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Golden Knight Leading Candidate For Most Important Position In World Hockey

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Everyone in Vegas remains focused on defending the Stanley Cup and cementing the Golden Knights as an NHL dynasty. For much of the rest of the world, at least some attention has begun to shift toward the upcoming best-on-best tournaments that have been missing from hockey for nearly a decade.

The NHL announced plans to host a four-nation face-off in 2025 in advance of NHL players attending the Olympics in 2026. Assuming these tournaments actually happen (we’ve been promised this many times and it often falls through), the Golden Knights are expected to be heavily represented.

Jack Eichel, Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Mark Stone, and William Karlsson are all locks assuming health and Ivan Barbashev, Jonathan Marchessault, and others could make the squads as well.

The biggest surprise though might be the fact that a Golden Knight is in the running, and maybe even the favorite, to secure the most important position on the most widely talked-about team. That’s right, Adin Hill is among the leading candidates to be the starting goalie for Team Canada.

I certainly would go to bat for him. He’s got a great demeanor, well-liked guy, gets along with everybody, and is a low-maintenance type of player. I think he’d be proud to represent his country, that’s for sure. –Bruce Cassidy on TSN 1050

Hill is the starter on the projected roster by, all five by The Score, and two of the three by The Athletic.

Cassidy, who was on the coaching staff for Team Canada before the NHL pulled the plug on the 2022 Olympics, does believe there’s one hang-up in Hill’s candidacy for the role though.

The question about Adin will be, he’s still young and he hasn’t been a #1 in this league really until this was going to be the year and then he got injured in November so we’re still trying to build that back in. Do you want a guy that’s been a proven #1? That’ll be in the conversation too. –Cassidy on TSN 1050

Other options include Stuart Skinner, Connor Ingram, Tristan Jarry, Cam Talbot, and even Logan Thompson. None of them have achieved what Hill has though.

He’s done the tough part, which is win the Cup and get on one of those runs and carry the ball for a team. He just hasn’t been a consistent #1 in this league for a long time. He certainly has to be in the conversation. –Bruce Cassidy on TSN 1050

There’s still plenty of time between now and then, but as of this very moment, the man between the pipes in Vegas represents Team Canada’s best chance at gold.


Golden Knights Fend Off Doubt In Toronto As Guentzel Rumors Heat Up




  1. Canada

    Wow that is awesome news , Not sure how many Cups the Knights will have to win before we are taken seriously by the eastern media but this will be a great step forward if we can have these players on the world stage . Im Stoked .

  2. ThG

    if olympics isn’t politics, I don’t know what is

  3. ThG

    What was the significance of the 1972 Summit Series?
    1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series (Summit Series) | The …
    The series became as much a Cold War political battle of democracy versus communism and freedom versus oppression as it was about hockey. The series had a lasting impact on hockey in Canada and abroad. Paul Henderson scored the dramatic goal in Moscow to give the Canadians the series victory.

    • Emmanuel

      What was the significance of the 1972 Summit Series?

      Canadians were shocked that they couldnt steamroll any other nation in Hockey.

      To this day I hear the excuse “we didnt have our best player/s”.

      By the way Yakushev was a beast!

      • ThG

        after the USA kicked the red commie’s butt in 1960 olympics, the Ruskies hunkered down in international play . They consistently beat the North American teams and the North Americans were frustrated to say the least. They whined and cried FOUL because the RED ARMY team was basically a “professional team” that was subsidized by the Socialist Gooberment of the old Soviet Union (note although the Soviet Union was a vast country, made up of many nationalistic people, their hockey team was populated by a vast majority of Russians). Anyway the Canadians had enough and said we will put together a team of our best professional players. The Soviets agreed and in 1972 they had the infamous “summit series”. The first four games were in Canada (at various cities) and the last four were all i Moscow. Team Canada had a major problem because a good number of their better, and more experienced players like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull (Golden Jet), Gerry Cheevers, J.C. Tremblay and Derek Sanderson. Bobby Orr, without question the BEST player in NHL at the time was injured (although he played in another series a few years later). The TEAM CANADA was hampered by a number of things. A team of players who didn’t practice or play together for any period of time, and playing in September after a layoff, as well , none of the players knew how to play against the Soviets.

        Whereas the Soviets were a well oiled team with the famous petrov, maholoff and some other guy I forget.

        The Soviets were ahead three games to one going back to Russia. The last game in Vancouver. I will never forget. The FANS BOOED the shit out of the Canadians. I will never forget Phil Esposito who was interviewed by HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA. He was really giving it to the fans.

