Friday, September 28, 2012

Summit Series '72, Game 8. "No Espo, You didn't win 5-4."

Program from the Moscow portion of the series

A collection of post-game quotes after Canada's improbable comeback victory.

"This is the happiest moment of my career," Henderson said.

Ken Dryden added, "This had to feel greater than winning the Stanley Cup." He added, “Better write something about that guy,” pointing to Esposito as he stripped off his pads. “Didn’t he show us just what kind of a hockey player he is – just how great he is?”

Phil Esposito stated bluntly,"I was more emotional in this series than I ever was in the Stanley Cup." He added, “What got me so motivated? Mostly it was the humiliation in that first game in Montreal … the fans who booed in Vancouver and some of the crap we had to read the papers. Alright, I’ll be explicit … the crap on the editorial pages.”

“We have one thing the Russians haven’t got – heart,” Gary Bergman said. “They take it as a game, not as an episode in life."

Harry Sinden made a point of going to the news conference dominated by European writers after the game. "All of you criticized the professional player for playing only for money," he said. "This series has proved their integrity and their character."

Boris Kulagin, Russian assistant said,"This is what happens when two great teams meet. We were not weaker than the Canadian team in this game. We lacked a little supporting luck."

“Told you we’d never lose another,” Eddie Johnston said, reminding all of his predictions after Team Canada blew a 4-1 lead with 11 minutes to play in the opener of what could have been a four-game sweep here. “They ain’t ever going to beat us never.”

On his interference penalty in the first period that lead to his expulsion from the match, J.P. Parise exclaimed,"It was a good, honest check. Maltsev had the puck and I hit him. Then I got called for interference. You can't be called for interference when you're checking a man with the puck - cross-checking, charging, boarding, maybe - but not interference.

Watch it for yourself here.

Esposito tried to explain how the winning goal came about. "I was behind the net and I saw Henderson flying in. I fired on the net and the rebound went to Paul and he put it away."
He then tried to outline how he scored his second goal, which gave Canada the lead for the first time. "Pete (Mahovlich) got the puck in the corner and flipped it out. I knocked it down with my hand right in front of the net. Then I juggled it a bit and slapped it in."
"After that, we got one more goal and we won the whole thing 5-4. I remember every detail. I'll never forget that moment."
"No, Espo," a reporter said, "you didn't win it 5-4. You won it 6-5. There were two more goals scored."
The big centre from Boston Bruins looked stunned:
"We did: Was that the score? Was that what happened?"

Ken Dryden summed it up with a prophetic assessment, “When we look back on this series in 20 years, it’ll have been the most important.”

Well deserved celebration.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summit Series '72, Josef Kompalla in his own words

In between Game 7 and Game 8 of the Summit Series there was great furor over the choices of referees for the final match. Team Canada was adamant that the two West Germans Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader not be allowed to work. Joe Kryczka, president of Hockey Canada demanded Uve Dahlberg of Sweden and Czech, Rudy Batja.

As much as Team Canada disliked Kompalla (Sinden called his work incompetent), he himself was far from flattering toward the Canadians. Dan Proudfoot of the Globe and Mail wrote about Kompalla the day before the final match;

Josef Kompalla doesn't think much of Team Canada, either. He dislikes our players' manners. "They make a lot of noise about one faceoff, whether it should be a few feet away. They're very childish. They come and swear at us and call us blinkety-blank German referees who don't know anything. They're all bad. Ratelle is a very good and disciplined player, and the blonde defenceman No. 3 (Stapleton) also is very good."
Kompalla believes that Canada would be better represented by New York Rangers or Boston Bruins. "The Canadian team is no team at all. They've spent four weeks together. The Russians have been getting together for four years. The Canadian players are hot shots, but Phil Esposito cannot play 60 minutes. The Canadians need 10 or 15 games to be in top condition. I do think they could win if they were in top condition."
Kompalla referees about 75 games a year, "But do you know how much I get at home in Germany for a First Division game? Fifteen dollars. Imagine how much the NHL referees make. For me, this refereeing is just a hobby. My job is as a manager of a discotheque. We're open from 5p.m. to 3a.m. I show people to their tables, you know."
He professed to not worry about Team Canada criticism. "I let it go in one ear, and out the other."

The man most disappointed with Kompalla's preformance is Scotty Morrison, NHL referee-in-chief. Morrison had all the referees of the series visit Toronto during the Team Canada training camp, so that he could conduct officiating seminars. "I was especially disappointed with Kompalla because he impressed me," said Morrison. "I didn't expect much from Baader, but I liked Kompalla. "But it looks now like the entire clinic was a waste of time."

