March 26, 2023

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Morozov and Mozyakin made Zaripov the most titled player in the KHL – these are the main partners in his career

Which link is better?

Danis Zaripov is ending his career – the match between Ak Bars and Metallurg became his 1324th in the Russian championships. It is symbolic that both clubs are the most important in his life: with them he won titles, and in each of the teams Zaripov had legendary connections with other top players. Ak Bars was dominated by his duet with Morozov (now the president of the KHL), and Metallurg for a long time kept on the partnership of Zaripov and Mozyakin.

In 2022, the KHL talked about the most productive triples in the history of the league. All of them have long been defeated, and only a few players continue their careers in Russia. Danis Zaripov is the only one who appears on the list twice and with different partners. Legionnaire Kapanen complements the team at Ak Bars, and Kovarzh at Metallurg.

Zaripov played hockey according to Morozov’s notebooks – he took an example from him until the last years of his career

Danis Zaripov had two visits to Ak Bars. The first one ended in 2013. By that time, Morozov and Zaripov had two victories in the Gagarin Cup (2009 and 2010). Both were mined under Kapanen as the center, although, of course, the link with Zinoviev, which ignited even before the creation of the KHL, is considered more classic.

“We always understood the game the same way, looked at hockey and many other things the same way,” the striker recalled. But in the end, the partners changed, and Zaripov and Morozov complemented each other throughout the performance at Ak Bars. From all the compilations of retro goals, it seems that sometimes they got victories together.

So Zaripov regularly assisted Morozov:

This worked in reverse as well:

Zaripov has always noted Morozov’s influence on his game. In 2018, he laughed in an interview with Tatar-inform : “He taught me how to win, and now I still play and win according to his notebooks.” It was Alexei who most often liked to talk about schemes in Ak Bars, and in recent years the club was noticeably ahead of its rivals in the majority game. The game idea is the constant movement of the puck.

Morozov and Zaripov also played together with Mortenson, but Kapanen was especially impressed during their performance in the KHL. Finn explained: some combinations were discussed before the matches, but hockey itself was built on improvisation. Niko  was surprised by the uniqueness of partners: “Sometimes you just don’t know what to expect from these guys! You have to learn to read their game, and it’s not that easy.”

They were not only partners on the ice, but also friends for life. Morozov and Zaripov still regularly call each other and participate in joint projects. For example, this season they opened the Friendship Cup – Duslyk 2023 together. Already in the role of league president, Morozov publicly supported his friend’s desire to play in the KHL as long as possible.

The Zaripov-Morozov pair was also prominent in the Russian team, but experiments were often carried out with her there. Bykov in different years proved that both can be effective without each other.