        The series was really an “us ” versus ” them” hyped up match. Our way of life, our government, our culture versus theirs. And the Ruskies played dirty, they hide and stole the Canadians food, and played other tricks at their hotel.

        • ThG

          Team Canada had a major problem because a good number of their better, and more experienced players like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull (Golden Jet), Gerry Cheevers, J.C. Tremblay and Derek Sanderson. All went to WHA and were ruled ineligible to play.

          Although a few years later the WHA had their own summit series which included Gordie Howe (who was like 43 years old ), and Bobby Hull. The WHA veterans were like geriatrics, they managed to pull out a tie in series. The Russian coach said , when asked about Howe “yeah, he may make our fourth line”.

          • ThG

            Game one was held in Montreal in a very warm Montreal Forum on September 2 before 18,818 fans.[65] The gamesmanship between the teams started before the opening puck drop. Canada was assigned the home team for all games in Canada, while the Soviets would be the home team in Moscow. The Soviets would not release their lineup until they had seen their opponents’, which was the opposite order, considering they were the visitors. The official scorer had to return to the Soviets’ dressing room and demand the lineup.[66] Sinden wanted to put the Ellis-Clarke-Henderson line on against Valeri Kharlamov’s line. The Soviets did not start Kharlamov’s line and Sinden named Phil Esposito’s line for the opening faceoff.[66]

            The move paid off as Esposito scored for Canada after just 30 seconds of play, knocking a puck out of the air behind Tretiak.[67] But even after a few minutes, Sinden felt the Soviets were coming on and having no difficulty getting through Canada’s defence.[67] Henderson scored after six minutes to give Canada a two-goal lead on a faceoff win by Clarke (the only advantage that Team Canada had, in Sinden’s estimation). To the Canadian spectators and media, the second goal gave the appearance that the pre-series predictions of a rout were being proven correct. But the Soviets got over any awe of the NHLers[68] and scored twice to tie the game 2-2 before the end of the first period. Yevgeni Zimin scored on a pass from behind the net, and Vladimir Petrov scored a shorthanded goal on a Soviet 2-on-1 break, with Petrov potting the rebound after an initial Dryden save.[69] According to Sinden, the Canadian players had lost their poise, “running all over the ice” trying to establish their hitting game, while the Soviets used an unexpected tactic, the long pass, to break a man out of their defensive zone.[69] The Canadian defence was also dropping to the ice to block shots, while the Soviets simply skated around them to get a closer shot.[70] Although Tretiak had given up two goals on Canada’s first two shots, he recovered later in the period to make two critical saves off Esposito at point-blank range.[65] According to Esposito, “at Christmas time, it would have been 4–0 for us.”[65]

            In the second period, Kharlamov scored on a great individual effort to put the Soviets ahead 3–2. Kharlamov deked Don Awrey, skated around him, faked a backhand shot on goaltender Ken Dryden, then scored on the forehand.[70] Kharlamov then scored a second goal to give the Soviets a two-goal lead at the end of the second period. During the period, the air temperature in the Forum (which had no air conditioning system) increased. By the end of the second period, the temperature in the Forum had reached 115 °F (46 °C).[65]

            For the third period, Sinden benched Awrey and the Jean Ratelle line, going with just three lines. In the third, Clarke scored to bring Canada within one. In the Canadians’ attempt to tie the game, Yvan Cournoyer put a puck off the post, but the Soviets broke out afterwards and Boris Mikhailov scored on the counterattack to restore their two-goal lead with six minutes to play. Mikhailov skated across the Canadian net about 20 feet out, lured Dryden away from the goal crease, then back-handed the puck between the goalie’s legs into the net.[65] The strategy of three lines, combined with the heat in the arena, had left the Canadians exhausted, and the Soviets scored twice in the final minutes to finish with a 7–3 victory.[71]

            “I was stunned by their performance” was Sinden’s assessment.[65] Former Montreal Canadiens’ coach Claude Ruel commented that the Soviets’ forwards were one of the most finely honed units he had ever seen. “They are always moving, never standing around, they head-man the puck as well as anyone has ever done—and they always seem to be in the right place.”[65] According to Dryden: “We didn’t play our game at all. After they tied it up, we started playing a panic type of game. Sometimes there were five men going for the puck at once.”[65] At the end of the game, Team Canada accidentally snubbed the Soviets by returning to the dressing room directly without shaking hands with the Soviets after the game.[72]

            The win by the USSR team was celebrated into the early hours back home, and many took the next day off work. Valeri Kharlamov’s father Boris held an impromptu party at his Moscow apartment.[73] Dick Beddoes fulfilled his promise – he came to a hotel in Toronto, where Soviet hockey players lived, and ate a printed copy of his column after covering it with borscht.[74][75]

  4. Canada

    Agreed ThG We all love hockey, when its on a world stage the audience is more diverse and politics inevitably become part of the story. With what’s going on in Ukraine i cant imagine the intensity of the games between any free world country and Russia . I just wish we had another shot to kick those Ruskys asses but they wont be there unfortunately and rightfully so.

