Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It Was Back In Old '72 Canada 4 USSR 1

Alright so the results from game one were interesting, eh? Its funny because I looked back at the introduction to the post and what I wrote before I watched the game. Before this I don't recall ever watching an entire game. I've seen a million highlights of course and maybe I saw all of game eight once but I was four when the Series was on and so I don't recall much, if anything. And so in the introduction I wrote what I had always been told. The Canadians were overmatched. Their fitness was poor. The Russians taught them a lesson.

The truth? Well the Canadians outchanced the Russians and had the better of the play. They jumped ahead by two and if they had a bit of luck they might have been further ahead. The Russians did come back, preying on the Seiling/Awrey pairing and the Rangers' line especially and taking advantage of poor goaltending by Dryden. And still in the third the Canadians came on. Down one they dominated and again a break or two and they would have taken the lead back. They lost the game but it was one that they deserved to win.

Game two is a terrific game to watch. Just as game one introduces us to many of the greats of that generation - Park and Lapointe, Esposito and Frank Mahovlich, Clarke and Ellis, so does this game showcase many more. For Canada there are many changes to their lineup and a change in their approach to the lineup as well. In game one they rolled four lines and went with five defencemen. Two of the defencemen weren't up to the task, Awrey and Seiling. They are both out of the lineup for the game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Also out are the entire GAG line - Hadfield, Ratelle and Gilbert as well as two thirds of the fourth line, Redmond and Berensen. Only Peter Mahovlich survives the purge. Tony Esposito replaces Dryden. The rest of the lineup looks like this:

Gary Bergman (2) - Brad Park (5), Guy Lapointe (25) - Serge Savard (23), Pat Stapleton (3) - Bill White (17)

Bergman and Park were very good in game one and so they remain in the lineup. Lapointe did fairly well once he replaced Awrey, he is joined by Serge Savard. And Stapleton and White, both Blackhawks, draw in as well.

Why six defencemen? My opinion is that Sinden just saw two of his best four get smoked. Lapointe was a spare originally. Maybe he's hedging his bets by dressing six. If two struggle then he can still rely on two pairs. Just a theory of mine. It turns out that these will be the six who end up playing the games down the stretch in Russia. In this game they are certainly all up to the task.

Up front Sinden goes with three lines and two spares. The lineup is an interesting one.

JP Parise (22)-Phil Esposito (7)-Wayne Cashman (14)

Frank Mahovlich (27) - Stan Mikita (21) - Yvan Cournoyer (12)

Paul Henderson (19) - Bobby Clarke (28) - Ron Ellis (6)

Peter Mahovlich (20), Bill Goldsworthy (9)

I'm sure Sinden would have rather had Bobby Hull wearing 9 than Goldsworthy.

So these are the lines. The Clarke line remains together. No surprise there. The numbers for them Corsi wise weren't flattering from game one but they were definitely the second best line after the Espo line. That Peter Mahovlich sticks also makes sense. He is on the first PK pair and in game one he saw a little bit of extra icetime separate from Berensen and Redmond. The one surprise, as I see it, is the separation of the Esposito line from game one. They were dominant but I can understand Sinden's thinking here, especially after viewing the game. Mikita is still very good but he not the superstar from the sixties when he was arguably the best player in the game. He is a playmaker first and foremost and so one can see him clicking with Frank Mahovlich and the Roadrunner (Cournoyer). On the other hand a line with him and the grinders Cashman and Parise would probably not have worked. Indeed they may have gotten smoked. Not a match. So Sinden rolls the dice and splits up the one line that really generated a ton for him in game one.

Before we get to the numbers here are a few observations on the game. Its at the old Gardens in Toronto. I've been to plenty of hockey games in Toronto, including the semifinal of the Canada Cup in 1991 and Wendel Clark night two seasons ago, and I have watched probably hundreds on TV over the years. Watching this game I have never experienced such an atmosphere at a hockey game in Toronto. Indeed it might compare to a playoff game I saw in the old Chicago Stadium (the second last game at that old rink) in terms of noise and tension and excitement. The fans are intent and passionate and its a lot of fun to see. Everyone is actually on the edge of their seats, leaning forward, watching the game. Don't see that these days.

