32 years since Canada Cup '87

Rating:
5/5,
  1. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    As of August 28th (which it nearly is now in Japan), it's been 32 years since Canada Cup 1987. What a great tournament and some great memories.

    I was a kid of 11 then, and Rendezvous '87 and this tournament were my first exposure to international hockey.

    I thought it'd be fun to re-view the final series between Canada and the Soviet Union, as it's remembered as one of the highlights of hockey history. Tonight, I'm re-watching game one. I haven't seen the game, in full, since 1987, so it's been a while... It's interesting to say the least.


    Some observations about game one:

    -- Canada plays pretty well in the first period (but goes down 1-3), and is mostly terrible in the second (going down 1-4, but they get it to 2-4). By contrast, the Soviets are smart, assured, and poised -- and really take advantage of their chances. But for some bad luck, the Soviets should have been up 5-1 or 6-1 in the second, and we might be remembering this game like the final of Canada Cup '81. USSR wins this game anyway, but they really should have had it done and sealed in three periods.

    -- Canada has two 5-on-3's in the game and fails to score on both. It's also obvious when they get a 4-on-3 that most players on the ice have forgotten there are only four skaters. PP looks totally out of sync, while the Soviets' is smokin'.

    -- Mike Keenan's philosophy in the second, with Canada down 1-4, seems to be: "Play dirty". Hartsburg does a brutal cross-check from behind on Krutov, which Koharski misses, sending him to the dressing room. Rick Tocchet comes on in the second for his first shift of the game, and immediately drives a Soviet defender into Mylnikov, who was probably lucky not to be injured (Tocchet goes to the box). Even Mario gets into it, throwing a big check at Fetisov, who wasn't happy about it (Fetisov, unusually, makes a couple of brutal giveaways in this game). Makarov is classy early in the third as Larionov (who was otherwise invisible) skates in on Fuhr and makes a great move and shot that Fuhr stops, and Makarov kinds of accidentally runs into Fuhr, who's down. Makarov visibly apologizes to Fuhr after the play. I think even Keenan kind of realized, as this game went on, that playing dirty wasn't going to work.

    -- Krutov looks really good in this game. Some great defensive plays, just superb puck control (a nice goal on a rebound), and overall poise and speed combined.

    -- Mylnikov took some heat around this time, but he sure looked good in the first and second period. After that early goal by Gartner (which he should have had), he shuts the door for two periods, including a bunch of Canada power plays... except for the late-second goal by Bourque, which bounced a Soviet D-man's skate and in. In the middle of the second, Gretzky hits Mario at the side of the goal, 15 feet out, for a one-timer that looks like a sure goal, and Mylnikov makes a heck of a save.

    -- My memory is of Grant Fuhr being kind of mediocre in this tournament. The Kamensky goal early in the second is brutal, just a total whiff by Fuhr, but I don't think I could blame him on any of the first three. As was his custom, however, Fuhr gets a lot better as the game goes on.

    -- One of the lesser-celebrated Canadians, Norman Rochefort, looked really good in game one. Throws some hits, makes some good offensive and defensive plays.

    -- Alexei Gusarov, who went on to play for Quebec/Colorado, is very Alpha male-ish at times. He roughs up Gretzky a lot in the first, and knocks down Messier in the third.

    -- Doug Gilmour doesn't get a lot of ice-time, but he starts getting a regular shift in the third, scores, and then looks really good after that. Tocchet doesn't get a lot of ice-time either (his knee was bothering him). Brian Propp only gets about one shift per period, but it must be said he doesn't look very good in this game. James Patrick was playing forward in game one, though he doesn't play much.

    -- Mike Gartner looks good in this game, esp. in the first and second periods. We often talk of him as a lower-end Hall of Famer, but it's good to be reminded that he looked first among equals in game one among some heavyweight peers.