  5. ThG

    The second game was played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on September 4. Sinden scratched several players from the first game, including Dryden, Awrey, Ratelle, Red Berenson, Rod Gilbert, Vic Hadfield, Mickey Redmond and Rod Seiling. Hadfield took the scratch hard, as he was from the Toronto area and felt he was being embarrassed in front of his hometown.[76] On defence, Serge Savard, Pat Stapleton and Bill White were added, as were forwards Mikita, Wayne Cashman and J. P. Parisé. Tony Esposito, Phil’s brother, took over goaltending duties.[77] Sinden’s changes were made to get “the diggers into the game and try to grind the Russians down. We had went for speed and quickness in our first lineup, yet the Russians were still faster and quicker.”[78]

    Team Canada responded to their previous defeat with stronger play in this game. The first period was scoreless, but the Canadians used the period to intimidate the Soviets with hard body checking, especially from Cashman, Gary Bergman, Peter Mahovlich and Parisé, to throw the Soviets off their game.[79] In the second period, Esposito again scored the first goal of the game, this time from a feed from his regular Boston Bruins’ linemate Cashman, who had retrieved the puck deep in the Soviets’ zone after colliding with USSR defenceman Vladimir Lutchenko. In the third period, Yvan Cournoyer wheeled around Alexander Ragulin and beat Tretiak to give Canada a 2–0 lead. Yakushev got the Soviets on the board after teammate Yevgeni Zimin missed on a breakaway. Yuri Lyapkin pounced on the rebound and fed it out front for Alexander Yakushev to bury the puck behind Esposito. Peter Mahovlich then scored a critical shorthanded goal, deking out the Soviet defender one-on-one, then Tretiak, to again give Canada a two-goal lead. His brother Frank then finished the scoring on a feed from Mikita, who had circled around a Soviet defenceman.[80] Team Canada’s 4–1 win tied the series at one game apiece.

    The Soviet coaches blamed the loss on the officiating. Bobrov complained that the pair of American referees, Frank Larsen and Steve Dowling, let the Canadians get away with everything. After the game, the head of the USSR Hockey Federation, Andrei Starovoytov, charged the door of the officials’ dressing room and kicked chairs over,[81] exclaiming: “American referees allowed Canadian hockey players to act like a gang of outlaws.”[82] The two referees, scheduled to work game four in Vancouver, were replaced by the pair who had refereed games one and three, Gord Lee and Len Gagnon. Team Canada agreed to the Soviets’ request to change referees, apparently not aware of Starovoitov’s tantrum after game two.[83]

  6. ThG

    Game three was played in the Winnipeg Arena on September 6. After the second game, the Soviets said that they had strayed into playing too much of the Canadian style, as individuals, and promised to return to their team style for the third game. Canada went with the same lineup as game two, with the exception of Ratelle replacing Bill Goldsworthy.[84] Team Canada held leads of 3–1 and 4–2, but the Soviets rallied and the game ended in a 4–4 tie.

    Canada took the lead only 1:54 into the game on a goal by Parisé, but Petrov replied shorthanded at 3:16 to tie. Petrov stole the puck from Frank Mahovlich for a breakaway and deked Tony Esposito to score. After a strong forecheck by the Canadians in the Soviets’ zone, Ratelle scored off a turnover to put Canada ahead 2–1 after the first. In the second period, Wayne Cashman dug the puck out of a scrum in the corner to feed the puck to Phil Esposito, who scored to put Canada ahead 3–1. But on another Canadian power play, Kharlamov circled behind the Canadian defence and gathered a breakaway pass, then beat Tony Esposito to score the Soviets’ second shorthanded goal. Paul Henderson scored unassisted seconds later to restore Canada’s two-goal lead. However, the Soviets’ “Youngster’s Line” of Yuri Lebedev, Vyacheslav Anisin and Alexander Bodunov scored twice to tie the game at 4–4 after two periods.[85] The third period was scoreless, creating what would prove to be the only tie of the eight-game series (there was no provision for overtime).