In my comments on game one I referred to the play as similar to beer league. Now this was not a shot at the players. They are smaller and slower than today's professionals but the quality is obvious. I was referring to the sloppiness, the four minute shifts, the lousy goaltending, the lackadaisical backchecking. It reminded me that my own season starts very soon. Time to get into shape. Pass me another beer, would ya?

Almost immediately game one is different. The first faceoff sees a line change from both teams. There is mayhem in the first period as the officials seem unclear as to who is the home club and the Russians often send line after line over the boards during a stoppage, trying to get the matchup they want. Sinden does the same. No Canadian wears the C but it is clear that Mikita, while he wears an A, is the de facto captain. He leaps over the boards during stoppages to argue vociforously with the officials that Canada has the last change. Strange stuff, this confusion, but it is cleared up in the first intermission. In any case it is obvious that Canada has learned from game one. There is the odd longer shift but for the most part they are short. When the Mikita line hits the ice at the four minute mark it is the sixth Canadian forward shift of the game, its absolutely modern. At the same time in game one I would guess the second line was working on their first shift still.

There is linematching going on. Sinden tries to get Clarke out against the Russian star Kharlamov and the Russians are also trying to work their own matchups out. And, by my eye, there is some early juggling by Sinden when it comes to faceoffs. He favours the Clarke line for defensive zone draws and the Mikita line is sheltered early in the game as are White and Stapleton. More on that later as well as some interesting machinations when it comes to the Canadian PK.

The game itself is far more entertaining and it is extremely well played. The checking is close. The goaltending is excellent on both sides with all five goals scored on absolute five bell chances, four of those with the goalie facing the shooter one on one, the fifth being a shot right from the deep slot.
The Canadians play almost a perfect game at even strength as they give the Russians no room to manouver. As the new additions find their legs it becomes clear that they have three strong lines and three very good pairings on the back end. I am interested to see what game three brings because by my eye only Goldsworthy looks out of place here. And you know what? Canada again is the better team, not overwhelmingly so, but they are better and this time they get what they deserve.

And also I forgot to mention another Canadian international hockey archetype that emerges here - the star player who is a role player in the big tournament and who plays a big role in the triumph. Just as Toews and Nash and Richards are the checking line in Vancouver and they emerge as a dominant force so does Peter Mahovlich, a spare forward in game two, play the hero with probably the best performance as a penalty killer I have ever seen. His short handed goal in the third is one of the greatest goals I have ever seen and he singlehandedly kills a penalty in the second as well.

Here are the numbers:

Scoring chances total as follows, Canada first. ES 10-7, PP 4-0, SH 2-5 Total 16-12. Of note in the first the Russians only have three chances, all on the PP. In the second they again only have three, this time though they are at ES. Also of note, no scoring chances against when on the PP, more on that in a bit.

Corsi totals as follows, Canada first. ES 49-37, PP 4-1, SH 2-12. Canada cuts their events against down by almost a third. Only four events with the man advantage, one of those is the Esposito goal 6v5 and one is the Cournoyer goal. Indeed each Corsi event with the advantage is a scoring chance.

Total faceoffs 5v5 - offensive zone 14, neutral zone 20, defensive zone 11 - note that in the first two periods there were only five defensive zone draws for Canada. Pretty good, they had twelve in the Russian zone. In the third there are six draws in Canada's zone at ES but half of those come after the game is out of reach.

Total faceoffs 5v4 - offensive zone 3, neutral zone 5, defensive zone 1 - the defensive zone draw was because of an icing at the beginning of the third

Total faceoffs 4v5 - offensive zone 1, neutral zone 2, defensive zone 6 - notes below on Sinden handling the defensive zone draws.

Before we get to a look at individuals, forward lines and D pairings here are a few other notes. Canada scores one powerplay goal, one shorthanded goal, one goal at even strength and one goal after Esposito has drawn a penalty. Although scored six on five (and marked as such above) it is essentially an ES goal. Cashman retrieves the puck and gets it to Esposito who tucks it in. The extra man, Cournoyer, is not part of the play yet.

