 st 2 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for HC Dinamo Minsk
Tivali Minsk
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Ak Bars Kazan
Florida Panthers
Colorado Avalanche
Detroit Red Wings
National team  Belarus
NHL Draft 9th overall, 1996
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Playing career 1992–2011

Ruslan Albertovich "Rusty" Salei (Belarusian: Руслан Салей; November 2, 1974 – September 7, 2011) was a Belarusian professional ice hockey player. Salei played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who selected him ninth overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.

Salei died on September 7, 2011, when a Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger aircraft, carrying the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League except for player Maxim Zyuzyakin and goaltending coach Jorma Valtonen, crashed near Yaroslavl on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011–12 KHL season.[1][2]

Playing career[edit]

Salei was selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim ninth overall at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. In 1992, prior to being selected for the Ducks, Salei played in his native Belarus for Dinamo Minsk in the Russian Elite League. After the 1994–95 season, the Russian Elite League re-aligned, pushing Tivali Minsk to the side. Salei then came to North America, being signed by General Manager Bob Strumm of the Las Vegas Thunder without Sturmm knowing of his capabilities.[3][4]

During a successful spell with the Thunder, Salei was drafted by the Ducks and soon signed a three-year deal worth $2.25 million.[1] Salei split time between the Ducks, Baltimore Bandits, and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League (AHL) before becoming a full squad member of the Ducks by the end of the 1997–98 season.

In October 1999, Salei was suspended by the NHL for ten games after he checked Dallas Stars center Mike Modano face first into the boards from behind. Modano suffered a slight concussion, strained ligaments in his neck, and a broken nose.[5] Salei played all 21 playoff games in the 2002–03 NHL season, which saw the Ducks go all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, only to lose in seven games to the New Jersey Devils. Salei scored the overtime game-winning goal in Game 3 of that series.

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Salei played in the Russian Superleague (RSL) for AK Bars Kazan. He returned to the Ducks upon resumption of the NHL the following season and played with the Ducks until the end of the 2005–06 season, playing 594 regular season games in his career for Anaheim, the franchise record for a defenseman.

Ruslan Salei on November 15, 2007 with the Florida Panthers.

On July 2, 2006, Salei signed with the Florida Panthers on a four-year contract, worth $12 million.[6] Salei quickly settled with the Panthers with his most productive season in 2006–07, where he totaled 32 points, scoring six goals and 26 assists in 82 regular season games. He continued his new-found offensive production in 2007–08 and as the Panthers fell out of playoff contention, Salei was traded at the NHL trade deadline to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Kārlis Skrastiņš and a third round draft pick on February 26, 2008.[7]

As a veteran and in his first full season with the Avalanche in 2008–09, Salei finished second among defenseman with 21 points in 70 games. He appeared in his 800th career NHL game against the St. Louis Blues on January 15, 2009[8] and surpassed 1,000 career penalty minutes against the Minnesota Wild on March 12, 2009.[9] Ruslan suffered a back injury to start the 2009–10 season subsequently missed 56 games.[10] He was able to recover in time to lead Belarus in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, but was relegated as a reserve defender upon his return to the Avalanche, playing in a career low 14 games.[11]

On August 9, 2010, the Detroit Red Wings announced Salei signed as a free agent to a one-year contract with the club worth $750,000, with an additional $350,000 in performance bonuses.[12] According to General Manager Ken Holland, Salei's positive experiences under current Red Wings coach Mike Babcock in Anaheim contributed to his decision.[13] He scored two goals paired with eight assists during that season, as well as a goal during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs in Detroit's first round matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Salei signed a one-year contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League on July 5, 2011.

Death[edit]

On September 7, 2011, at 4:02 PM local time, the Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger aircraft, carrying nearly the entire hockey team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) crashed near Yaroslavl, Russia on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011-12 KHL season. All but one on board were killed, including Salei.[14]

Awards[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1992–93 Dinamo Minsk REL 9 1 0 1 10
1993–94 Tivali Minsk REL 39 2 3 5 50
1994–95 Tivali Minsk REL 51 4 2 6 44
1995–96 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 76 7 23 30 123 15 3 7 10 18
1996–97 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 8 0 2 2 24 3 2 1 3 6
1996–97 Baltimore Bandits AHL 12 1 4 5 12
1996–97 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 30 0 1 1 37
1997–98 Cincinnati Mighty Ducks AHL 6 3 6 9 14
1997–98 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 66 5 10 15 70
1998–99 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 74 2 14 16 65 3 0 0 0 4
1999–00 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 71 5 5 10 94
2000–01 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 50 1 5 6 70
2001–02 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 82 4 7 11 97
2002–03 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 61 4 8 12 78 21 2 3 5 26
2003–04 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 82 4 11 15 110
2004–05 Ak Bars Kazan RSL 35 8 11 19 36 3 0 0 0 2
2005–06 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim NHL 78 1 18 19 114 16 3 2 5 18
2006–07 Florida Panthers NHL 82 6 26 32 102
2007–08 Florida Panthers NHL 65 3 20 23 75
2007–08 Colorado Avalanche NHL 17 3 4 7 23 10 1 4 5 4
2008–09 Colorado Avalanche NHL 70 4 17 21 72
2009–10 Colorado Avalanche NHL 14 1 5 6 10 1 0 0 0 0
2010–11 Detroit Red Wings NHL 75 2 8 10 48 11 1 0 1 0
NHL totals 917 45 159 204 1065 62 7 9 16 52

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1994 Belarus WC-C 22nd 6 1 2 3 10
1995 Belarus WC-C 21st 4 0 1 1 4
1998 Belarus OQ Q 4 0 2 2 18
1998 Belarus OG 7th 7 1 0 1 4
1998 Belarus WC 8th 2 1 0 1 8
2000 Belarus WC 9th 6 0 1 1 6
2001 Belarus WC 14th 6 0 1 1 31
2002 Belarus OG 4th 6 2 1 3 4
2004 Belarus WC-B 17th 5 3 4 7 2
2005 Belarus OQ NQ 2 1 0 1 2
2008 Belarus WC 9th 5 0 2 2 6
2009 Belarus WC 8th 6 2 3 5 6
2010 Belarus OG 9th 4 1 0 1 0
2010 Belarus WC 10th 6 1 1 2 8
Senior totals 69 13 18 31 109

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=587792
  2. ^ Plane crash in Russia involves KHL team
  3. ^ "Ruslan Salei from Minsk to Miami". hockeyadventure.com. 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  4. ^ Adrian Dater (2009-02-02). "Avs' Salei gets American initiation in Sin City". Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  5. ^ "Salei suspended 10 games for hit on Mike Modano". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. 1999-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  6. ^ "Panthers ink D Ruslan Salei". panthers.nhl.com. 2006-07-02. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  7. ^ "Avalanche acquire Ruslan Salei". cbc.ca. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  8. ^ "Janssen leads Blues past Avalanche". CBS Sports. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  9. ^ "Avalanche 2, Minnesota 1 SO". NHL. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  10. ^ Dater, Adrian (2010-02-10). "Salei OK to play, but when?". Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  11. ^ "Belarus names Olympic Roster". NBC Sports. 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  12. ^ "Wings sign defenseman Salei for 1-year". Detroit Red Wings. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  13. ^ "Red Wings pick up defender Ruslan Salei". Freep.com. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-08-09. [dead link]
  14. ^ http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=587792

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Chad Kilger
Anaheim Mighty Ducks first round draft pick
1996
Succeeded by
Michael Holmqvist