    -- Gretzky and Lemieux play good-ish, but not great. Keenan seems determined to play Wayne with every possible forward on Team Canada in the first period, and I really think this isn't helping him as Wayne seems a bit out of sorts. In the first period, you can Gretzky (who's already double-shifted the first two shifts of the game!) skating really hard, really fired up. He even looks really committed defensively. But on the PP and on the rush he seems to makes passes and plays that don't really connect as much as usual, and no wonder as he has about 15 line-mates in the first period (including, if you can believe it, James Patrick). Mario has a few chances and throws that big check, but I notice he seems to be standing still a lot when he receives passes. You'd like to have seen him carrying the puck a lot more, but he seems to let his teammates do a lot of the carrying. He also passes off a bit too much around the net. (Anybody ever clock Gretzky in this game? Geez, he has a lot of ice-time. You can see him gassed, at the bench, with 10 minutes left in the third... and then he goes out and plays about another 1.5 minutes on a PP!) Gretzky makes an amazing pass to Goulet with 5 minutes left and the game tied, but a nice save. Then Wayne gets the big goal with three minutes left to put Canada in front, and it looks like he'll be the hero... but then on the very next shift Khomutov's centering pass goes off Wayne's stick and into the net to send it to overtime.

    -- Mario nearly wins it with two minutes left, making a great shot to the far side that Mylnikov surprisingly stops.

    -- The winning goal in OT by Semak is a great shot, though maybe Fuhr could have had it. Team Canada appears in good position defensively, but it was just a super-fast shot.


    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the very enjoyable game one... a great game, though not quite a classic, I think (it actually gets a bit dull in the second period amid an endless succession of penalties).

    What do you remember of this particular game, or indeed anything from Canada Cup '87?
     
    Sentinel likes this.
  2. tony d

    tony d HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    73,667
    Likes Received:
    3,160
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Office Worker
    Location:
    Behind A Tree
    I was 4 at the time and was before my hockey fandom. Still from what I've read on the tournament and saw on the DVD set that was released it was a good tournament. Lemieux and Gretzky on the same line is always fun.
     
  3. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,517
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Regarding Gartner, I agree that he looked very good in 1987. He always looked good for Canada. I think a big factor is that his game (tremendous speed, decent size, disciplined, not necessarily a catalyst) was easily transferable to a complementary role. Messier was the star of his line but Gartner was a great sidekick along with Anderson. His ability to skate with the Soviets was also very important. I think it's the same reason why guys like Nash or Marleau have been great team Canada players in more recent times.
     
    TheDevilMadeMe likes this.
  4. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Just from (re-)watching game one yesterday, Gretzky and Lemieux are not on the same line very much, if at all. But of course they do appear on the PP together. Seriously, I have no idea who Gretzky's "linemates" were in game one, as he played with seemingly a combination of everybody on the team!
     
  5. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Great post. Yeah, I really notice Gartner's speed in game one. He is flying down that wing. He's not the best puck-handler ever and sometimes he skates himself into a corner, but when he maintains control and gets that shot away, he's deadly.

    I also think that players like Gartner and Anderson, relative to their era, had a skill-set that was great for international hockey. Basically, they were really fast. (Anderson, in fact, gave up NHL duty a couple of times in preference of international play.)

    Ray Bourque is so-so in game one. The announcer makes the comment that Bourque has been amazing so far in the tournament, but on evidence in game one he was just okay. He scores the first goal of the comeback (more of a fluky bounce), but otherwise looks sluggish on the Krutov rebound goal and on a couple of other plays. I think he and Coffey in tandem did not work well against the Soviets, and Keenan realizes this as game one goes on because by the end of the game Coffey is partnered with Larry Murphy and that seems to work better. It's not easy, I suppose, for any D-man to partner with Coffey unless you're a stay-at-home type, and Bourque would not have been used to such an offensively-aggressive partner.

    The no-shows for the Soviets are Fetisov (who actually was just downright bad in game one) and Larionov, who seemingly was injured a bit, but nevertheless didn't do much.


    I may get onto watching game two tonight if I have time...
     
    Sentinel likes this.
  6. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2004
    Messages:
    29,482
    Likes Received:
    3,268
    Trophy Points:
    232
    I was 18 at the time and my friends and I hadn't expected Canada to win.

    The Soviets had handed us our hats several times, and even with Gretz, Mario & Bourque, we still were wary.