In game one Canada's power play always featured a forward as the fourth man, either Esposito or Berensen, and a hodgepodge of D that includes everyone but Awrey. Even Bergman plays the PP in G1. The Russians get three SH chances and a SH goal in G1. On their first PP of this game Canada runs out Mikita as the fourth forward. He immediately coughs it up and although he is able to get back to prevent a scoring chance (the Russian shoots wide), it is the last time tonight that Sinden goes with this alignment. After that it is either Mikita or Esposito between Frank Mahovlich and Cournoyer while Park and Lapointe man the points. Mikita takes the shortest shifts of all of the Canadians so often he starts the PP and then is replaced by Esposito. I believe that except for a half minute at the end of one PP this is what Sinden runs out all night long.

On the PK he runs it as follows, in order: Peter Mahovlich, Frank Mahovlich, Ron Ellis, Bob Clarke, Phil Esposito, Wayne Cashman. He changes this up a couple of times as the Russians score a powerplay goal and generate a lot with the man advantage but that is how they run for the most part with the younger Mahovlich playing a ton. When there is a defensive zone draw on the PK if its on the right he sends Mikita out to send the draw. If its on the left he sends out Clarke. In three of the four cases where this takes place they win the draw and then get off the ice to be replaced by Frank Mahovlich. The fourth time Mikita gets thrown out of the circle. Then Peter Mahovlich steps in. They drop the puck but then blow the whistle for a bad drop. Mikita steps in again but they disallow this at which point he skates off and is replaced by Clarke (!). I've never seen that before. Clarke wins the draw and then once the puck is cleared he heads to the bench.

Some pretty funny shit.

On the back end on the PK they run out White and Stapleton quite a bit. The PK runs from being very good to just hanging on by a thread at times. The first kill they only give up one chance but its an absolute five bell job, cross crease pass, your man is wide open and Esposito slides over nice and easy and makes it look easy. The second PK its White and Stapleton again as well as the Mahovlich brothers, a couple of chances against this time, including another one that Esposito makes the proverbial 'miraculous save' on.

So this is one difference between game one and two. The Canadians have the better of the play in the first, indeed they don't allow a scoring chance against at ES but Esposito bails out the PK twice. Goaltending.

There is one kill in the second period. Here Sinden sends out Park and Lapointe. The results are far better. The only scoring chance is one for Frank Mahovlich; his younger brother puts on one of the best exhibitions I have ever seen as he kills about a minute of it off by himself.

The game turns on two kills in the third. With the Canadians up 2-0 the Russians burn Bergman and Park with a breakaway pass; the Russian misses and then passes the puck to an uncovered teammate who scores. Almost immediately afterwards they earn another PP. And this is where Mahovlich (Peter) scores an unbelievable goal. The rest of the PK is uneventful as first Lapointe and White and then Park and Bergman so the honours with varied forwards.

The Russians PP almost gets as many scoring chances as they do at ES. Stopping it is key in this game and in the future and the Canadians manage to get the job done tonight but the results are a little uneven and one can see where this is going to be a problem down the road.

The D pairings are fairly reasonable. Park and Bergman take on the majority of the defensive draws in the first two periods while Stapleton and White are sheltered, they get all neutral or offensive zone faceoffs up until the third. Savard and Lapointe only get a couple of defensive draws in the first two periods. Truth is though, the Russians get very few draws in Canada's zone in periods one and two so while I do think Sinden runs out Park and Bergman as much as he can I also think he is able to do so because Canada has the advantage. In the third the Russians come on a little and get more draws in the Canadian zone. I think Sinden goes to a regular rotation at this point for a few reasons. He can't run Park and Bergman out over and over again. Also while they have been good they have not been great. And finally I think that the other two pairs have been fine and thus have gained the coach's confidence. White and Stapleton are in the red when it comes to scoring chances but they are in the black in Corsi (as they should be considering their zone starts) and the reality is they are pretty solid back there. Its not like game one where Seiling and Awrey are on their heels. These guys do okay and actually in the third they end up just fine even with the defensive zone starts.

