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.

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