    We were THRILLED to have won! My generation respected the heck out of the Soviets. Their skating, passing and strategy were humbling.

    The fact that it took OT in both of the last two games re-inforced our respect and signalled the significance of our win.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  7. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    In the warm-up games, USSR beat Canada, I think, 11-4 (Mario scoring all 4 Canada goals). Of course, at that stage it's still a diverse bunch of players just thrown together and with no team chemistry yet. Gretzky was early in the stages of dating his future wife, Janet, in this tournament, and he said that he told her, before the Soviet warm-up match, that Canada was going to lose about 10-0. Then, they lost 11-4. She said something like, "How did you know?" It was tough work to assemble a bunch of players who never play together into a unified team in a few weeks.
     
  8. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,023
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    101
    To this day, I consider game 2 perhaps the greatest game I've ever seen.
     
  9. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,517
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Bourque never impressed me very much internationally. I think that Coffey has a much better international record, regardless of who made the all star team in 1987. Bourque reminds me of Robinson, Lidstrom, and Pronger in that his play in international competition looked like a lite-version of his NHL play.
     
  10. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    389
    Trophy Points:
    49
    Location:
    The Maritimes
    Before commenting on the great hockey played in the tournament...

    Team Canada was missing 4 defensemen - Larry Robinson, Paul Reinhart, Doug Wilson, Kevin Lowe - mostly due to injuries. All were Canada Cup vets. So, the D might have looked very different if everyone was available.

    Scott Stevens and Dave Poulin were the last 2 cuts from Team Canada. Stevens was very unhappy about being the final cut again (as he was in '84), and said he might play for the US in the future.

    During the summer of '87, leading up to the Canada Cup, Gretzky was a big story because he indicated he wasn't going to play in the tournament, due to fatigue, and he complained that the same players always have to give their time, etc. I can't remember how long it went on before he committed to playing, but I think it was most of the summer. So, that could've made the tournament very different too.
     
    Thenameless likes this.
  11. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Watching Game Two now...



    -- Okay, the Soviet goal by Khomutov that ties the score at 1-1 (about 2:13 in the video) surely shouldn't have counted right..? Nemchinov bumps Fuhr out of the way, with little pushing prior.

    -- One thing that's noticeably different in game two is that the Canada PP suddenly looks good, whereas it looked disorganized and lacking urgency in game one.

    -- Mark Messier take a really bonehead penalty in period one, leading to a Soviet 4-on-3 PP (and later 5-on-4 with, surprisingly, Mario killing the penalty!). The Soviets score, but Paul Stewart waves it off. I suspect this one should have counted (around 12:45 in the video).

    -- Messier redeems himself with a great defensive play that leads to Canada's possession, which leads to the Gartner-to-Gretzky-to-Coffey goal. That is a masterful play by Wayne to lift the stick and center to Coffey.

    -- Mike Gartner is really flying out there in period one and two (again), and he gets a breakaway (at 19:41). Stopped, however. (Update in overtime: Gartner really impresses me in this game, as in game one.)

    -- Fetisov looks a lot better here in game two than he did in game one. He scores on the PP (21:45). Then, the Krutov shorthanded goal (26:02), which is another bad one on Fuhr. Gotta stop that.

    -- Gretzky is really "on" in this game, to state the obvious. He sets up Mario on the two-on-one to make it 3-3, his third point. But he has a remarkable shift near the end of the second period, from around 32:46 to 34:12. First, he chases down Sergei Makarov from behind, and hounds him until Makarov loses the puck. He then breaks up the Soviet rush in the defensive end (no-look pass by Krutov) and goes full steam down the ice, making a move at the blue-line but Makarov strips him this time. Seconds later, he goes down the ice with Mario and Michel Goulet and makes one of his patented passes to spring Goulet in all alone, but Belosheikin somehow stops him. Then, with about 5 seconds left in the period, Wayne digs in to strip Krutov (I think) and sets up Gilmour for a scoring chance with about 2 seconds on the clock.

    -- Early in the third, Brian Propp is out with Gretzky for what I believe is only Propp's second shift of the game (he helped kill a penalty in the first). In this shift, however, Bykov scores on the backhand. Another one Fuhr maybe should have had. (I later notice, however, that Propp gets a regular shift in overtime and plays quite a bit.)