Of course, in the end Kompalla did indeed officiate Game 8 and Canada managed to survive his incompetence. Kompalla then presumably returned to his job at the discotheque.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summit Series '72, Game 7. "Tsygankov - he cost us the victory"

Henderson's 2nd consecutive Game Winner

Ted Blackman, Sports Editor of The Montreal Gazette begins his column on Game 7 as follows;
The Russians steadfastly refuse to single out heroes when they win, claiming all players are equal in a collective team effort, but after a loss… brother, better pack the long johns for the trip north.
"Gennadiy Tsygankov — he cost us the victory," Vsevolod Bobrov declared in a rare burst of frankness after Canada stole a 4-3 victory from Rusia last night to square the series and set up tomorrow night's showdown for the Borscht Bowl.
Tsygankov was the goat on Paul Henderson's winning goal with little more than two minutes to play. He was rooted to the ice as Henderson slipped the puck through his skates, dashed behind him to pick it up and fired a high shot past Vladislav Tretiak at 17:54.
"Never got more personal satisfaction out of a goal," Henderson said of his sixth score of the series and second winner in as many games. "I didn't see it go in, he tripped me after I shot, and when the light didn't go on I was worried." 

Henderson's beauty can be seen by clicking here.

His goal with 2:06 remaining in the third period would even the series at 3 wins and a tie apiece.
Coach Sinden said afterwards, "This has forced an eight game - which might well be the most exciting game of hockey ever played."

Jim Coleman  in The Calgary Herald eloquently describes the Paul Henderson winning goal;
Let me tell you something about Henderson's winning goal.
The teams were playing five a side because Gary Bergman and Boris Mikhailov were serving five minute penalties, after they attempt to precipitate outbreak of Third World War.
Well, there was a faceoff in the Canadian end and, just before the puck was dropped, Henderson caused a delay by skating over to Bobby Clarke but Clarke turned around to look at his defenceman, Serge Savard and Guy Lapointe. Bobby motioned to Lapointe, Indicating that he wanted him to move over, slightly to the left and behind the faceoff circle.
Then, for approximately the 500th time in this international series, Bobby Clarke won a faceoff. The puck slid back swiftly into the corner to his left. Lapointe got the puck and cleared it behind the net to Savard.
Meanwhile, old Paul was heading for dreamsville and he really was tramping. There was smoke coming from Henderson's skates as he headed across mid-ice. Savard gave him a hard leading pass just before Paul reached the red line. At that point, Henderson gave a long blast on his whistle, just like a runaway locomotive, and he bore down on two startled Soviet defencemen.
Henderson was moving so swiftly that the defenceman didn't even get his number. He shoved the puck through the feet of the defenceman (Tsygankov) to his left. The puck hit the heel of one of the defenceman's skates as Henderson made an abrupt diversion around the poor chap. The puck was waiting for Henderson, behind the bewildered defenceman and, Paul promptly hung that puck in the net. His rising shot performed a neat depilatory job on goalie Tretiak's right armpit.
That was the sixth goal which Paul Henderson has scored in his series. However, from the viewpoint of most Canadians, it was the most important goal of his entire lifetime.

A few notes from Ted Blackman after the game:
  • Kharlamov didn't play, his ankle still hurting from a Bobby Clarke slash. "I'm surprised he can walk, let alone limp," Clarke says. Alex Maltsev moved over to left wing and Eugeni Mikshakov took over the centre position on the line.
  • Sinden indicated he would go with the same lineup for the final game, the only change being the insertion of Dryden in goal. He planned to alternate Dryden and Esposito no matter what.
In an interesting aside, Blackman writes about how some members of Team Canada viewed the play of teammate Brad Park.
  • Mention Brad Park's name and half the Canadian team begins growling off-the-record. "He's not trying and wears that silly smirk all the time," one said. "Beats me why Harry keeps playing the bum." Park was on the ice for three goals by Russia and carries most of the responsibility for the ineffective NHL power play. He can't organize a rush. In 17 power play chances, Canada has scored only once and had three goals against (shorthand goals).
Interesting, I thought.

Celebration after the winner.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Summit Series '72, Game 6 "They ain’t never gonna beat us again."

Team Canada bench shows slight displeasure over a call. From Time magazine

Game Six was 3-2 victory for Canada despite the fact they accumulated 31 minutes in penalties to the Russian's 4. Canada was shorthanded for a ridiculous 17 minutes of play. Following are excerpts of the coverage of Game 6 from the Montreal Gazette and Globe and Mail.

