1979 Challenge Cup discussion thread

Discussion in 'International Tournaments' started by Mr Kanadensisk, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    In 1979 instead of having an All Star game the NHL hosted a three game mini series against the Soviet national team. The Soviet's won the series 2 games to 1 and I have often seen it referred to as one of the USSR's greatest victories.

    One thing that irks me about tournaments like this is that you are matching a well developed, familiar team against one that has had zero preparation time. I have always felt that preparation time is the single biggest advantage a team can have going into a short tournament such as this. If you look at any league a lot of teams don't find their chemistry until well into the regular season, after an already lengthy preseason. For years the Stanley Cup champs played and regularly beat an All Star team made up from the rest of the league, so beating an All Star team doesn't seem that big a deal to me.

    I'd be interested to hear what people think of this tournament and how significant they feel it was.
     
  2. fly4apuckguy

    fly4apuckguy Mr. Old School

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    I rank those games 109,982 on my list of important series.

    Far ahead of that series:

    All World/Canada Cups
    All recent Olympics

    The only true best on best in men's hockey where the tournament is set up equally for everyone involved, and not just two nations.
     
  3. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    North Americans themselves labeled it as the "Series of the Century" before the games began. Let's treat it as such then.
     
  4. fly4apuckguy

    fly4apuckguy Mr. Old School

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    North Americans also call every storm we have the storm of the century. That means nothing. That's to get ratings, not a critical analysis.
     
  5. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Well this is the only time that a hockey series has been marketed and labeled as the "Series of the Century".

    Let's get real. This series was treated as a hegemony battle both in media and by the players. The NHL invested a lot into this series and it was aired in all of North America and in many European countries. It drew far bigger TV ratings than Stanley Cup finals did back then.

    I don't care if the NHL All Stars did not prepare accordingly. They had their best players on the ice and the games were treated as a hegemony match. If they were not ready, well, it was their own fault.

    Did you watch those TV analysis after the 3rd game? There were some pissed off people there saying how Canadians should learn to develop similar skills as the Soviets did.

    By the way, Alan Eagleson handing the winning trophy to Boris Mikhailov was a pretty sight.
     
  6. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    TV commentator Bobby Orr said after the 3rd game that the lack of preparation should not be used as an excuse for this defeat. The games were played in February when players are in top shape and many NHL All Star team players were playing in the same club teams as well. Orr said that the Soviets just are better than we are right now. That was pretty classy from him.
     
  7. Soggy Biscuit

    Soggy Biscuit Brennan Izza Gangsta

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    It is classy when someone can admit defeat and not fall back on excuses for the loss, isn't it?
     
  8. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    Well, the reffing in the Challenge Cup was pretty good and balanced, and it cannot be compared to those sad Canada Cups in 1984 and 1987. There was nothing to complain about of reffing in 1979 by either team.

    Those Canada Cups in 1984 and 1987 were just ugly though. It all changed after the 1981 disaster. Eagleson realized Canada cannot beat the Soviets with European refs. They would need Canadian refs to call Canada's games, and so it happened.

    I would even say that neither Canada or the USSR won the 1987 tournament. Don Koharski did. It is fully documented in another thread what kind of a reffing those finals had.
     
  9. Soggy Biscuit

    Soggy Biscuit Brennan Izza Gangsta

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    Your perspective is well-documented.
     
  10. 2525

    2525 R.I.P. Fugu

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    I think Canada should just drop out of all tournaments.

    It's pretty obvious that everyone wants Canada to win and gives them all kinds of breaks to win.

    I also think hfboards should deny Canadians access to this forum. I know I won't be missed, and I won't miss coming here after my subscription ends.

    I'm getting sick and tired of *******s doing nothing but slam Canada, call us cheats and poor sports.
     
  11. Soggy Biscuit

    Soggy Biscuit Brennan Izza Gangsta

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    Taking sore losers seriously is your first mistake.
     
  12. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    I think most Canadians at the time thought the NHL All Stars should be able to win without any preparation time. In order to win without any prep time you have to be much much more talented than the team you are playing. The NHLers were quite a bit more talented than the Soviets, but they obviously under estimated them.

    I'm more interested to hear what you think than some quote Bobby Orr gave to the media. How much of a factor was preparation time?
     