The real revelation though is the Savard/Lapointe pairing. When they are on the ice the Russians do not threaten. Their Corsi numbers are fabulous and they come out on top in scoring chances as well. Lapointe, the spare in game one, plays the PP and when the game is on the line it is he and White who get sent out to kill the penalty.

And Savard? Think Duncan Keith if you're looking for a style of play. Effortless, he skates miles and miles, relieving the Russians of the puck time and time again, spinning away from them easily, moving it up ice. Watching him and Lapointe and knowing that Larry Robinson will join them on the blue in Montreal you realize how their club was so dominant for years.

Up front lets start with the spares. Goldsworthy plays two shifts in total. In the first he gets an offensive zone faceoff and the Russians immediately take it down the ice and lay siege to the Canadian net. His second and last shift is on the PP. The PP does nothing while he is on and the only play of note is his bumping of Tretiak as he skates by after the whistle. He has amazing sideburns though. Mutton chops or goalie sticks I think they would be called.

We noted Peter Mahovlich's work on the PK and other than the same ES shift referenced above he sees very little of the ice otherwise early on. As the game wears on though he finds himself spelling Mikita a few times. Either Mikita's back is injured (he struggles with back problems later in his career) or, more likely, the aging superstar's legs aren't there. In the first period Mikita looks a bit lost, his timing is off, as might be expected, more worrisome is that he looks slow. He is sheltered, like White and Stapleton, but as the game wears on he takes on a bigger role and in the third he looks excellent, breaking into openings for scoring chances and setting up Frank Mahovlich for the backbreaker goal soon after Peter Mahovlich's shortie. On that shift he speeds into the zone and gets a nice chance, then wheels back once the Russians gain possession. As the Russian defenceman begins to come out of the zone Mikita charges in suddenly and strips him of the puck. Going behind the net his original pass is stopped but he retrieves the puck and feeds Mahovlich in the slot for the goal.

In the third, probably because Mikita has found his legs, his line is no longer sheltered. They take draws in all three zones, including two consecutive in their own on one shift, and they have the best marks for Corsi and scoring chances of any forward line in the third after two fairly quiet periods. Mikita does take the shortest shifts of any Canadian forwards though, which probably helps his cause. He races out, does his thing, heads to the bench. Here Peter Mahovlich gets a few extra shifts as he jumps on to finish the shift.

One last thing about Mikita. Regular readers here know that he was my favourite player growing up, the best player on a mediocre Blackhawks' team. I never saw him in his prime though, when he was arguably the best hockey player in the world and as a boy I probably only saw him play a dozen times, if that, and I cannot recall any of that at all. So I have to admit I was a little excited to see him play and as you can tell I kept an eye on him. He would only play one more game in the series and seeing him struggle in the first period I can guess why. He's no longer the speedy youngster who centred a line so fast they were called the Scooter Line. No surprise that after a summer of doing nothing he has a tough time with the Russians when he steps on the ice. But the fire that shows when he is arguing his points with the officials and as he discusses situations with Sinden on the bench soon lifts the older man and in the second he begins to come on and in the third one can see what he once was as he nearly beats Tretiak himself, sets up Mahovlich, drives the play up ice as his club tries to hold the lead. It was a lot of fun to watch.

Ok so a couple of more notes on the Mikita line. As I said they were sheltered in the first two periods and I would have to say that was because of their pivot but Mahovlich who was so dominant in the first game, doesn't even get a sniff at all. The Russians are matching and so I'm thinking this has something to do with it plus its a closer checking game. In any case for the big M its not happening. Cournoyer does little as well but about midway through the game he begins to get going. He had gaudy numbers in game one but he was riding coattails for those, imo, as Mahovlich and Esposito drove the bus. Tonight though he begins to live up to his nickname. He takes a pass but he is offside as he splits the D in the neutral zone. His next shift Frank Mahovlich hits him, again splitting the D, at the blue, this time he is barely offside. There is no replay but its damn close. And so at the beginning of the third Park steps over his own blue on the PP and hits Cournoyer as he tears down the right wing. He hits him in full stride and the Russians still haven't caught him today and he scores one of the most beautiful goals you will ever see. Simple as hell. Dman hits winger in full stride with the headman and the winger cuts in and beats the goalie from his offwing. a thing of beauty though.