“Those two guys are no more referees than my old man,” said Phil Esposito. He was talking about the two officials Franz Baader and Josef Kompalla.  Harry Sinden called the work of the two West German officials, “entirely incompetent – the worst officilals I’ve ever seen in my life.” He said he would meet with the Russians to seek to have both relieved of their assignment for Thursday’s final game.
In response to the Canadian discourse, Russian assistant coach Boris Kulagin said, “It’s the Canadian tradition to complain about the officials, not the Russian tradition.” Presumably, he forgot that Russian officials invaded the referee’s dressing room to berate the two Americans who worked the second game of the series, a 4-1 Canadian victory.
Phil Esposito was asked what he said to Ragulin shorthly before he got a five minute penalty for high-sticking the Russian. “I told him to get away from me – your breath stinks. Boy that guy must have downed a pound of garlic for the pre-game meal. Garlic, maybe that’s what keeps them flying.”
“They got every break in the world,” said Eddie Johnston. “And they didn’t beat us. To think we blew the game the other night or otherwise we’d be ahead. They ain’t never gonna beat us again. Two more for us and we win the series, right?”
Ken Dryden won’t admit it, but several players swear the Russians tied the game on a goal by Valeri Kharlamov when Canada was two men short short late in the second period. “Don’t use my name, but that goal was in the net and no one saw it,”one player said. “It bounced off the mesh and right into Kenny’s glove.”
Referring to Gilbert Perreault, the latest of the Canadian defectors (who actually played the last game and contributed an assist), Pete Mahovlich said “I’m going home if they keep playing me – I thought this was a vacation.”
Earlier defector, Vic Hadfield may have started to feel unwelcome back in Stockholm when he came on the ice to kill a penalty with Bobby Clarke. “Where do you want me on the faceoff?” he asked Clarke, who answered: “On the bench Vic.”
Peter Mahovlich turned up at practice after Game 6 with his left arm in a sling and told a horrified Harry Sinden that he’d dislocated his elbow. While Sinden was pacing the floor wondering about a replacement, Pete slipped the sling onto his right arm. “If Pete wasn’t around, I think we’d all go nuts,” Sinden said between gales of laughter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Summit Series '72 Game 5, "Damn Flowers"

"Damn flowers. Nice kids, the ones who skated out and gave us them. But the flowers, the stem fell off. I stepped right on it and was on my ass in a flash. Must have looked good, huh? A hundred million guys watching all around the world, brass bands playing, the Russian cats in the stands, and here I am dumped on the ice. So I waved to the folks back home inthe Soo, a wave from the dummy with egg on his face." - Phil Esposito after slipping on a flower in the pre-game ceremony prior to Game 5 in Moscow
Assisstant coach John Ferguson spoke for Harry Sinden who did not emerge from the dressing room after the game, "I'm sick tonight. This game reminds me of that Boston Montreal playoff two years know, the one we had 5-1 and then lost 7-5. Tommy Johnson told us, Cool it, don't give 'em anything. We played defensive and ended up losing. Same thing again tonight. But we're coming. We got two and a half periods of it together tonight. Then I don't know what happened. Will it hurt us psychologically? No way. We'll be back even better next game. We know who's the better team."
Ferguson continued, "We got a bad start and a bad finish. We played 50 minutes of hockey - but you've got to play 60 minutes against this club."

The Russians were down 3-0 after two periods when they erupted for five goals in the final period - two of them within eight seconds - to steal a 5-4 victory. In Ferguson's assessment, "In the third period, they earned three goals and we gave them two."

Late in the second period, Paul Henderson was checked heavily into the boards by Alexander Maltsev and knocked unconscious. Team doctor Jim Murray said Henderson slid into the boards in a seated position, hitting them with his back and the back of his head. "He suffered nothing worse than a concussion," Dr. Murray said. "It's a good thing he was wearing a helmet." Henderson of course would be able to return and scored Canada's 4th goal five minutes into the final frame to make it 4-1.
When asked "Can you beat this team?" Ferguson said:

 "Yes, I believe we can. We can beat them." The he shook his head, saying, "Five goals in the last period of a game we had under complete control."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summit Series '72; On to Moscow!

After the Canadian half of the Summit Series, Hockey Canada produced an "Official Home TV Program", which I have in my collection. It's filled with great colour photos as well as the stats from the first four games (at bottom of the page).

 Upon arrival in Moscow from Stockholm, most of Team Canada was whisked away from the waiting reporters.

Phil Esposito however was interviewed briefly at the airport by Tass, the official Russian news agency, which distributed these quotations in it's world service. His thoughts seem subdued and perhaps have been sanitized by the Russian news agency.
"The U.S.S.R. national team are magnificent hockey players. I had not seen Soviet players earlier and could not judge their mastery."
"I hope that the games in Moscow will be tense and interesting. Your athletes play fair and I am sure the referees will face no difficulties."
 "I particularly liked Yakushev, and I wouldn't mind playing on a line with Mikhailov and Kharlamov."
Dan Proudfoot of the Globe and Mail writes about the surprising play of the Clarke, Ellis, Henderson line.
"This has been just super for our confidence," Henderson says, "All of a sudden we see ourselves skating right with the very best. The way we clicked with Bobby Clarke at centre was the big break, and we've never stopped. I really think that our line has been the most consistent on the team. We're doing the job both offensively and defensively." 
Alan Eagleson summed up the trio's effectiveness with,"It's a piece of cake for that line. Clarke shoots the puck in, Ronnie chases it, gets it and passes it out to Henderson who scores."
Henderson concludes with,"Seems funny, that when we started we hoped we would get in one game in Canada and one game in Russia. Then we started going pretty good and soon it was, there's no damn way they'll get us out of the lineup."
 And of course this line was indeed integral in the next four games in Moscow. 
Game Five, 40 Years ago tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summit Series '72, Swedish Sideshow

A look at the second game Team Canada played in Sweden, tying 4-4 after winning 4-1 the night previous. Coach Sinden was far from happy with his team's effort in the victory and decidedly less-so with last second draw salvaged on a Phil Esposito last minute short-handed goal. From the files Ted Blackman of the Montreal Gazette and Dan Proudfoot of the Globe and Mail.

