Friday, August 31, 2012

Summit Series '72, The Russians First Practice

From the chronicles of The Montreal Gazette and The Canadian Press.

The Russians flew through two practice sessions at St. Laurent Arena and observers were hard-pressed to find a skater who was even breaking a sweat, despite some gruelling end-to-end rushes. Head coach Vsevold Bobrov watched with seeming disinterest from the bench as his assistant Boris Kulagin ran the drills. One member of the Soviet entourage said, “In Russia, the coach plans strategy. His trainer and his assistant work out the players.

The team laughed and joked it's way all the way through the demanding workouts. Then, at the end of the session, Bobrov ordered several more demanding rink-length sprints. The superbly conditioned Soviets laughed their way through these. Although impressive to outsiders, coach Bobrov lamented afterward that, "the shape of the players is not up to mark".

Vladislav Tretiak, who appears to have the inside track to start in Saturday night's Forum opener, looked sharp in the initial drills. Lackadaisical Alexander Sidelnikov, however, was beaten repeatedly on three-on-one rushes.
At a press conference after practice, Tretiak offered his thoughts on Team Canada. "The Canadians are very strong shooters," he said, "I expect them to shoot very hard during the game." In addition he said, "I saw films if the 1972 Stanley Cup playoffs. But, I've never seen them playing live."

Meanwhile the following day, Friday Sept. 1, Team Canada broke camp in Toronto and flew to Montreal...on two separate planes. Sinden would name his Game One roster later that day. Red Berenson admitted, "It has been an excellent camp, Harry Sinden has done as much as anyone could do in three weeks. But we're certainly not in mid-season form, not in conditioning or timing. We're going to have to get it together at least enough Saturday night to win that opening game."

Berenson and the rest of the players agreed however that any further training camp would be of no benefit. "We've had enough of this." exclaimed Ron Ellis, "It's time to get to work".

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