    -- Soviets just couldn't contain big Mario down low. His second goal, on the power-play is just size plus hands.

    -- Dale Hawerchuk gets a fair amount of ice-time in game two (usually with Anderson on right wing) but I don't feel like he gets much done. A lot of hustle with few results. By contrast, I thought both Brent Sutter and Doug Gilmour (on what is sort-of the "fourth line") looked really good when they had ice-time, but they both had noticeably less than Hawerchuk.

    -- Typical of what is a great night for him, Gretzky makes a fine defensive play at about 45:28, which then leads to an epic Mario Lemieux vs. Fetisov showdown in open ice. Fetisov ends up falling in the corner, and Mario makes a nice play to Propp, who gets a free shot but fails to score. There is actually another Gretzy & Lemieux 2-on-1 with five minutes to play (at 48:24), but they're under a lot of pressure and in tight. Wayne makes a great pass and Mario one-times it, but it seems to go over the net. Presumably that would have clinched this one, but...

    -- The Kamensky goal that ties it late in the third (at 54:36) is indeed a "brilliant" goal, as Dan Kelly calls it. He blows by Mario -- okay, no biggie, there are still two D-men back -- but Crossman and esp. Rochefort let him through. Anyway, that looked bad, defensively, after what had been a pretty good period in their own end by Canada. (I have to say, Crossman at times looks a bit in over his head in this final series. I know he was "Keenan's guy", but I'd rather have had Scott Stevens back there!)

    -- early in overtime, Priakin gets away with a pretty obvious high-stick on Michel Goulet that everyone in the building, except Paul Stewart, saw.

    -- Krutov has an incredible chance to win it (at 1.09:39), and indeed to end the tournament, which is partly the result of Gretzky's bad line change. You can see Wayne is gassed seconds earlier, has a chance to go off but elects to follow the puck into the offensive zone, and then is so tired he goes to the bench as the Larianov and Krutov move up ice. That said, James Patrick looks brutal on the defensive end here, and Fuhr comes up big.

    -- Mario has a great rush from left wing in the second overtime, and he looks unstoppable as he pushes past Gusarov to throw a backhander on goal. This is what I wanted to see Mario do more -- carry the puck through the neutral zone! But in games one and two, we rarely see him carrying the puck through the middle of the ice. (Not that it mattered as he scored a hat-trick anyway!)

    -- Finally, the game ends on the classic Mario third goal. Brian Propp did a risky play here, but it paid off as he grabbed the loose puck at the goal line and just blindly back-handed it in reverse to the point. But indeed Larry Murphy (the most under-rated player in this series, btw) is there, and he smells his chance by quickly throwing it to a wide-open Gretzky, who hits the post. Wayne actually was trying to score on his own rebound but he misfired and pushed it across to Mario and bingo!


    I'm happy to report that the intervening 32 years since I watched this game have not dulled it at all. This is a classic -- maybe THE classic hockey game. It's at a faster pace than game one, and there aren't a lot of whistle or stoppages. It's also quite cleanly played, with incredible speed and skill on display. It's just superb.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
    shills likes this.
  12. popo

    popo Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    390
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Funny, I just also watched Game 1 over the past couple nights.

    Observations:
    Canada
    -Doug Crossman was surprisingly steady and moved the puck great. For a d-man that didn't last much longer in the NHL after this.
    -Bourque - I thought he looked silky smooth, agile, and moves the puck around superiorly. Clearly the best defenseman in the tournament.
    -Coffey - Soviets respect his speed and don't try to forecheck him; backing way off. Unique player, and I'd take him over anyone not named Bourque.
    -Hawerchuk - agree. He doesn't appear in the same tier as Gretzky/Messier/Lemiuex. Merely a good player at this point who doesn't generate much.
    -Messier is fast and driving the play every time he is on the ice. After Gretzky he is the guy for Canada.
    -Gretzky - the best player on the ice, always setting up dangerous chances.
    -Lemiuex - a special player also able to generate scoring changes each time he is on the ice. A bit sheltered role, PP and third line ice time.