"Do they think it's Viet Nam?" asked Owe Sterner, brother of Ulf Sterner, Sweden's most respected player. Following are highlights of the evening's violence:

At 17:02 of the first period Bill Goldsworthy is penalized for cross-checking. Infuriated, he makes a spearing motion at a Swede's face. Esposito inquired of referee Franz Baader before the game if he knew all the rules. Baader shows he does by giving Goldy a spearing minor which carries an automatic misconduct.
At the end of the first period, Espo reacts to subtle fouls by Borje Salming by cross-checking him as the teams leave the ice. Esposito asks Salming to fight and threatens with his stick. Wayne Cashman and goaltender Curt Larsson grapple. Swedish-Canadian relations deteriorate further.
Cashman can't be blamed for his sullenness, however. Near the end of the period he charged at Sterner, who reacted by bringing his stick up. The contact cut Cashman's tongue. 

Watch the clip below.

But, was it the stick of Sterner or something else that caused the two and a half inch cut to Cashman's tongue and knocked him out of the rest of the Summit Series?

The following day Cashman had this to say, his voice barely audible as he held an ice pack to his mouth, "Sure I was speared. That Ulf Sterner is going to play in the WHA, eh? Well Pie (Johnny McKenzie) will get him for me. Pie don't like no spearing. Shoved that stick right into my mouth like it was a bayonet. That's what Sterner did." But his own trainer, Frosty Forristall of Boston, already had let the truth slip. "Cash bit his own tongue." Frosty said. Ted Blackman of the Montreal Gazette described, "That's what I thought at the time. Sitting with Pete Mahovlich in the stands, I had seen Cashman run at Sterner after the whistle and miss. The Swede had managed to recoil in self-protection. Cashman ended up slamming into the boards head-first and the impact rammed his teeth through his tongue."
"Look at that spear," Pete yelled, "Why don't you write that?" "Mahovlich, together with Sinden and Cashman, had me disbelieving my own eyes." Blackman continued. "And Phil Esposito sang the same song of innocence. But when you asked the other players...Parise, Ellis, Henderson, Clarke, Dionne, Seiling..."
Even though he was planning to at this point in time, Ulf Sterner never did come to North America and the World Hockey Association.

At the end of the second period, now changed into street clothes, Cashman argues with Tre Kronor coach Kjell Svensson saying, "Ah, youre a bunch of girls". Svensson shouted back, "Canadians...all chickens," which caused Cashman to try to get at him. A Stockholm police officer luckily stepped in before Harry Sindedn could intervene, pulling Cashman into the dressing room.

Late in the third period the mayhem continued as Vic Hadfield breaks Lars-Erik Sjoberg as the two jousted for position in front of Larsson's goal. Hadfield is attempting to deck Sjoberg when his high stick catches the defenceman squarely in the nose. Sjoberg skates all over the ice, bleeding conspicuosly while the crowd whistles and the referee signals a major penalty.

See clip below.

In the final distraction of the evening, Dale Tallon and Sterner swipe sticks wildly in the general direction of each other's heads after clashing in front of Eddie Johnston.

Team Canada was fortunate to tie. "The goalie saved the Canadians for most of the game." said Sweden coach Svensson, and he was correct. Svensson is convinced the Soviet Union national team will win all the four games in Moscow. "The Russian players are stronger, tougher. They have everything a hockey player needs. And they have  a team playing together and not as individuals."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Canada Cup '87; Gretzky to Lemieux, 10 Seconds to Glory

With tomorrow being the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest games ever played let's have a second by second look at Team Canada's tournament winning goal. Play along at home by watching the link below.

Face off to the left of Grant Fuhr. Dale Hawerchuk against Vyacheslav Bykov. On the boards to Hawerchuk's left is Paul Coffey, Mario Lemieux and Larry Murphy on the right hash-marks with Gretzky flanked out of the edge of the other face off circle's hash-marks. To Bykov's right, on the boards is Andrei Khomutov with Valeri Kamensky ten feet off the hash-mark and slightly behind Bykov anticipating a quick shot off a won draw. Igor Kravchuk is on the right point, Igor Stelnov on the left. Linesman Kevin Collins drops the puck.

The draw ends up slightly left and behind Bykov (not close enough to Kamensky for a shot). Lemieux slices in front of Kamensky and gets scoops up the puck. Gretzky gets in motion about 25 feet away from the play, heading straight up the ice. In an effort to corral Lemieux before he gets loose, Kamensky appears to lose his footing and ends up on his stomach behind the face off dot.
Khomutov heads directly toward the Canadian net hoping for a shot, dragging Coffey with him. They become tangled up 15 feet in front of Fuhr and remain out of the play.

