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Two ex-Blackhawks among 43 dead in Russian plane crash


—Brad McCrimmon, 52, from Canada. A former Detroit Red Wings assistant who became Lokomotiv’s coach in May. Played in 1,222 NHL games between 1979-97, compiling 81 goals and 322 assists.
—Pavol Demitra, 36, from Slovakia. A three-time NHL All-Star who helped Slovakia win a world championship bronze medal in 2003. Scored 304 goals in 847 NHL games. Three-time Olympian.
—Ruslan Salei, 36, from Belarus. A defenseman who played in 917 NHL games, totaling 45 goals and 149 assists for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and Detroit Red Wings.
—Alexander Karpovtsev, 41, from Russia. Assistant coach who played 12 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman with the New York Rangers, Toronto, Chicago, the New York Islanders, and Florida. Joined three Rangers teammates in 1994 as the first Russian players to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.
—Karlis Skrastins, 37, from Latvia. A defenseman who played in 832 NHL games, mainly for the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.
—Josef Vasicek, 30, from Czech Republic. A Czech forward who spent most of his NHL career with the Carolina Hurricanes. He was a member of the club’s Stanley Cup championship team in 2006.
—Karel Rachunek, 32, from Czech Republic. Played 371 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, and won a world championship title with the Czech Republic in 2010.
—Igor Korolev, 41, from Russia. Assistant coach following a playing career in the NHL and KHL. In 12 NHL seasons with St. Louis, the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise, Toronto and Chicago, he scored 119 goals in 795 games. His last NHL season was 2003-04.
—Stefan Liv, 30, from Sweden. A veteran goaltender who won Olympic gold with Sweden as a backup in 2006.
—Alexander Vasyunov, 23, from Russia. Had one goal and five points in 18 games last season with the New Jersey Devils, his only NHL experience.

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Updated: September 7, 2011 2:53PM

Former Blackhawks Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev were among those killed in a plane crash in Western Russia Wednesday that claimed the lives of most of a Russian pro hockey team.

Officials said at least 43 people were killed and two others critically injured when the plane carrying Lokomotiv, a Kontinental Hockey League team, crashed just after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

Karpovtsev and Korolev were assistant coaches for the team. Other notable losses include Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei and coach Brad McCrimmon.

Demitra, a standout center in the NHL, was a close friend of Hawks winger Marian Hossa. He played for the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks. Salei, a defenseman, played for the Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and, most recently, the Detroit Red Wings. McCrimmon, an assistant coach for the Red Wings last season, played 18 years in the NHL.

“Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world -- including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our league,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished.”

Karpovtsev, a defenseman, spent four seasons with the Hawks from 2000 to 2004, scoring six goals. Korolev, a center, also was part of the Hawks organization from 2000 to 2004, seeing time in Chicago and with the Norfolk Admirals (the Hawks’ former AHL affiliate).

The Hawks released the following statement: “We stand together with the entire KHL, NHL and hockey world in mourning today’s tragic news concerning the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. The tragedy effects the Chicago Blackhawks family directly as we mourn the losses of Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, two players who spent time with our organization and that our fans know well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl organization.”

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