Valeri Kharlamov vs. Sergei Makarov

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by VMBM, Oct 2, 2013.

View Users: View Users
  1. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    The time might be right. I've seen Makarov's stock rise during the past few years (due to more videos being available nowadays?), and there seems to be more and more talk of late along the lines of "Kharlamov is overrated".

    I'm pretty sure that in Russia, this poll would be a no contest - at least among the older crowd; Kharlamov's legend is so strong. I'd still say that it's not revisionistic to actually debate which one was better. Namely, Kharlamov was an enourmously popular player even during his lifetime and arguably had more charisma than Makarov. His untimely death has also contributed to his legend; it's almost impossible for any other Soviet player to compete against that. He was the first player to really skate circles around Canadian proffs (1972). However, Kharlamov's "clear superiority" over Makarov is really hard to justify from today's point of view in my opinion.

    Some of their accolades etc.:


    It could be said that Kharlamov had more competition (i.e. other star players) both internationally and in the Soviet league, so it was harder for him to dominate, though I think that CSKA and the Soviet national team were actually somewhat stronger as teams in the Eighties. But maybe more significant is that Makarov seemed to distinguish himself from his team-/linemates somewhat (although sometimes Krutov was close), whereas Kharlamov never really did that, as far as statistics are concerned. In the Soviet league, for example, Kharlamov did not do as well as Mikhailov or especially 'the third man on the line', Petrov, stats-wise. I've sometimes wondered, if Kharlamov - as a very important player - was occasionally "saved" for the international tournaments like WCs and Olympics, or was he simply more injury-prone than his linemates? Anyway, it was a slightly similar situation with Anatoli Firsov; often Firsov was clearly the best Soviet player in a WC or Olympics, but never truly dominated the Soviet league in scoring.

    Kharlamov's and Makarov's play in best-on-best situations...
    Makarov played - and played excellently, I might add - in 3 Canada Cups, whereas Kharlamov played in none, as he was badly injured before the 1976 tournament and was 'too old', and actually dead, before the 1981 CC. However, in my mind at least, the 1972 Summit Series makes up for a lot of that. Yep, Makarov faced better Team Canadas (at least on paper) than Kharlamov, but I don't think any of the Canada Cups compare to the heat and the pressure of the 1972 Series. And don't forget, Kharlamov was the player whom the Canadians had to take out to get an advantage. Kharlamov was also clearly the best CSKA player in the 1975-76 Super Series, which arguably remains the most significant (and best-remembered) CSKA vs. NHL series there ever was.

    Kharlamov & Makarov highlights on YouTube (probably not overly helpful though):

    Kharlamov


    Makarov


    Some of their better full games on YouTube:

    Kharlamov:
    1972 Summit Series, game 1
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z34w_w6pHUg

    1972 Summit Series, game 3
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYnveEDunfQ

    1975-76 Super Series, CSKA vs. NY Rangers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzRgC9SeQcM

    1975-76 Super Series, CSKA vs. Boston Bruins
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Txy4u_b8ds


    Makarov:
    1981 Canada Cup final
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQHmdxGYkfQ

    1982 World Championships, medal round, USSR vs. Canada
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXeyMBBKiHc

    1985-86 Super Series, CSKA vs. Montreal Canadiens
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1d3NWl1nN4

    1987 Canada Cup finals, game 3
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aadw7wDcnfc

    I've seen quite a few games of them both, and in my opinion, at his best, Kharlamov was maybe a little bit better than Makarov. On the other hand, I see Makarov as the more consistent performer. That also has something to do with the fact that Kharlamov was simply not the same player after 1976 (car accident that broke his leg). In some post-1976 games, he still looked like the Kharlamov of old, but often too he was a shadow of his former self. His absolute peak (ca 1972-1976) was brilliant, though.

    Summa summarum, IMO peak goes to Kharlamov, career (and prime?) to Makarov. Usually I go with peak, but I think Makarov's edge in career makes up for a lot, so I vote "I can't decide" myself.

    PS. Please notify, if you see something wrong...
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  2. Den

    Den Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,037
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Home Page:
    Makarov is the greatest Russian player for me, possibly challanged by Mikhajlov. Based on their carear credentials. If Kharlamov had a full carear, he would have probably exceeded everybody, Orr, Gretzky included.
     
  3. ehhedler

    ehhedler Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    6,515
    Likes Received:
    1,073
    Trophy Points:
    109
    He was 33 when he died and already on the decline points wise. And it's not like Orr had a "full career" himself.
     
