1972

There are so many things about the 1972 Canada-Russia series that have stayed with me to this day.

The Bobby Clarke slash on Valeri Kharlamov.

Phil Esposito lashing out in frustration because Canada wasn’t behind their team (we were in shock, honest to God).

Vic Hadfield (in photo) going home.

Game One was an education.

Game Eight was redemption.

Serge Savard kept playing on a winning team.

No Bobby Orr.

No Bobby Hull, despite the issue going to the House of Commons.

The beautiful Russian game.

The glorious Russian anthem.

There’s a website up now dedicated to the Series and some wonderful memories. I don’t think there’s much I can add, except to say that it’s a time in history that is so embedded in my brain that it’s impossible to pick the important from the trivial. Like the moon landing, it was all so important that even the uniforms themselves are in my mind forever.

Can’t find my keys most days, but I can remember Peter Mahovlich splitting the defense and Yvan Cournoyer straddling the blueline like it was yesterday. It was unique in that we knew it was historic from 11:40 of the 1st period of game one, and when Valeri Kharlamov made us pay one period later it guaranteed that the entire series would be committed to memory.

I remember well a MacLean’s magazine comic strip piece that had Foster Hewitt at the mic, calling the games of Canada-Russia in our country. The caption in the balloon above his head said “and it’s Courn-ey, Corn-why, Corn….anyway, Tsygankov just scored.”

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5 Responses to "1972"

  1. theoil says:

    Up until this series the primary responsibility of a head coach on an NHL team was to make sure everybody got on the bus after the game and that there was enough beer to drink for the ride home.

    Half way through the first game most Canadians were forced to admit that there might be more to it than that.

    What a series. Humbling on the one hand and incredible feelings of pride on the other.

  2. doritogrande says:

    Really wish I was old enough to have seen those games. Don’t think the DVD would be the same.

    That being said, I’ve got tickets to Game 5 in Winnipeg and am dearly hoping for another classic series, one for my generation. We’re sorely missing someone to “Dion” the ruskies on this team, I’m hoping that maybe Mike Repik and Ty Wishart can be those guys. With a Sutter at the helm, we’re going to leave everything on the ice, that much is for sure.

  3. doritogrande says:

    And when I say Mike Repik, I really mean Milan Lucic. Stupid Vancouver Giants all play the same way, hard.

  4. Yanner39 says:

    I was 4 months old when the series took place. I think the series was important, but personally, I am sick of hearing about it. I recently saw the documentary on it and it just confirmed to me how I appreciate the 1987 Canada Cup team and what they accomplished more than the 1972 team.

    In 1972, the Canadians showed cocky and fat and out of shape and Esposito little rant made him look like a fool. I don’t blame the fans for booing the Canadians off the ice. And then Bobby Clarke breaking the Russian’s ankle.

    The only think I will give the Canadians credit for is the way they rebounded in the USSR (I guess the fact the Soviets were missing one of their best players helped).

    For me, the 87 Canada Cup is what I remember the most and I hope the upcoming Summit Series will be a great one.

  5. Lowetide says:

    yanner: The key to the Russian success was some games they played between the two sets of games (Canada, Russia) in I believe Sweden.

    They got in better shape and became a team.

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