    Team Canada assistant coach John Ferguson felt that the Canadians had gotten overconfident. “I was fooled again. I felt that after we had taken a 3–1 lead, the final score might be something like 7–1. But those two shorthanded goals. When you score one shorthanded goal it can turn it all around. But two? That’s almost fatal.” According to Tim Burke of the Montreal Gazette, both goaltenders, Tony Esposito and Vladislav Tretiak, reached great heights, or the outcome could have been 10–10.[85] Tretiak was making an unexpected start for the Soviets, who had planned to start Viktor Zinger, but he was reported to be ill before the game.[86] Soviet coach Bobrov complained about the officiating and the play of Wayne Cashman, stating that “if that game had been played in Europe, he would have spent the whole game in the penalty box.”[87]

  7. ThG

    Game four was played in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. The game started with two consecutive penalties by Bill Goldsworthy, and Boris Mikhailov converted both into power play goals to give the Soviets a 2–0 lead. Goldsworthy, starting in place of Cashman, was trying to counter his teammate’s truculence, but only ended up hurting his team and was criticized privately by Sinden.[88] In the second, Gilbert Perreault scored when a Soviet deflected his shot past Tretiak, but Blinov scored less than a minute later to restore the two-goal lead. Rod Gilbert scored a questionable goal that was disallowed, and Canada’s protests went unheeded.[89] To Sinden, that was the turning point of the game, and the result could have been different had the goal been allowed, although Sinden admitted that it was “a beating”.[90] Vikulov scored to put the Soviets ahead 4–1 after two periods. In the third, Goldsworthy made partial amends with a goal to get Canada to within 4–2, but then Shadrin scored to put the game out of reach. Dennis Hull scored a too-little, too-late goal in the final minute.[91]

    All the Canadian goals were scored by players Sinden had inserted in place of players who had played in Winnipeg. Still, Sinden felt that changing the lineup had been a mistake. According to Sinden, Ken Dryden, who had replaced Tony Esposito in goal, did not have a good game; he was shaky and Tretiak was great.[92] According to Conacher, the Soviets used cross-ice passing in the attacking zone, a tactic that caused problems for Dryden.[89] Serge Savard missed the game after fracturing his ankle in practice.[93]

    Team Canada was booed off the ice at the end of what was the final game of the series played in Canada. Responding to the negative public and media reaction in light of the expectation for an overwhelming Team Canada sweep of the series, Phil Esposito made an emotional outburst in a post-game interview:[94]

    To the people across Canada, we tried, we gave it our best, and to the people that boo us, geez, I’m really, all of us guys are really disheartened and we’re disillusioned, and we’re disappointed at some of the people. We cannot believe the bad press we’ve got, the booing we’ve gotten in our own buildings. If the Russians boo their players, the fans … Russians boo their players … Some of the Canadian fans—I’m not saying all of them, some of them booed us, then I’ll come back and I’ll apologize to each one of the Canadians, but I don’t think they will. I’m really, really … I’m really disappointed. I am completely disappointed. I cannot believe it. Some of our guys are really, really down in the dumps, we know, we’re trying like hell. I mean, we’re doing the best we can, and they got a good team, and let’s face facts. But it doesn’t mean that we’re not giving it our 150%, because we certainly are. I mean, the more – everyone of us guys, 35 guys that came out and played for Team Canada. We did it because we love our country, and not for any other reason, no other reason. They can throw the money, uh, for the pension fund out the window. They can throw anything they want out the window. We came because we love Canada. And even though we play in the United States, and we earn money in the United States, Canada is still our home, and that’s the only reason we come. And I don’t think it’s fair that we should be booed.

    — Phil Esposito, in a post-game interview on national television[94][95]
    Brad Park and Frank Mahovlich also criticized the booing. According to Park: “We get nothing—not a dime for this. Brother, I’m sick”. Other players were more sanguine. Dryden didn’t lash out at the fans. “I’m disappointed, but I can understand it. The fans wanted us to do real 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.”[94]

    After the fourth game, the series went on a two-week hiatus. The Soviets returned home and played in a domestic tournament. The Canadians took a few days off, then travelled to Sweden for a pair of exhibition games before arriving in Moscow.

  8. NAM

    The Olympics are total garbage any more. Can’t even imagine how much virtue signing will go on this time around, and boy who doesn’t love figure skate dominating the national broadcast every night. Hockey will be like, “and here is the hockey score from the 3am game last night and you can watch the replay on XYZ streaming app”. Who doesn’t love to watch a game you already know the score of.