  4. obskyr

    obskyr Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Karelia
    It's hard to compare even prime (pre-1976 accident) Kharlamov to Makarov. Because the stats of that time omit secondary assists. And if you want to see how much that leaves out compare his goal/assist ratio to Makarov's, keep in mind that both players had a similar playmaking role in their lines.

    Makarov also had more scoring chances as a part of the offensive juggernaut that the Larionov 5 was as well as Tikhonov's CSKA that was abusing the draft privilege like no other CSKA before. 1980s Soviet championship was basically a safari for the Army machine, though on the other hand so were the international tournaments.

    Overall, Makarov surely had a much better career, there's no doubt in that. And that's what makes him greater, even though Kharlamov probably was more talented.
     
  5. Den

    Den Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,037
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Home Page:
    Yes, that's true. I should have said, if he hadn't both car crashes... but that's very hypothetical.
     
  6. Den

    Den Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,037
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Home Page:
    Pyaterka on which Kharlamov played is quite comparable to KLM in every component...
     
  7. obskyr

    obskyr Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Karelia
    No, not really. It wasn't even 5 to begin with, they never had a stable pair of d-men. Most importantly they didn't have Fetisov on power plays.
     
  8. ot92s

    ot92s Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    741
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    awesome job with the original post. presenting actual game footage is the only way to go...
     
  9. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    Is this going to be a landslide for Makarov?

    I can't really disagree, though. However, I'd love to hear some well-wrought pro-Kharlamov arguments (maybe with some insights I haven't thought of). One thing I already hinted at is that in almost every season, he seemed to play a few games less than Mikhailov (or Petrov) in the Soviet league, and I haven't been able to figure out why. Kharlamov doesn't say anything about it in his book (1979), for example.

    BTW, even I didn't really see Kharlamov at his peak; in the late '70s, along with Tretiak, he was without a doubt the most legendary player on Team USSR, but was hardly the best player, and that's the Kharlamov I watched as a kid. Thank god for the existing game footage (early/mid-Seventies), though.
     
  10. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    7,977
    Likes Received:
    1,044
    Trophy Points:
    109
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Home Page:
    I can only say that Kharlamov was more artistic and creative than Makarov (although Makarov was no slouch himself in the creativity department) and thus more unique: to Europeans this matters more than stats. In Russia Makarov was always viewed as a part of Tikhonov's machine, and that hurt his legend, especially in comparison to a more "freeflowing" Kharlamov.

    Makarov has a huge advantage in career and stood above his teammates and linemates more than Kharlamov. My vote clearly goes to him.
     
  11. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    31,931
    Likes Received:
    750
    Trophy Points:
    169
    Location:
    Regina, SK
    Canon says Kharlamov. it's hard to see why though.
     
  12. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    47,306
    Likes Received:
    1,281
    Trophy Points:
    169
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Awards:
    It was either VBMB himself or Triffy who posted on this recently on the ATD board. Kharlamov seems to have built a legend by dominating the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, and for catching Canada with its pants down in Game 1 of the 1972 Summit Series. On a regular basis (both domestically and internationally), I think Makarov was more dominant, however. He certainly stood out from contemporary Soviet players much more than Kharlamov, whose accolades domestically and in the World Championships don't really stand out from Mikhailov or Maltsev.
     
  13. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    67,947
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    Trophy Points:
    169
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Office Worker
    Location:
    Behind A Tree
    Give me Kharlamov in a very close battle.
     
  14. Pominville Knows

    Pominville Knows Registered User

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    3,695
    Likes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    72
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Faceplant
    Location:
    Göteborg
    It would have been a great story at his funeral, anyhow.

    Makarov.
     
  15. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Messages:
    26,245
    Likes Received:
    449
    Trophy Points:
    229
    Makarov by a pinch. But you probably can't go wrong either way. I think we get nostalgic even as Canadians when we think of Kharlamov in 1972. He was great, and while the Clarke slash is talked about I don't think the job that Ron Ellis did checking him after Game 1 is talked about much. That was the true reason he was shut down in my opinion.

    As for Makarov, I just can't think of times when the game was on the line that he was shut down. Regardless of which Canada Cup it was, he scored all the time. He never quit. Even in the games against Canada, even in the games Russia lost.

    Makarov just scared me on that ice more than even Kharlamov.
     
  16. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Canada
    This could be the toughest poll I've ever seen in the History section. I can't decide. Kudos VMBM.
     
  17. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    Huh?

    Game 3: a shorthanded goal (and brilliant performance IMO - created numerous scoring chances)
    Game 4: an assist
    Game 5: 2 assists

    And did John Ferguson still have the 1st game in his mind, when he ordered 'the slash'???