  13. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    It's kind of funny how many hockey fans have a hate on for the country that is the most passionate about the sport.
     
  14. hammerwielder

    hammerwielder Registered User

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    It is slanderous for some to come on here and intimate that all the NHL officials who handled the Canada Cups conspired to throw the matches in favour of Canada. What, you would have preferred Baader and Kompalla? Have a little more whine with your perogies.

    I remember the Challenge Cup as a Very Big Deal. It was great hockey too apart from the deciding-game blow-out. It should be remembered however that the NHL team comprised not just Canadians but the best Europeans then playing in the league. Czech and Russian players were not allowed to play in North America until the collapse of the Soviet Union (Mogilny, Bure and Fedorov were defectors even from 89-91) so the NHL team included three Swedes, Salming, Nilsson and Hedberg.

    I don't think lack of preparation time could have been used as an excuse by the NHL team at all: as I recall, the NHL team had three more-or-less intact five-man units from club teams as its first three lines. You had Lafleur, Shutt and Gainey with Robinson and Lapointe from Montreal, Bossy, Trottier and Gilles with Potvin and Picard from the Islanders, the two Swedish forwards from Winnipeg playing with Salming on a third line, etc. The team execs knew there wouldn't be any preparation time and planned accordingly in shaping the roster. Orr is always classy, but I don't think he had to give anything up in making that statement.

    The Soviet teams of 1978-1981 were in my opinion some of the greatest hockey teams ever assembled. They blew Canada out of games on multiple occasions, including at two World Championships (against admittedly inferior Canadian squads composed of players from the few teams that missed the playoffs in those days) and in the 1981 Canada Cup final (after a lopsided loss to Canada in the round-robin). I was not surprised by the 6-0 loss. The Soviets had a habit of lying low in less important games and turning the wick way, way up in more meaningful ones. In fact, I thought it was maybe the most complete and perfect game that a Soviet team ever played. Their puck control was beyond belief, particularly in their own zone. They completely dominated both the offensive and defensive zones. In fact, they had been playing that way since the mid-point of the second period of game 2. They scored the last 9 goals of the series, unanswered. When one considers how scary good this team was, the Miracle on Ice of 1980 is well named.

    I think the games would be very much worth watching even today as they show the Soviet style of play at its purist before Russian players became more exposed to NHL. It would be great if once could get tapes of them somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  15. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    It is not slanderous. It is a fact. The refereeing in 1984 semifinal and 1987 finals was disgusting display of homerism. You just have to watch the games without your Canadian flag colored glasses to see this.

    Comparing Koharski to Kompalla and Baader is ridiculous. Why would the WEST German refs favor the Soviets with the same way that CANADIAN Koharski favored Canada? Did these refs even give Clarke a penalty for his slash on Kharlamov's ankle?



    Agreed. The NHL All Star team had many lines and defensive pairings that were playing in the same teams in the NHL.


    I would extend this period to 1985 instead of 1981. During these seven years the Soviets were clearly better than anyone else. After 1985 the decline started because the newer generations after the KLM generation were not nearly as good, and those greats from the 1970s were either retired or in a decline.

    It should be remembered that the Soviet team in the 1987 Canada Cup was far inferior to the 1981 team.


    Many hockey fans in Europe have those games on tape including myself.
     
  16. doakacola*

    doakacola* Registered User

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    The USSR was no better or worse than Canada from 1972 until 1985. The huge de-merit will
    always be 1980, losing to a team that was comprised of players from just 6 NCAA schools. Eight players played for Brooks the year before at the UMinnesota (1979 NCAA Champs) and one other
    played prior to that at Minesota, that was almost half the team!!!! Throw in the 4 BU kids and
    thats 13 of the 20 from just 2 schools. To say familiarity doesn't make a difference just flies in the face of reality.

    In addition the USSR barely beat Team USA 2-1 in th 1984 CC. That US Team had about 25% of its
    players junior eligible during the 1984 season and yet the USSR barely beat them. Incidentally that
    US team tied Canada @ the Forum 4-4, so IMO having watched both games there was very
    little difference between Canada/USSR.

    Growing up in Boston I need to point out that Canada didn't have Bobby Orr, the greatest player ever, along with Hull, so that offsets by leaps and bounds Valeri K being out.
     