And that seems to give the little guy that confidence and so he and Mahovlich and Mikita buzz the Russians in the third and its a good thing because the Canadians need it. A failure in the third from these three and the game may have ended differently. Instead they have a pretty nice Corsi and while they are low event when it comes to scoring chances they are in the black and that matters.

Esposito drives the bus, man. He had an excellent game one and for his troubles he loses his wingers and gets Parise and Cashman. These guys are solid but they have hands of cement, its all hack and whack, and so Espo is on his own and he ends up even steven, which will do in this case. Plus he draws two penalties. The first two periods this line is pretty solid, its only in the third where they take a bit of a bath and its really not too bad. They're not sheltered and they get shit moving in the right direction quite a bit. A few longer shifts hurt them a bit and they get dinged on those. Overall though they hold their own and while Espo's goal is 6v5 its pretty well ES as discussed earlier.

And not mentioned yet. The Canadians play it pretty dirty this game. In G1 Clarke slewfooted a Russian and then clubbed him over the head for good measure and in this game he is sticking everything that moves. He is joined by Parise, who bulldogs one Russian to the ice, Mikita, who seems to have forgotten his Lady Byngs but perhaps not his homeland as he comes in stick high again and again and Cashman who grins toothlessly as he rakes his opponents across the face liberally. A dangerous game to play with the Russian PP but certainly it would have not been an easy game to play.

Finally we come to the Clarke line. In game one their Corsi numbers were not great but they were pretty solid. They gave up few chances and invariably got the puck moving in the right direction. Tonight they are killer. No reward on the scoresheet but without them its probably a different game. In the first two periods they get the bulk of the Dzone assignments (there are few of course) and they invariably finish in the Russian end. Their scoring chance numbers lead the team, both by raw numbers and differential, and their Corsi numbers are over the top. They are dominant. A fantastic game by all three. And this mostly against Kharlamov who is not a factor and ends up sitting for nearly the entire first half of the third, when the game is decided, as he garners a misconduct after freaking out after Clarke abuses him rather vigorously at the end of the second.

So that's game two. The Canadians are better and they get a deserved result. They're not a whole lot better but they are better, especially at ES. The Russians get few chances at ES and its hard to win a game like that and on the PP Esposito turns aside their best chances. And at the end of the game Hewitt is talking about how conditioning is no longer a factor for the Canadians. Funny how that narrative has turned so quickly, eh?

Two games in and the Canadians are the better team in both. Next up, Winnipeg.


Mr DeBakey said...

"The real revelation though is the Savard/Lapointe pairing. When they are on the ice the Russians do not threaten."

Some brainiac decided to sit both in Game 4.
And Savard in game 5.

Those losses didn't happen by accident.

spOILer said...

Did your son get to hear you cheer?!

Holy Kharlamov, Batman, your review is beyond totally awesome. Really. The excitement and thrills you must've been feeling come through in your words. I might actually go buy the Series now. I hadn't before because it was lacking one Robert J. Orr, but now I think I just might.

I'm pretty sure I 've never seen a complete game either, but if memory serves, Game 8 was piped through the school intercom system. During recess I can remember huddling outside with my buds under a speaker so we could follow along.

Thank you.

Vic Ferrari said...

Thanks Pat. Brilliant stuff again.

Sinden was a more modern coach than I realized. I suppose in Game 1 he wasn't dead sure about a lot of his own players, and probably didn't have a clue about the Russians. By the second game both teams are clearly making adjustments.

Using the centre to win the draw to the board side on the PK ... I watched hockey for years without noticing that. Not until a colour guy (Green on Sportsnet maybe?) started pointing it out about 8 or 10 years ago. After that I noticed
that MacTavish was a maniac on the issue. Rightly or wrongly.

Going by the bit about the controversy re last change in the firs period, and the Russians bringing guys on and off the ice before faceoffs ... they were both running the bench by zone and opposition.

