Detroit — Former Red Wings great Igor Larionov received an unexpected phone call late Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay Lightning star Nikita Kucherov put in a FaceTime call to Larionov, his hockey idol, while Larionov was at dinner with his son.
Larionov saw the call coming in, an unrecognized number, but answered it anyway.
Kucherov and the Stanley Cup, which the Lightning had just won, filled the screen of Larionov’s phone.
“You’re my idol!” Kucherov shouted six times to Larionov, the 60-year-old Hall of Famer who is a legend in Russian hockey. “Thank you!”
Kucherov has spoken often about his admiration for Larionov and the way he played within the Russian hockey system and with the Russian Five on the Red Wings.
Likewise, Larionov has complimented Kucherov for the young player’s ability to see the ice and develop through the years.
Larionov’s son, Igor Larionov II, shared the exchange on Twitter.
“Coolest thing witnessed,” Larionov II said.
Less than an hour later, he showed the tweet to his father, who shared other parts of their conversation.
“Kuch also told him that he always watches his highlights,” Larionov II tweeted. “Every athlete can relate to watching your idol, but how amazing is it to win the biggest trophy in your sport and then FaceTime your idol. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.”
With Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Slava Kozlov and Slava Fetisov, Larionov helped the Red Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1997-98.
Tampa has also now won two consecutive Stanley Cups.
Ironically, Larionov was part of the Wings team that won 62 games in 1995-96 — did not win the Cup — then won two Stanley Cups.
Tampa won 62 games in 2018-19, with Kucherov enjoying a MVP season, but were eliminated in the first round in a four-game sweep.
The Lightning have since won the Stanley Cup two consecutive years.