  9. ThG

    Team Canada arrived in Moscow for the final four games at the Luzhniki Ice Palace, accompanied by 3,000 Canadian fans. Not long after starting practices in Moscow, Team Canada players Vic Hadfield, Rick Martin and Jocelyn Guevremont left the team and went home for what they felt was a lack of playing time.[96] Team Canada used its practice time in the Dvoretz Sporta to learn the differences of the Soviet rinks. While there had been concern about the wider ice surface, what was most strange to the Canadian players was the fish netting draped at the ends of the rink above the boards instead of glass. Considered “in play”, the netting was strung tight, and a slap shot to the netting could catapult the puck back as fast as the original shot.[97]

    Large building
    Luzhniki Palace of Sports in Moscow in 2007. The arena hosted games five to eight of the series.
    Game five was held on September 22. Luzhniki was filled to its 14,000 capacity, including Communist Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and Soviet head of state Nikolai Podgorny and a large contingent of military in dress uniform.[98] The 3,000 Canadian fans were given seats, but a group of 150 Canadian sports figures were left unseated.[99] The players marched out to the rink for the game to loud cheers, accompanied by the song “Coward Doesn’t Play Hockey”. During the pregame introductions, Jean Ratelle, captain for the night, was given the traditional gift of bread. The players were all given red and white carnations.[98] Phil Esposito was given flowers, but he slipped and fell on a flower stem, landing on his back.[100] Esposito recovered to laugh at his pratfall, and bowed to the delight of all of the spectators.[101]

    Parisé scored the only goal of the first period, and Clarke and Henderson scored in the second to give Canada a 3–0 lead.[99] In the third, Yury Blinov scored for the Soviets at 3:34 and Henderson scored at 4:56 to make it a 4-1 Canada lead. At 9:05, Anisin scored on a deflection to start a run of four straight Soviet goals. Vladimir Vikulov’s goal at 14:46 was the game-winner for the USSR, whose 5–4 victory gave them a 3–1–1 series lead.[101] According to Bobby Clarke, “we’re not a defensive club, yet we tried to play defensively.”[101]

    Despite the loss, all the Canadian fans in the arena sang “O Canada” as Team Canada left the ice. The cheering of the Canadian fans was unknown at Soviet hockey games. The Soviet newspaper Pravda noted wryly that the roof of the arena had withstood the loudness of the cheering and had remained in place.[102]

    Team Canada was now faced with the daunting task of having to win all three remaining games to win the series. To add to the Canadian struggles, Gilbert Perreault left Team Canada for home to focus on getting into shape for the upcoming NHL season. Perreault had played in game five, practiced with the team the day after, and then asked to return home.[103]

  10. ThG

    dirty Bobby Clarke

    Game six produced a vital Canadian 3–2 victory. After a scoreless first period, Lyapkin scored the first goal at 1:12 of the second, but the Canadians’ confidence did not waver.[104] The Canadians caught the Soviets in a lapse and scored three goals in a one-and-a-half-minute span to take a 3–1 lead.[105] Hull flipped a rebound over Tretiak to tie the score after Gilbert had capitalized on a Soviet giveaway. Cournoyer scored on a setup from behind the net by Berenson. Fifteen seconds later, Henderson scored what turned out to be the winning third goal on a 30-foot slap shot.[104] Yakushev scored late in the second on a power play to finish the scoring.

    According to Montreal Gazette sports editor Ted Blackman, Canadian players Ken Dryden and Brad Park turned in their first big games of the series. Dryden ended a personal losing streak to Soviet teams dating back to his amateur career and two previous games in the series. In his opinion, the Canadian penalty-killing unit of Serge Savard, Peter Mahovlich, Bill White and Pat Stapleton was “brilliant” as it held the Soviets to one power play goal despite a wide disadvantage in penalty minutes.[105] Savard himself was recovering from a fractured ankle during the series.[105] According to commentator Brian Conacher, Team Canada had adjusted its game to not play “dump and chase” but instead retain possession in the offensive zone. The strategy led directly to Henderson’s winning goal on an interception of an errant Soviet pass. According to Conacher, “for the first time, the Soviets had opened the door a crack and Team Canada had rushed through like a freight train.”[106]