It will be cool to see how things change once they get to Russia. The Soviets had probably never played on the small surface before, and the Canucks had probably never played on the big sheet.

Jebus, all my beliefs about this series are crumbling away, one by one. And it's just game 2.

Bruce said...

Fantastic work again, Pat. I am loving this stuff.

Great obs on the RH/LH dichotomy on the draws, like Vic I would have thought that was a fairly recent development but it sounds like Sinden - with a rich assortment of quality options - was all over it way back then.

Mr. dB: Savard sat in Games 4 and 5 cuz he picked up an injury in Game 3. He was fortunate to have two weeks between the Canada and USSR legs of the series, and even then he wasn't quite ready to go in Game 5. Canada won the four games he completed, tied the one he left partway through, and lost the three he didn't play. A small sample for a WOWY analysis, but an impressive result.

Serge Savard was a great, great player. I always thought he was underrated in terms of the degree of his contribution to the Habs dynasty.

Black Dog said...

Mr D. - yeah I am interested to see game three and what happens there. They have a nice win in game two and then are close to a win in game three so one would think that they have a decent lineup put together. Instead Lapointe and Savard are pulled, Mikita too and amongst others we have Hadfield, Seiling and Awrey all drawing back in in game four. All three were pretty poor in game one so its hard to see how that makes any sense. There's politics involved I suspect, especially seeing as how Eagleson is prominent. I would not be surprised if players were promised a certain number of games.

An interesting sidenote to that point is the situation where Hadfield and others left the club. It was always painted as these guys quitting but it turns out that there was an agreement and thirteen players were going to leave when it became apparent that they were not going to play in Russia, including Mikita. Eagleson agreed to it as it was felt that they may as well go home and prepare for the upcoming season. What happened is that Mikita stayed on so he could captain the team in an exhibition game in Prague and he and many of the rest decided to stay on for various reasons. Only four ended up leaving and then Eagleson threw them under the bus.

Dirty fucking prick that guy. What a piece of shit.

Black Dog said...

Great stuff re: Savard Bruce, I had thought that he had been injured but was not clear on the timing, that clears that up. And thanks for the compliments.

Thanks spOILer - yeah its terrific stuff, I'm glad that I'm conveying that. Probably the most enjoyable thing for me is just seeing these guys play. I saw a lot of Lapointe and Savard and Cournoyer as a boy but can't remember a damn thing about them, Esposito, Clarke and Park too. And of course I mentioned Mikita, never mind the Mahovlich brothers and Ron Ellis. For me that may be the most fun part of the whole exercise, seeing the greats from that generation play. Would have loved it if Orr and Hull had suited up as well.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Vic - yeah I was taken aback when the first whistle went less than a minute in and off goes Esposito's line and here comes Clarke but then the Russians have two lines out there and then Mikita's line jumps on and then they jump off again. All of my notions that had been based on game one were washed away right then and there.

I would agree with your analysis of game one. Even with the shitty goaltending and Awrey and Seiling and a bunch of other guys struggling Canada is the better team and pushing hard until about six minutes left so I think Sinden was just rolling them, figuring he had to see what he had and why not, if they'd a bounce or two they'd be up.

But in G2 its a whole different ball game. He's definitely sheltering guys until they get rolling (Mikita line) or they prove they can handle the shit (White/Stapleton). There is the use of Mikita and Clarke to take a draw on the PK and then them going to the bench immediately afterwards. He adjusts both the PK and PP on the fly based on circumstance. Clarke and his line are the go to guys in defensive situations.

Is really fascinating stuff. Julian is going to have game three soon I think although he is going to be on a plane back to Asia soon I believe. In the meantime I am on vacation but I should be able to get the faceoff data for G1 as well as a summary of the numbers for both games so far, a running total that we'll update along the way. That will fill the void until he has something to post.

YKOil said...

Phenomenal stuff Pat. Just amazing.


spOILer said...

I'm surprised you didn't use Doughty as your Savard comp (instead of Keith).

At least we have the perspective of history as far as the Eagle is concerned. Nice to know he landed in jail. But yeah, what an asshole.

