Homer and the Professor
Holmstrom watched the highlights of Larionov's induction ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame, Monday night, bringing back memories of his teammate on three Stanley Cup teams.
"I never saw him eat any bad food; He always took care of his body," said Holmstrom, who is 13 years Larionov's junior. "At night, I'd want hot chocolate and a sandwich. He was, 'No, eat a fruit plate instead.' I like to eat a little bit. A fruit plate doesn't do it for me."
Fittingly, the first thing that Larionov did after getting the call, June 17, saying that he was selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame was to do his daily 45-minute swim workout. Only after that was finished did Larionov call his family.
Growing up in Sweden, Holmstrom was a fan of the old Soviet Union national team, getting to watch some games from tournaments like the World Championships and the Olympics on television.
In the 1980s, the Soviets' top forward line was the KLM line, centered by Larionov. Holmstrom met winger Vladimir Krutov when the Russian played in the Swedish Elite League. He got an autograph from Sergei Makarov -- Holmstrom's favorite of the trio -- when Makarov played for the San Jose Sharks.
But Holmstrom got something priceless from Larionov as the Professor's teammate and roommate … hockey advice from a future hall of famer.
"I was fortunate to play with him; he taught me lots of stuff," said Holmstrom. "Never throw the puck away. He always used to say, 'If you have the puck, you decide what's going to happen. You dictate the game.' I try to do that. I tell the younger guys, 'Never throw the puck away. You dictate the game.' That was Igor. Show me a clip of him dumping the puck. I don't think you could one on Youtube."