    Following the game, the Canadians complained that Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader, the German referees (the same who refereed a controversial Canada-Sweden game), were biased, since Canada was assessed 31 minutes in penalties while the Soviets received only four minutes.[107] Phil Esposito complained that one goal by the Soviets was directly the result of the referee dropping the puck while he was talking to a teammate.[105] The Canadians gave the pair the nickname of “Badder and Worse”.[108]

    “The Slash”
    During game six, Valeri Kharlamov was targeted by Team Canada for attention. According to Conacher, “every time they get a chance, they’re taking him for a rough ride along the boards.” Kharlamov was the target of numerous body checks by Brad Park.[105] Things started to heat up in the second period. Kharlamov had knocked down Bobby Clarke, who in retaliation rubbed Kharlamov’s face with his glove to raise Kharlamov’s temper, and the two exchanged punches. Bergman then stepped in and bumped into Kharlamov and harassed him all the way back to the bench.[109] Peter Mahovlich later elbowed Kharlamov, who retaliated by dumping Mahovlich to the ice.[109] Later, Clarke raced down the ice to catch a streaking Kharlamov and deliberately slashed Kharlamov’s already sore ankle, injuring it and according to reports, fracturing it.[110] Kharlamov skated over to the Canadians’ bench and yelled at them before limping off the ice to the dressing room. The referees handed Clarke a minor penalty for slashing and an additional 10-minute misconduct penalty. Later, with Clarke still serving the misconduct, the referees also gave Dennis Hull a slashing penalty, during which Yakushev scored.[106] Despite his injured ankle, Kharlamov returned to play and very nearly scored on a power play later in the second period.[111] The Soviets’ Mikhailov exacted his own retribution, kicking Bergman hard enough to cut his leg through his shin pads.[112]

    The incident was widely reported and condemned by the Soviet press.[113] Kharlamov himself believed that “Bobby Clarke was given the job of taking me out of the game.”[114] The slash was apparently done at the instigation of assistant coach John Ferguson. “I remember that Kharlamov’s ankle was hurting pretty bad.[113] I called Clarke over to the bench, looked over at Kharlamov and said, ‘I think he needs a tap on the ankle.’ I didn’t think twice about it. It was Us versus Them. And Kharlamov was killing us. I mean, somebody had to do it.”[115] Dick Beddoes asked Clarke about it later at a team reunion, calling it a “wicked two-hander”, to which Clarke replied “Dick, if I hadn’t learned how to lay on a two-hander once in a while, I’d never have left Flin Flon.”[116][113]

    In a 2006 interview with the Russian Sport Express magazine, Clarke stated that he was unaware of Kharlamov’s sore ankle at the time and does not recall Ferguson telling him to target the ankle. Further, he recalled that Kharlamov had used stick work on him, and Clarke’s slash was in retribution for Kharlamov’s actions:

    We were going for the puck together, he pushed me with the stick, then turned around and skated away. I caught up with him and hit him on the leg, not thinking at all where and how I hit. I could hit them on the leg, but don’t forget that they did the same things to me. I am all for fairness, so the players who play tough hockey have to be prepared to get the same thing back. And I was ready for that. Soviet hockey had no fights so the players used other methods to get the point across. Like a little bit of ‘stick work’ here and there, you know. And I personally don’t mind this. I am a tough player and I respect toughness in others. But if I am poked with a stick I will do the same. We just had to adapt to the new ways of doing things, that’s all.

    — Bobby Clarke, in a 2006 interview with Sport Express magazine[117]
    On the 30th anniversary of the series, Henderson called the incident “the low point of the series”, but would later apologize to Clarke.[118] In his 2007 book, Conacher wrote that “from the broadcast booth I was shocked and disgusted when I saw Clarke viciously chop at Kharlamov’s left ankle.” He noted “that emotionally these games had clearly gone beyond sport for Team Canada and had truly become unrestricted war on ice.”[119] Media opinion is divided on the effect it had on the outcome of the series. The controversy and admissions that have come forth throughout the years have led some to the belief that the incident could be considered a form of cheating.[120] Kharlamov, who had been one of the Soviets’ best forwards, missed game seven, when the Soviets could have clinched the series and while he did play in game eight, he was not at 100% and did not score.[110] In Clarke’s opinion, there were other factors for Team Canada’s turnaround in Moscow: “In Moscow we played much better than in Canada. We were almost equal to the Soviet team physically by then, we passed much better, we shot the puck much better, we became faster and played better on defence. Besides, when you have nothing to lose, it is easier to play. And after the fifth game we had nothing to lose.”[117