JohnQPublic said...

Phil Esposito said it perfectly: once the Canadians got into shape, they out-classed the Russians. He felt after game 8 they were in shape and that they would have won 8 straight after that.

He claimed the only reason it was a series was because the Canadians never trained in the summer. That's what training camp was for.

Julian said...

Ok, starting G3 right now, finally.

The GF's spare computer I was gonna use to run the game while I did the spreadsheet has a password on it, which I've conveniently forgotten, but I think I can do this on my own computer, though it may take longer.

I'll take some notes on what I see, but I hope no one is expecting the same sort of writeup Pat did here.

Also, I just bought myself a new single malt, so if it's really tasty, I may get distracted from the game.

Julian said...

Jesus, not gonna lie here, I've been watching this for two hours now, and only just finished the first. I've watched every second of this game at least three times I think, just trying to track who's on the ice. If this were HD or Foster Hewitt would actually say "Park" or "Bergman" or whoever a little more often instead of just "Canada", this would be much much easier. Sometimes I've gotta go back 30 seconds to try and figure out who the D are on an event.

Thankfully Henderson and Mikita wear helmets, makes identifying their lines much easier.

I'm sorry, there's no way my analysis is going to be as indepth as Pat's is. I'm just trying to keep track of who's on the ice for each event, it's almost too much to note which guys are playing which Soviets more often than not. I'm taking a few notes of things that strike me re: icetime for certain guys, but that's about the best I can do at this point.

I'll do one more period tonight, and do the 3rd tomorrow.

spOILer said...

Hang in there Julian, we're rootin for ya!

Scott Reynolds said...

Great stuff Pat. I've never seen the series or any of these legends of the game in action, so your descriptions are great. Not too surprised about Esposito's dominance though. Wasn't he the best forward in the NHL at the time?

Black Dog said...

Julian - no worries, pal, just do your best, get me what you can, I'm going to watch the game and will add my impressions as well.

Thanks Scott. Yeah Esposito probably was the best forward in the league at the time or certainly top three, LT or Bruce might be able to confirm. I always thought of him as a Tim Kerr type though - standing in front of the net and banging in the slam dunks, not really doing much of anything else. Not so though.

Mr DeBakey said...

"Foster Hewitt would actually say "Park" or "Bergman" or whoever a little more often instead of just "Canada""

It doesn't matter actually. When Foster speaks:
"Park" means Canadian with long-hair.
"Ellis" means medium-sized Canadian with dark hair.
"Cournoyer" means player with thinning hair.

dawgbone said...

For all the credit Canada gets for "playing with heart" in this series, there sure aren't a lot of people willing to call the cheap crap they were doing (unlike you).

I thought we were the good guys (or something like that).

Vic, Roger Nielson was one coach I can remember who wasn't a complete fanatic about PK centres winning draws to the boards. He preferred it (better there than in front of the net), but every now and then he'd let his centre put it to the front of the net where the defenceman was waiting to get it out.

nightslide said...

Wow, great work. I've never seen this (have the DVD, but sits unwatched currently), but looking forward to watching and comparing.

Just wondering, I've seen a lot of comments about the 87 Cup. I found a copy years ago, and would be willing to help with that. Pat, how can I get you a copy of that? I've got 4 DVDs with each of the games, and a round robin one.
nightslide AT (nospam) gmail Dot com

Bruce said...

By that stage Foster Hewitt was about as good at player identification as Bob Cole is now.

No argument about Espo being an elite forward, even as he was overshadowed by Orr in some quarters he won five Art Ross Trophies, led the league in goals six years running, was the first All-Star centre six years running, won two Hart Trophies, etc. I considered him the top forward in the game for a few years there, only Hull, Mikita, Mahovlich, a young Clarke and an aging Howe belonged in the conversation during Espo's prime.

Black Dog said...

nightslide - thanks and I will be sending you an email shortly about '87, I hope that we can figure something out, that would be great!

dawgbone - well it was the Cold War and of course regardless we are alawys the good guys aren't we ;)

its hockey, its vicious at times, that's the way it goes