    I'll give you that in game 2, he didn't do anything great (also got a 10-minute misconduct - was probably frustrated). Also, in game 4, he was merely 'good', even though he set up Vikulov's goal. In other games, however, he was either the best or one of the best players on the ice and was not shut down...

    Edit:
    Hard to argue against this, though.

    Bad games by Makarov or KLM/Green Unit? Hmm... well, in the 1981 CC semifinal against Czechoslovakia they were pretty invisible and did not score... some important World Championship games (1985)... but it's all just nitpicking really...

    PS. If 'shut down' means that 'x doesn't score a goal', then it could be said that Makarov was shut down in the 1981 Canada Cup final, and in the 2nd game of the 1987 CC finals - but that would be silly, eh?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  18. ozzie

    ozzie Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,200
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    96
    Location:
    Australia
    I didn't see a lot of Kharlamov, so for me I can only pick Makarov.

    But a prime Makarov was a site to behold. Like Gretzky he was one of the best forwards at entering the offensive zone and either doubling back or buying time for his team mates to set-up and enter.

    Makarov could really motor around before he entered the NHL. Once he got to the NHL for the most part he was a shell of his former self. But he still had the hockey smarts to be a good player.
     
  19. obskyr

    obskyr Registered User

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Karelia
    It's hard to say about 70-76. And he did stand out as a player, both Maltsev and Mikhailov admit that. Tarasov who worked with several generations of hockey players had never seen anyone comparable to him in terms of skills either.
     
  20. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    This is true; he could do things that neither Maltsev nor especially Mikhailov could do. And if you count all the international tournaments 1970-76, Kharlamov was probably the best Soviet performer during that time period - even though sometimes a Maltsev, a Mikhailov or someone else got the award. It certainly wasn't just a couple of big tournaments, where he shined.

    Tarasov definitely seemed to have had a special kind of relationship with Kharlamov; Kharlamov claims in his book that Tarasov demanded much more from him than from other players, and I have no particular reason to doubt his words, subjective as they may be. I know that Tikhonov - although he only coached the past-his-peak Kharlamov - also regards Kharlamov as one-off player, and I doubt it's just nostalgia.
     
  21. Killion

    Killion Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Messages:
    36,501
    Likes Received:
    2,668
    Trophy Points:
    156
    Geez, ya, decisions decisions. This is a tough one. Really tough. Saw them both but Id give
    the edge & just barely to Makarov. Both of em' brilliant, naturals. Just about neck & neck.
     
  22. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2003
    Messages:
    26,245
    Likes Received:
    449
    Trophy Points:
    229
    I'll clarify what I personally meant by "shut down". He was brilliant in Game 1, two goals and an assist right? Flying all over the ice. Walked around Stanley Cup champ Don Awrey like he wasn't even there. We respected him, as fans, and the ovation he got prior to Game 2 shows this.

    He had 7 points in total in that tournament, so 5 points after Game 1 - and just one goal. 4 assists still, but they contained him, so to speak and Ellis should always get credit for this. You are never going to shut down a player like him to the point where he is pointless, but I'd call 5 points the rest of the series for a player of his calibre at the very least "being checked well."
     
  23. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    Okay, now I understand you better.

    BTW, maybe it's just me, but I consider Kharlamov's performance in game 3 to be somewhat better than in game 1, because unlike the first game, Team Canada knew what they were up against and played much better. And Kharlamov was dazzling :nod:

    Maybe this thread/poll should be put out of its misery? Didn't expect it to be so lopsided. Kharlamov vs. Mikhailov, anyone?
     
  24. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Messages:
    47,306
    Likes Received:
    1,281
    Trophy Points:
    169
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Awards:
    I honestly expected it to be lopsided in the other direction, despite voting Makarov myself
     
  25. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,940
    Likes Received:
    115
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Helsinki, FInland
    As I said in the original post, there's been a clear change over the years; I've seen people favouring Makarov over Bossy etc. But yep, I really didn't realize it was this big.

    Still, I've got no problems with it. When I started to aquire/watch old games a few years back, I had to say to myself "hey, Makarov is basically just as good as Kharlamov", and then when I started to compare their accolades and stats, well...

    In Finland, many 60s/70s players - Veli-Pekka Ketola among them - prefer Anatoli Firsov over Kharlamov... and they played against them both. Then again, there is e.g. Matti "Mölli" Keinonen, who has called Kharlamov the greatest player ever. I guess, being an 'individualist' himself, he appreciated Kharlamov's uniqueness.
     

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"