  11. ThG

    Team Canada won game seven by a 4–3 score to even the series 3-3-1. In the first period, Phil Esposito scored two goals while Yakushev and Petrov tallied for the USSR, ending the first period tied 2–2. The second period was scoreless. In the third, Gilbert put Canada ahead, but Yakushev scored again to tie the score 3-3. At 17:54, Henderson fooled Soviet defender Tsygankov with a pass through the Soviet’s feet, then skated around him to pick up the puck and break in on Tretiak. As Henderson shot and scored, Valeri Vasiliev tripped Henderson who did not see his shot go in. The goal light went on and off quickly and Team Canada rushed onto the ice to congratulate Henderson before there was any doubt raised about the goal. The Soviet coach Bobrov publicly blamed the loss on Tsygankov.[121] After the game, Henderson commented about the goal as the “one that gave him his most personal satisfaction ever”.[121]

    The game also featured a controversial incident. At 16:26 of the third period, a scuffle broke out between Canada’s Bergman and the USSR’s Mikhailov, in which Mikhailov kicked Bergman twice.[121] Czech referee Rudolf Baťa and Swede referee Ove Dahlberg officiated the game, and it was announced that the German referee pair of Josef Kompalla and Franz Baader had been sent home and Baťa and Dahlberg would referee the final game, in exchange for a promise that Bergman would not publicly berate Bobrov.[122]

  12. ThG

    Controversy ensued when the Soviets wanted to back out of the refereeing agreement. The Soviets wanted to include the German pair of referees originally scheduled for the game. Eagleson threatened to pull Team Canada from playing the eighth game.[123] In a compromise, Kompalla refereed along with Bata instead of Baader.[124][125] The ill will spilled over into the presentation of a totem pole as a gift from Team Canada. The pre-game presentation was cancelled by the Soviets, but restored on the insistence of Team Canada. According to Sinden, Eagleson stated that they “were going to take this totem pole and bring it to centre ice and they’ll have to take it or skate around it the whole game”.[126]

    Heading into the eighth and final game, each team had three wins, three losses and one tie, but the Soviets were two goals ahead in goal differential. In Canada, much of the country enjoyed an unofficial ‘half a day’ holiday, with many students in Toronto being sent home the afternoon of the game (which began at 1pm Eastern Time), while many others watched the game at work or school.[127] In Montreal’s Central Station, 5,000 fans gathered around ten TV sets to watch the game,[127] which was simulcast in English on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) television network, the CTV Television Network, and in French on the TV Radio-Canada television network. Until the men’s hockey gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was the most-watched sporting event in the history of Canadian television.

    Team Canada took a number of questionable early penalties. With two Canadians (White and Peter Mahovlich) off, Yakushev scored to give the Soviets the lead 1–0. The game was delayed after a mistaken call against Parisé (he was called for interference, but Parisé admitted later he was guilty of cross-checking)[128] and emotions boiled over. Parisé was called for a misconduct for banging his stick on the ice, and when he saw the misconduct called, he dashed across the ice with his stick raised.[128] Parisé nearly swung his stick at Kompalla and got a match penalty. Sinden threw a chair on the ice.[128] Some writers have commented that the incidents resulted in the rest of the game being refereed capably.[129]

    After Parisé’s penalty was served, it was Canada’s turn to go on the power play, and Esposito scored his sixth goal of the series to tie it at 1–1. The teams exchanged power plays before Lutchenko scored a power play goal on a slap shot to put the Soviets ahead 2–1. Brad Park then scored his only goal of the series at even strength to complete some pretty passing between Dennis Hull and the Rangers’ teammates of Ratelle, Gilbert and Park to tie the score. The period ended with the teams tied 2–2.

    In the second, the Soviets started with a quick goal by Vladimir Shadrin after 21 seconds. The last ten minutes saw two goals from the Soviets: Yakushev scoring his seventh of the series followed by Valery Vasiliev on the power play to put the Soviets ahead 5–3 after two periods. White had countered for Canada midway through the period. It was one of few moments for Canada to cheer as the Soviets played an excellent period. The other was a goal-saving play by Phil Esposito who stopped a shot by Yury Blinov, who had faked goaltender Dryden out of position and had an empty net to shoot at. Esposito stopped the puck with his stick on the goal line. Blinov and the crowd had prematurely celebrated the apparent goal, and Blinov shook his head in disbelief.[130]

