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."

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