    Soviets:
    No one stands out too much for them except Makarov. He is clearly their best player, dangerous and always has the puck on his stick; shifty and fast.
    I expected more of Krutov (who is named tournament all star) but he was merely good, and meshed well with his linemates.
    Fetisov was off and on. One game viewing would by no means lead someone to the conclusion of "best dman in the world" rating. I think he was a bit turned off by constantly getting run at by the Canadians. Soviets took a beating all game.
     
  13. JianYang

    JianYang Registered User

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2017
    Messages:
    4,442
    Likes Received:
    2,238
    Trophy Points:
    101
    I wonder if Mike Keenan changed his coaching mind games at all during this tournament.

    I mean, here's a star studded roster that you probably have to handle a bit differently than the average player.

    I recall hearing a story where Keenan took something away from the team, and messier basically overruled him and got the stuff back.

    I wonder if there are any other Keenan stories during that series.
     
  14. Staniowski

    Staniowski Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    389
    Trophy Points:
    49
    Location:
    The Maritimes
    I remember Gretzky saying, too, that this was among the first hockey games that Janet ever watched, and she talked about how exciting the games against the Soviets were, so Gretzky had to break the news to her that these games weren't the typical hockey games and she might never see hockey this exciting ever again.
     
  15. shills

    shills Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    27
    Trophy Points:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Pool Boy
    Location:
    Pittsburgh

    Watching the 1987 Canada Cup will always one of my greatest hockey memories.
    That's why Mario and Wayne are my avatar. :D

    I was 16 and like you said, this and Rendezvous '87 were my first real exposure to international hockey. I was blown away by my hockey hero, Mario Lemieux, playing on a line with The Great One and simply just to see all these stars who were on my hockey cards playing together on the same sheet of ice was so captivating.

    And to watch Mario come out of that experience and grow even more as a player was awesome. I remember thinking, "I wish he had someone like Paul Coffey to play with on the Penguins" and little did I know that he would be traded to Pittsburgh a few months later.

    Then there's the Soviet team, which I had heard so much about, but never really seen outside of the Olympics. I was in awe of them and their abilities on the ice.

    The beauty, grace, fire, skill, that all of those teams played with made me love hockey even more than I already did.

    I'll never forget that final goal in Game 3. I can watch that clip on a loop all day.

    Late August always makes me think about that tournament. I will pop in those DVDs in this weekend and enjoy it all over again.
     
    The Panther likes this.
  16. Gambitman

    Gambitman Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2019
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    I was a kid and like others had mentioned was kind of my first time watching a meaningful international game. It was such great hockey.

    My funny story from the 87 Canada Cup is I missed the OT goal from Game 2 in a way most Millennials will never understand. So my parents, aunt, and siblings are all gathered around the TV watching and we lived out west so it was past our bed time but no one had said anything about going to bed so us kids weren’t saying anything. Anyways we had an old junky TV (no remote) and our antenna was broken so we always put an metal coat hanger inside the broken off part and we got a good signal. Well Gretzky takes the first jab at puck and for some inexplicable reason our coat hanger fell out. We all rush the TV at the same time but by the time we got it back in it was over. Lol. We were still happy of course but talk about bad timing.
     
  17. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,517
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Keenan's line juggling was so strange. Famously he only really put Gretzky and Lemieux together at the end when he really needed it, but I know that in at least one pre-tournament game they played together for a whole game (mostly with Wendel Clark) so it isn't as if he was against it all along.
     
  18. DannyGallivan

    DannyGallivan Your world frightens and confuses me

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2017
    Messages:
    3,709
    Likes Received:
    2,797
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Melonville
    Hawerchuk... you mean the Player of the Game in game three?

    He was turned into a grinder against the Russians because we needed somebody to do it, and he was the spark that allowed us to come back in game three. Can't wait until you watch that one again.
     
  19. ChrisK97

    ChrisK97 Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2016
    Messages:
    10,745
    Likes Received:
    2,376
    Trophy Points:
    151
    One interesting forgotten note about this 87 tourney is that Canada had a surprising struggle with the Czechs in the semifinal.