  17. Soggy Biscuit

    Soggy Biscuit Brennan Izza Gangsta

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    Your opinion is not a fact. You seem to have difficulty with this concept.

    The same reason you believe an American referee would favour Canadians in the Canada Cup, thus the Soviets preferring Koharski back in '87?

    Is that supposed to be a rhetorical question? I'm sure you know the answer.
     
  18. Peter25

    Peter25 Registered User

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    It was clear favoritism. My eyes do not lie. This opinion is shared by any objective hockey fan.

    I don't really know this. Tell me what penalty did Clarke receive for that slash?
     
  19. Soggy Biscuit

    Soggy Biscuit Brennan Izza Gangsta

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    No, it is your subjective opinion. The same subjective opinion that some feel Kompalla was biased.

    2 and a 10 minute misconduct.

    But back to Canada Cup '87. I'm curious...do you know why Bob Johnson was so livid about the reffing after his Team USA lost to Team Canada?
     
  20. Mr Kanadensisk

    Mr Kanadensisk Registered User

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    I believe the only line comprised of team mates was Trottier, Gillies, Bossi. However in your statement above you aknowledge how important familiarity and prep time are. I'm not sure if you have any intention of being honest, but I think you can clearly see that prep time was the biggest factor here. The likelihood of three players like Trottier, Gillies, Bossi endning up together on a full time national team are extremely small at best. They were put together because they were familiar with each other and not necessarily because that was the best line combination for them if they had time to practice with other players.

    What I'm sure you will never admit here is that Hockey Canada's best teams have always been hastily thrown together and even still been able to defeat the USSR every time except once. In theory Canada could have had a full time national team program, but who would they play against?
     
  21. Pushkin

    Pushkin Registered User

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    You mean Canada was NEVER capable of beating the Soviets cleanly or clearly. All your wins are one-goal wins or OT wins tainted by refs injuring players and always playing at home. All in all USSR dominated The Olympics and Worlds and for everyone who saw the games back then it was clear that Hockey Canada was miles behind USSR hockey in every aspect but intimidation and anti-hockey.

    USSR dominated at Olympics-Worlds-WorldsU20 Challenge Cup NHL-USSR Club series and even dominated most of your own CanadaCups winning 8-1 in 1981 and leading 3-0 in game 3 in 1987 before Koharski got involved.

    Since USSR, Canada is slightly better in achievements but in head to head it's 1-1 at the Olympics and Russia as won many Worlds and WolrdsU20 too...

    Right now Canada probably slightly ahead but then USSR was MILES ahead.
     
  22. Pushkin

    Pushkin Registered User

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    It's funny how every real hockey brain in Canada back then starting by the very best and intelligent players Orr and Gretzky admitted that Canadian Hockey was backward and needing to learn from the Soviets about skills skating passing conditionning etc... The "heart" was there yes but most of the time this was used for injuring players and winning ugly without any sort of glory or credibility...

    It's almost a shame that Gretzky's parents left Belarus... Imagine him with those CCCP jerseys! Right now hockey would probably be just as obscure a sport in Canada as it is now in the US...
     
  23. canuck2010

    canuck2010 Registered User

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    The Soviets were great players, talented, skillful and played and incredible team game no doubt. They showed tremendous levels of skill in the fundamentals of the game.

    However the years that they dominated "amateur" hockey was because they never played the best. Yes they could beat the crap out of the also rans, the club teams, the hockey nations that are still second tier hockey teams today, junior and senior all star teams.

    When Red Army played tours in North America they were stacked teams comprised mostly of the Russian National team players. Not surprising they would do well.

    Do you seriously think that they would have beaten the best Canadian teams year in and year out?

    My point in all of this is to give the Russians there due as equals but not to pander to revisionist history.
     
  24. canuck2010

    canuck2010 Registered User

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    One last quick note regarding the U20 World Championships. Canada started sending a national team to that event in 1982. Since then our record is second to none.
     
  25. Pushkin

    Pushkin Registered User

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    You also seem to forget that 99,9% of all those matches with Canadian Nat.Teams and Clubs were played in Canada...

    And also if the referees would call the games like today the Soviets with the skill they had then would have been invincible yes.

    They had the skill when the referees didn't reward it and they played 99,9% of games on foreign soil on smaller ice back then... Don't forget that also.
     

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