Centreman Bykov trips over the falling Kamensky and they end up in a pile together with Lemieux off to the races.

Lemieux  momentarilly lets the puck get a bit ahead of him prompting Kravchuk to pinch to about 18 feet inside the blue line. Lemieux simply chips the puck with one hand off the boards and past the defender executing a beautiful pirouette in the process.

Gretzky, seeing this begins cutting in closer toward Lemieux and the puck as Bykov and Kamensky scramble to their feet. Larry Murphy is four feet to Lemieux's right, chasing the loose puck with him.

Gretzky cuts directly in front of the two and Lemieux (who picked up the puck before Murphy could) wisely head-mans the puck to Gretz as he crosses the centre red line. At this moment there are four Canadian skaters within about 30 square feet of ice in the neutral zone. Stelnov is skating backwards waiting for the onrush to reach him.

Bykov catches and passes Hawerchuk (the fourth man of the tightly grouped Canadians) just after the red line, only to be hauled down with a hook. He was about even with Lemieux, 12 feet to his right  at the time. Murphy fans out to the right looking for a pass that would never come. Kravchuk and Kamensky are now two strides behind Lemieux.

Gretzky crosses the blueline as Bykov falls into a pretzel-like form 15 feet behing in the centre of the ice, perhaps with a bit of embellishment. It was definitely a hook, and he wanted everyone to know that.

Stelnov, for some reason decides to force Gretzky to pass...on a three-on-one...with the greatest playmaker in the history of the game holding the puck. He goes toward Gretzky and on a cross-over looses his footing. As he lay prone on the ice the Great One easily puts the puck back directly into Lemieux's skating path as Murphy continues on his journey, still thinking the puck may come to him.

Kamensky and Kravchuk have almost caught Lemieux but are still about four feet short as he leans on a wrist shot. Kamensky seeing Murphy wide open to Mylnikov's left heads his way. Linesman John D'Amico watches from the far faceoff dot.

Just as Kravchuk attempts to slash Lemieux off the puck he unloads from just inside the right face off circle. Murphy, still waiting off the side of the crease. Gretzky heading behind the net. Mylnikov futilely waves his glove at the puck as it bulges the twine.

Lemieux leaps through the crease in between Mylnikov and Kravchuk. Gretzky, arms raised is directly behind the net and Murphy gets tripped up by the stick of Kamensky.

 Celebration time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summit Series '72, The Paranoia of Frank Mahovlich

 Most of us have heard of the devious acts committed by Russian officials while Team Canada was in Moscow. Canada's steak and beer brought from home was "lost", late-night phone calls were made to disrupt sleep and there were mystery "illnesses" to preferred referees. I however was unaware that for one player at least, the suspicions of off-ice foul play by the Soviets began even before they left Canada. According to Ted Blackman, Sports Editor of The Montreal Gazette, The Big 'M' Frank Mahovlich was chock-full of conspiracy theories. 

Frank Mahovlich checked into Room 1012 of the Bayshore Hotel (in Vancouver) and immediately began tapping the walls and peeking behind the drapes as the bellhop gaped incredulously. "Shhhsh," he whispered to Serge Savard, his bunkmate. "Don't say a word - this joint has gotta be bugged by their agents."

 Serge nodded gravely. Two days ago he was laughing at the Big M and his growing paranoia. Now Serge isn't so sure Big Frank isn't right. "I wouldn't be surprised at anything the Russians would do," Mahovlich says, speaking seriously as his eyes scan the twilight zone. "No sir, I wouldn't be surprised if they were training a football team at a secret army base. They'll beat the Dallas Cowboys next year."

Phil Esposito guffawed. "They might win the U.S. Open, too," Espo said. "Can you see Jack Nicklaus booming one of his 350-yard tee shots and then a Russian guy...Vladimir Palmerski or somethin'... steps onto the tee and cracks one.  'You're away, Comrade Nicklaus'."

Six or seven of Esposito's teammates laughed, Mahovlich didn't. Later, when the Big M had left the circle (darting down the hallway to elude the secret agents), Savard said: "Have you ever seen Big Frank act this way? He's going crazy over this series."

He isn't alone. So profound has been the shock of the Russians' arrival as peers that the slick Canadian professionals have had their senses scrambled. One week ago they watched the Russians practice and mocked them. Yesterday they leaned over the boards and studied each move intently.

Bobby Orr adds, "Hardly an hour passes without the Russians knocking on Harry Sinden's door with another complaint. Practice is too early; practice is too late; the opening ceremonies are too long; they're not long enough."

"Watch it, Harry," Frank Mahovlich keeps telling his coach. "Watch it. Be prepared for anything. This is a cold war, you know. A cold war. I've had hay fever for a week now. In Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. How can the pollen count be so high everywhere I go?"

"Maybe," Eddie Johnston suggests in jest, "they're following you around with a powder in a spray can, just to upset you." "Ha, ha," Sinden chuckles. "Don't laugh," Frank says. "They'd do anything."