    Sinden told the players to “try to get one back quickly, but play tight defensively and not allow the game to get out of hand. Don’t gamble until after the half-way point if need be.”[131] Esposito scored to put the Canadians within one. The tension rose at the rink, and extra soldiers were dispatched for security. It was matched on the ice as Gilbert and Yevgeni Mishakov had a fight. Veteran Canadian hockey commentator Foster Hewitt noticed that “You can feel the tension almost everywhere!”[132]

    At the ten-minute mark, Sinden noticed that the Soviets had changed their style, playing defensively to protect the lead rather than pressing.[131] However, the strategy backfired on the Soviets. The change in tactics gave the Canadians more chances to score[131] and Cournoyer scored to tie the game 5-5.[133]

    After the Cournoyer goal, the goal judge refused to put the goal light on despite the fact that it was signaled a goal on the ice. In response, Alan Eagleson (seated across the ice from the Team Canada bench) attempted to reach the timer’s bench to protest, causing a ruckus in the crowd as he made his way there.[134] As he was being subdued by the Soviet police, the Canadian players headed over and Peter Mahovlich jumped over the boards to confront the police with his stick. Eagleson was freed and escorted by the coaches across the ice to the bench. In anger, he shoved his fist to the Soviet crowd, as a few other Canadian supporters also gave the finger to the Soviets.[135] The Soviets continued to play defensively. Sinden speculates the Soviets were willing to accept the tie and win the series on goal differential.[136]

    “The Goal”
    man wearing jersey and hockey equipment on skates with both hands raised high
    The famous photograph of Paul Henderson by Frank Lennon
    In the final minute of play, with Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer and Peter Mahovlich out on the ice, Paul Henderson stood up at the bench and called Mahovlich off the ice as he was skating by. “I jumped on the ice and rushed straight for their net. I had this strange feeling that I could score the winning goal”, recalls Henderson.[137] Bobby Clarke was supposed to replace Esposito, but Phil did not come off (“There was no way I was coming off the ice in that situation,” Esposito said). Cournoyer picked up a puck that had been passed around the boards by the Soviets in a clearing attempt. He missed Henderson with a pass, but two Soviets mishandled the puck in the corner and Esposito shot the puck on Tretiak.

    Henderson, who had fallen behind the net, got up and went to the front of the net, where he was uncovered. Henderson got the rebound of Esposito’s shot, shot the puck and was stopped, but recovered the rebound. With Tretiak down, he put the puck past the goalie with only 34 seconds to play. Foster Hewitt’s voice rose in excitement as he called the winning goal:[138]

    Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot. Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot. Right in front, they score! Henderson has scored for Canada!

    — Foster Hewitt, calling the play-by-play description of Henderson’s goal.”[139]
    The scene was captured on film by cameraman Frank Lennon. The picture became iconic in Canada.[140] Canada held on to win the game and the series, four games to three with one tie. Pat Stapleton picked up the puck for a keepsake after the game.[141]

    Somewhat overshadowed by Henderson’s winning goal was a four-point game by Phil Esposito, who tallied two goals and two assists and had a hand in all three goals of the third period. Esposito was the only player on either team to score four points in a game during the series. According to Ron Ellis, he had “never seen another player have a period where there was so much pressure and was still able to accomplish what he did”. Sinden considered it to be Esposito’s “finest hour”.[142] Esposito describes it as “there was no stopping me. And I think some of the guys got a little angry with me. If we had lost, I would have been the goat. But we didn’t lose. I just had enough faith in myself, that I was going to get it done, one way or another.”[142]

    The series ended with no ceremony. After a brief on-ice gathering of Canadian players and team officials, the opposing teams shook hands and skated off the ice. There was no trophy or prize money at stake, and the players received no medals, not even a commemorative token.[143]

  13. ThG

    In an interview a few years ago, when Phil Esposito was color commentator for the TV Lightning he recalled how dirty the Soviet players were. Being soccer players they used the skate blades to kick and knife the Canadian players. Not being allowed to fight in international play, the Soviets also butt ended and used their sticks a lot. Esposito was particularly irked at Mikhailov, his opposing center. The 70 year old Esposito said if he ever saw him walking down the street he would kick his ass due to his dirty play against Esposito.

    Esposito was by far the best player in that series, he won nearly every face off, and he had a tremendous series.

    • Vic

      Nice work THG. Many current fans think hockey history began in 2017. Ditto for all other sports. Olympics unwatchable these days.

  14. CANADA

    Those were the days a small country of 30 million and we won that series with out Bobby Orr or Bobby Hull . Think about that for a minute.

  15. ThG

    AHLer makes bone headed penalty in tied game

    HELLO !??!?

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