    They actually trailed 2-0 midway through the 2nd before they woke up.
     
  20. Salmonsnake

    Salmonsnake Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2016
    Messages:
    3,815
    Likes Received:
    894
    Trophy Points:
    94
    I think Soviets would have won If they had called the hookings and holding.
     
    Khomutov likes this.
  21. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I haven't got around to (re-) watching game three of the Final yet. Maybe tonight!! (Taking care of my 1-year-old today... exhausted...)
     
  22. Spirit of 67

    Spirit of 67 Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2016
    Messages:
    5,974
    Likes Received:
    3,665
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Toronto, On.
    Lemieux and Gretzky together in their primes.
    What a special treat.
    The finals was the best hockey playoff series I've ever seen.
    (not old enough for '72)

    Sadly, I almost had tickets for the final game but waited too late. A buddy came over in the afternoon and said one of his buddies told him he got tickets for game 2 the day of the game.
    They sold out game 3 the morning of.
     
  23. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Messages:
    9,909
    Likes Received:
    3,414
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I finally have gotten around to watching Game 3.



    -- The early goal by Makarov is a bit weird in that Gretzky throws the puck behind the net -- I think he whiffs on his backhand a bit -- and no Canadian player is there, so Krutov takes it and hits Makarov. I'm not sure if it's merely a bad play by Wayne, or if Team Canada was strangely out of position. (It's also odd that Messier, Lemieux, and Gretzky were all on the ice together to start, isn't it?)

    -- With Canada down a goal, Keenan has a line of Sutter, Gilmour, and Mario Lemieux... briefly. Then, about five minutes into the first period, he sends out Gretzky, Lemieux, and Hawerchuk together for the first time.

    -- Soviets maybe a little fortunate on the second goal, by Gusarov. They'd just killed a penalty where Canada had lots of scoring chances and probably should have bagged one, and at the end they get a partial two-on-one and Gusarov beats Fuhr. I mean, Fuhr's got to stop that shot...

    -- Fetisov makes it 3-0 on an incredible play by Makarov. (Murphy was fantastic in this series, but he looks bad here as he seems to stand completely still, waiting for the forward, Gartner, to check Fetisov).

    -- Bit surprised that Keenan has Tocchet out on the first-unit PP (the big guys had drawn the penalty and were gassed). But it worked, as he scored... (LATER: I'm really impressed by Tocchet in this game, and it was a good idea by Keenan to later put him out with Wayne and Mario, as he supplies the grit.)

    -- Hawerchuk has a lot of zip in the first period and you can see he's going to have a good night.

    -- Canada actually looks really good in the 1st (at least offensively), but everything goes wrong. With one minute left in the period, at the conclusion of another PP, Bourque passes to Gretzky who hits the post. Seconds later, Bourque blows a tire (he was slightly hooked, as well) and Khomutov scores on a gimme. Nearly tied, but instead 4-2 Soviets after one. (By the way, after scoring, Khomutov gets destroyed by a Canadian forward, but I cannot make out who it is... I don't think it's Messier... Anyone? No penalty, weirdly.)

    -- 2nd period: Mario is now on a line with Sutter and Goulet. Coffey is paired with Hartsburg, his (so far) third defence partner of the game.

    -- Mike Gartner with a surpringly dirty play in almost taking out Makarov's knee in an open-ice mini-collision. Then, Gusarov does the same to Hawerchuk minutes later.

    -- Craig Hartsburg looks good in this game. I barely remember seeing him play, so it's good to see him here, just before he was nearly done. I was just thinking that Brent Sutter looks too slow out there to pace with the Soviets when he suddenly scored and then was in on the Hawerchuk goal. Redeemed himself!

    -- Both Mario and Ray Bourque take really bad penalties in the 2nd (two by Bourque!), which Canada was fortunate didn't cost them at a key moment. I don't know what they were thinking on these ones. Lemieux, however, does draw at least two penalties because the Soviet's D (like every other defender in history) just cannot handle him down low.

    -- I'm again surprised that Doug Gilmour doesn't get more ice-time, because I think he's earned it by now. He's out there to kill penalties a bit, but doesn't even seem to get a regular shift. Looks good every time he's on the ice, but barely plays.