They've got to Frank, or he's got to himself. In the second game, the Big M was far removed from character. He dumped a Russian after the first-period buzzer, banged a few guys on the helmet with his stick, patted the veteran Vyacheslav Starshinov on the back after he'd scored for Canada.

"Ever seen anything like it?" John Ferguson asks. Mention the Moscow end of the series and the Big M's imagination begins to parallel Ian Fleming's.

"What we should do in Russia is camp outside the city, all of us in tents or something," Frank was telling Savard the other day. "Hell, what for?" Savard wondered.
"Don't you think they might just start a construction project outside our hotel room at four o'clock in the morning? Just to ruin our sleep?"
"Most of the guys aren't in by that time," Savard said, trying a joke.
"Don't laugh. You don't realize what this series means to them for propaganda purposes. They'll do anything. We should buy some tents."

Frank strolled off for a coffee, leaving Savard in a perplexed slump on the lobby couch. Mahovlich is a great put-on artist. Serge wonders if he's being taken. Then he remembers that strange, faraway look that is in Frank's eyes every day.
Savard turns to Eddie Johnston, asking: "Do you suppose he may be right and we should..."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summit Series '72, Off to Sweden

Pictured above is Phil Esposito and Team Canada arriving in Toronto from Vancouver, being greeted by 500 fans. The team was also greeted by hundreds of telegrams from all parts of the country. Alan Eagleson said he was "Surprised and gratified," by this. On the subject of Vancouver Eagleson added, "If a similar series is played in the future and I have anything to do with it, no game will be played in Vancouver." Eagleson kept his word through the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cups, finally relenting on Sept. 6, 1984 when Canada lost 4-2 to Sweden before 9,456 spectators.

Russian assistant coach Boris Kulagin said, "We never expected such a result." Defenceman Alexander Ragulin added, "We are all very surprised how the tournament has gone. The Canadian team is very good, but there have been others from Canada as good. I feel the team we played in the 1967 world championships was as good." Interestingly, Ragulin went on to say, "No, I'm not confident about victory in Moscow, and nobody on this team is. We'll say nothing until we've played all eight games."

The Russian squad flew from Vancouver to Montreal Friday night after Game 4, spent the day there Saturday, shopping and playing soccer to stay in shape. Team Canada will leave on Sept 12 for Stockholm before playing an intra-squad game and two against Team Sweden.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summit Series 1972, Game 4. "Ashamed of being a Canadian."

"I may not say it after I've slept on it," Bill Goldsworthy, the 'goat' of last night's 5-3 pummeling,"but right now, I am ashamed of being a Canadian."
He continued, "You have one bad shift and they're on you. We're playing for our country and that's the kind of support they give you. You're so nervous that you can hardly hold onto the puck after that. There was a time when a guy was proud to get a chance to play for his country. Now it's a shame. Not just here tonight. It was the same in Montreal, and in Toronto and in Winnipeg." Goldsworthy ended by flatly stating, "I'm glad the next four games are in Russia. We'll probably get a better reception there."
Goldsworthy drew two penalties in the first six minutes of the game and watched as the Russians converted on both of them. Each time Boris Mikhailov tipped home a point shot from Vladimir Lutchenko. Of his penalties he said, "I've got to play that way. That's my style. They thought that because I was replacing Cashman, I was going to be the trouble-maker. Well I didn't want to set the tone of the game."
"The whole nation has taken it's lead from the press which has been on us, attacking us since last Saturday night. Pete Mahovlich lamented, "They even gave the Russians a bigger cheer than us before the game started."
Stan Mikita equally incensed, "What the hell do they think we're doing. We're not on vacation. We're playing for them and they don't know what the hell is going on."
Frank Mahovlich, who heard a lot of catcalls in Toronto, heard more last night. "Everything about this series has been a complete puzzle to me." he sighed.
Of course Phil Esposito famously said it best in a live TV interview with Johnny Esaw right after the game ended. "To give up my summer and a ton of money, and then to be booed, is beneath my dignity," he repeated to the print media right after. "I'm really disappointed - and every guy on the team is behind what I said. I'm disappointed in the fans in Winnipeg and the fans here (Vancouver), and the press in general."
Brad Park added to the discourse, "I won't be back next year if they play again. Maybe the year after, but not next summer. I gave up too much this year to play for this team and then, to be booed, it really makes you wonder." And then Montreal Gazette Sports Editor Ted Blackman added something that makes researching these old quotes all worthwhile.
'Park felt he'd donated an important month of his life to Team Canada, his wife having given birth to their first child the day after the Russia - Canada opener. He was concerned because his wife is also his first cousin.' ...Hands up if you knew that?
As always, Ken Dryden brought some cerebral, if long-winded thoughts to the table saying, "I'm disappointed, but I can understand it. The fans wanted us to do really good, and they're frustrated we didn't. I didn't think I deserved to be booed. Tretiak frustrated us, but I guess I didn't frustrate them enough. Still, I didn't deserve it."
The Russian party flew out to Toronto almost immediately after the game enroute to Moscow. While Canada would head to Sweden for two exhibition games, Sinden adding, "It can't be a holiday that's for sure."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sept 7, 1972 Sinden Shuffles Lines

Sinden reshuffles troops for 'fresh legs'

The headline in the Montreal Gazette prior to Game 4 in Vancouver, from Ted Blackman, Sports Editor.

