Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Summit Series '72, Swedish Sideshow
"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."