    -- Wayne is having quite a third period, after a sleepy 1st and 2nd. He has an amazing shift early in the 3rd, in which his steal leads to a couple of chances, including sending Coffey in alone (Mylnikov comes up big). Then, next shift, he nearly scores on a back-hand, facing a wide-open net, but shoots wide (or does Mylnikov get a glove on it? at 1:23:36 in slow motion).

    -- Paul Coffey, when the play was slowing down defensively, had the bad habit of falling into unnecessary man-to-man defence, which is why the Soviets' 5th (and last) goal was scored. Coffey just can't stop chasing his man around the net and into the corner, leaving one defenceman to guard the net. Good goal by Semak, though (who had a one-off 37-goal season for the New Jersey Devils six years later).

    -- Fetisov and Larionov, again, with not-very-good nights (as in game one). Fetisov, for example, has a brutal giveaway to Gartner with about two minutes left, which nearly results in Glenn Anderson scoring the series winner. Krutov has his moments, for sure, but Sergei Makarov is easily the best Soviet player in this Final series, I think.

    -- The series-winning goal is such a strange one. Keenan famously decides to send out Hawerchuk for the draw. Thanks to a deft play on the boards by Mario, Gretzky is off to the races and Larry Murphy, a defenceman, is ahead of the play and seeming to be the recipient of Wayne's pass. Wayne drops to Mario who scores (though Mario himself could also have passed to Murphy, who was wide open with nobody in sight at the side of the goal), but it is clear that Hawerchuk interfered with the Soviet player who had a bead on Mario as the big guy was hitting the blue line. Does Lemieux still get that clean of a shot away without the interference? Not sure. (Philosophically, we might say that since Bourque was slightly interfered with in the first, leading to an easy goal for the Soviets, this interference makes it all even... but really it was just a missed call by Koharski.) Then, the strange sight of Tikhonov ripping his defence after the goal was scored.

    It's a great moment in Canadian hockey history... but slightly spoiled by the clips of that P.O.S. Alan Eagleson on the bench, clapping and hugging players. Turns my stomach. Bobby Orr was probably watching this game at home and thinking, "Gee, I wish I could afford a bigger TV here in my little house."

    -- Lost in the hubbub over the grinders and Hawerchuk's and Mario's heroics in this game is the fact that Larry Murphy had 1 goal and 2 assists, and was also instrumental in the series-winning goal, the 4th that he was on the ice for this night. Murphy was by some distance Canada's best defenceman in this final series, and I would go as far as to say he was the third best player on Team Canada in the three games, after the obvious two. This confirms my suspicion that Murphy, who easily outperforms Bourque and Coffey in this series, is one of the most under-rated players in post-expansion hockey... but I digress.

    *******

    Looking at the three games in total, Game 2 is certainly the best. Game 1 is a near-classic, the Soviets are slightly better than Canada, and it's a thriller... but there are way too many penalties that slow the game down. Game 3 sees Canada clearly the better team, despite the Soviets scoring on almost every shot taken in the first period... but there is a bit too much illegal play and cheap-shotting, as well as (suddenly!) a lot of diving on both sides. It becomes more like an NHL game, which might be the thing that favored Team Canada. But anyway, Game 2 is the 14-karat classic. If you're going to show someone an example of hockey at its finest in this era, this is the game to show. The sport gets elevated to something like high art, as it's very intensely but very cleanly played, with two amazing teams going at it. Gretzky has one of the greatest games of his career, and Mario the hat-trick. Fetisov and Larionov are great in this one, too, which they aren't in games one and three.

    So, those were my thoughts on these three games in particular.
     
    shills likes this.
  24. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    8,912
    Likes Received:
    1,138
    Trophy Points:
    109
    Very nice thread idea and well done. Thanks!
     
  25. jj cale

    jj cale Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    7,297
    Likes Received:
    2,220
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Apparently it was Wally that convinced him to play that year, telling him the whole country demanded/expected he play and hung their hopes on him and that his only choice was to play and play well.Wayne said it was some of the best advice he ever received from him and that sure is saying something.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"