Harry Sinden, now faced with the very real possibility of heading overseas behind in the world hockey showdown, has reshuffled his lines on a major scale again in an attempt to inject "fresh legs" into the last game in Canada.

His problem has been compounded by injuries to defenceman Guy Lapoints and Serge Savard. Lapointe will be out for Game 4 at least with a severe charley-horse: Savard is out for the series with a badly-bruised ankle, which may actually be fractured.

"Some of the guys have played three games in five nights and they're a little run down." Sinden said as he outfitted Phil Esposito with his third set of wingers, Dennis Hull and Bill Goldsworthy, and dropped a new centre between Frank Mahovlich and Yvan Cournoyer - Gilbert Perreault.  "We're a little out of shape to be playing these kind of games every second night," he said. "I'm not dropping anyone because of the way they have played. As I said, they've really put out. But I need some fresh legs for the fourth game.

Rounding out the juggling act, Ken Dryden replaces Tony Esposito and Don Awrey and Rod Seiling go back on defence with Bill White dropped and Savard and Lapointe out. With five defenceman dressing, there was room for an extra forward and that's why Pete Mahovlich, originally scheduled to sit out, will dress. He'll play with two-thirds of the Rangers GAG line - Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert. "We need a penalty killer badly," Sinden said, "which is why we picked Peter."

The one forward line that remains intact - as it has throughout the series - is the Bobby Clarke, Ron Ellis, Paul Henderson trio.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Summit Series '72, Game 3. "We let down."

Jean Ratelle scores in first period to make it 2-1 Canada

 "I was fooled again," said assistant coach John Ferguson after the 4-4 tie in game three, "I felt that after we had taken a 3-1 lead, the final score might be something like 7-1. But those two short-handed goals. When you score one short-handed goal it can turn it all around. But two, that's almost fatal." Indeed it was almost fatal for Team Canada's hopes. The shorthanders by Petrov and Kharlamov were however only part of the near fatal dagger as the Russians other two tallies were in the final five minutes of the third.

Tim Burke of the Montreal Gazette wrote in his game summary;
Probably the only man in the world who has called this series exactly as it has unfolded is the trainer of the Russian team, Georgi Guzinov. The day before the series opened he said: "After three games, each team will have a victory and a tie."

Meanwhile, Paul Henderson, who scored Canada's fourth goal took blame himself for not delivering victory, "I blew three chances. That one early in the third period. He (Tretiak) must have followed the puck right out to where I was but I didn't give him a chance to get set. I just banged it. I don't think I've ever shot as hard. But it comes right up in his glove. I don't think I've ever shot as well in my life. That guy is a tremendous goalie. He could make it anywhere in the NHL. But, I'm convinced we're going to win this series. We've got better hockey players."

Coach Harry Sinden described  Tretiak's save on Henderson late in the third, "Paul had him dead, he go tthe puck up just like you should in that spot, but the guy picked it off. Great glove! Whoever said there was something wrong with that guy's glove?" Sinden then declared that the Russian squad was, "as good as any NHL club, yup, as good as the Boston Bruins too."

Burke described the atmosphere at Winnipeg Arena,
"For the Russians, the vast Ukraine-like wheatlands of Manitoba and a rather dour crowd of 10,600 provided what Coach Bobrov described as the 'most suitable environment yet'. We are very happy with Winnipeg. We found the people much like our own." 
Bobrov also admitted  that the Russians were using the Canadian end of the series to test out prospects and would present a stronger team in Moscow. "We used a very young line with no world championship experience." Bobrov said of the rookie unit of Anisin, Bodunov and Lebedev, all 21-year-olds. He continued, "Back home we have more experienced players. As you know, we have veterans Firsov and Davidov who will play in Moscow. Here, we are giving young players experience."

On the Bobby Orr front, his status remained uncertain and some even doubt that his knee will have healed sufficiently by the time the Bruins open the regular schedule. "It's touch and go," says physiotherapist  Karl Elieff. Apparently Orr hasn't helped the healing process by refusing to take things easy.

Parise scores the first goal of the game

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Summit Series '72, Game 2. Cashman Now a Leader

"You could say that Cashman was one of our leaders in changing the tone of this game from the one in Montreal." exclaimed Harry Sinden after Canada's 4-1 victory at Maple Leaf Gardens in Game two. Wayne Cashman inserted for the game after not dressing in the first game debacle said, "I played like we do it on the Bruins, you go into the corner and dig that puck out and start throwing it around in front of the net." Cashman added, "I watched the game very closely on Saturday night - and I saw them getting into the corners first all the time. I just decided to get in there first myself."

For the first goal of the game Cashman set up Esposito in the slot after Cashman and Russian defender Vladimir Litchenko collided near the Russian blue line. In his wake, he left the Russian helmet-less and with a broken stick. Cashman said afterwards, "He broke the stick himself. I wouldn't do that to those guys. They can't afford to lose too many."

Pete Mahovlich who scored  what may have been the prettiest goal of the series with a shorthanded marker to get it to 3-1 Canada exclaimed, "Phew! I'd hate to have to play at that pace 78 games during the season." On the specifics of his beauty of a goal on which he faked a slap shot and the defenceman bit, he said, "He sort of seized up and I bounced the puck over his stick and went in on the goaler, hoping to fake him to the left. I guess it worked. I'll try it again if I get the chance."

 On Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, Phil Esposito had high praise for, "the way he can come out and close off the angles." He added however, "But, he's no Tony Esposito." Phil thought little brother Tony made, "one of the greatest saves I've ever seen, sticking his foot out" stopping a low hard shot by Kharlamov. "That one and those two big saves he made right at the start of the second period."

Harry Sinden summed up the series to date with, "In the first game we ran around. This time we were in control of ourselves. There's an organized way to play this game and a dis-organized way, you've seen both in three days."

As for the thunderous enthusiasm at Maple Leaf Gardens in support of Team Canada, Sinden thought it was such a rarity in that building that most of the fans, "must have been from outside Toronto".

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summit Series '72 Game 1, "Damn it, did we learn a lesson!"


"We were stunned, absolutely stunned." Harry Sinden said. "Yeah, I'm still stunned. I never kidded myself about the Russians, but I never realized their individuals could be as good in one-on-one situations. I didn't expect to see that." Sinden and the rest of Canada were in shock after the unknown, under-rated Russian squad shellacked Canada's professionals by a score of 7-3. Ted Blackman of The Montreal Gazette wrote, "To say we took Russia lightly is to hear General Custer ask: 'What Indians?' Sinden attempted to break down his sqauad's numerous shortcomings and failures in the newspapers of the next day, some of his thoughts follow.
In analyzing the GAG line of Ratelle, Hadfield and Gilbert, Sinden offered, "Ratelle's line is not ideally suited to the type of game we need. We'll have to go to more of a forechecking game. We have got to make the Russians commit mistakes in their own end. Forechecking is the best answer I have." Yvan Counoyer offered his thoughts on the GAG line, "They never played a worse game in their life."
On the Esposito, Mahovlich, Cournoyer trio (which recorded 14 of the team's 32 shots on goal) Sinden offered, "You just can't play without Yvan getting good shots. Phil...he'll get seven shots playing with two rag dolls. The line never sustained an attack. Most of the shots were on powerplays. We need Cash and Parise to forecheck, dig it out." Cashman and JP Parise would join Esposito on a line for Game two while Stan Mikita would return between Mahovlich and Cournoyer.
Turning his attention to defenders Rod Seiling (who was on the ice for six goals) and partner Don Awrey, Sinden said, "They drop to block shots and that style isn't the best here, because the Russians fake and pass." They would be replaced in Game Two by Bill White and Pat Stapleton.
Sinden continued, "Yes, their goaltender was very good. But we didn't muster what we think is the NHL assault on the goal. We never had two or three shots in succession to test him, which is largely due to the excellent manner in which his teammates give him support."
The players themselves were no less critical of their own efforts. Frank Mahovlich exclaimed simply, "Damn it, did we learn a lesson!" Ken Dryden said, "They got to almost every loose puck before we did. They were in such remarkable physical condition, it was embarrassing. After they tied it up, we started playing a panic type of game."
Guy Lapointe was one of the few players that wasn't shaken by the loss, "So we lost one game. It's not the end of the world. We lose one game during the season and we come right back. Hell, we could take the next seven games. One thing I'm pretty sure of. If we hit them Monday we'll win the game." Phil Esposito said the Russians were a lot better than he had expected, "But I don't know if they could go 78 games in our league. What was the score tonight? 7-3? Well, you'll never see that again. We didn't shoot half as much as we should have. I missed three unbelievable chances. That would never happen at Christmastime, baby."
Russian coach Kulagin was gracious in victory saying, "Maybe we played well because we were not playing against your best players, Stapleton, White and Mikita." Of his own players he said in typical Russian fashion, "They managed to carry out the tasks given to them by their coaches."
Other Game One Notes
-Team Canada's equipment almost didn't make it to Montreal for Game 1 from Toronto. Trainers Frosty Foristall and Joe Sgro found it at Toronto Airport labelled for a flight to Paris.
-John Ferguson drew one of the biggest cheers during introductions, but the rafter-shakers were in honour of Frank Mahovlich and Ken Dryden.
-About 200 million people watched the game on TV - 100 million in Russia, 80 million in 26 U.S. cities, 12 million in Canada and 8 million in other European countries.
-A scalper outside the Forum was asking $75 for two seats in the reds.
-There were about 100 Russians cheering on their team. One made an innocuous sign in Russian and waved it when the USSR squad scored it's first goal but Forum securiy men asked him to put it away.
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