Twenty years of Soviet Hockey: 1962 - 1982
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10-25-2008, 12:08 PM
I voted for Kodos
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: West Egg, New York
Born June 10th, 1944 in Moscow, USSR.
Club team: CSKA
Soviet League top-5 scoring finishes:
2nd (69-70), 2nd (74-75), 2nd (77-78), 3rd (70-71), 3rd (78-79), 4th (68-69), 4th (76-77), 5th (67-68), 5th (72-73), 5th (79-80)
Soviet League MVP voting finishes:
1st (77-78), 1st (78-79), 2nd (73-74), 3rd (76-77), 3rd (79-80), 4th (72-73), 5th (68-69), 5th (74-75), 11th (75-76)
Soviet League all-star:
(68-69) - (72-73) - (73-74) - (74-75) - (76-77) - (77-78) - (78-79)
IIHF Best Forward:
1973 - 1979
1973 - 1979
World Championships top-5 scoring:
1st (1974), 2nd (1969), 2nd (1973), 2nd (1977), 4th (1978), 5th (1971), 5th (1979)
Olympics top-5 scoring:
1979 Challenge Cup MVP
Excerpt from The Red Machine:
Compared with their rivals, the Russians may have lacked heart - but it wasn't on account of Mikhailov.
On occasion he was even prepared to berate his own players. More than once, though not during the 1972 series, he dressed down Tretiak. "What are you here for?" he scolded. "To let the pucks in?" Tretiak came to respect Mikhailov, however, calling him the "fighter of all fighters."
The Kharlamov-Petrov-Mikhailov line became the 1970s successor to Loktev-Almetov-Alexandrov of the 1960s and Bobrov-Shuvalov-Babich of the 1950s. All three units played for the Central Red Army club, as would be the case with the trio of the 1980s: Krutov-Larionov-Makarov.
Mikhailov was the workaholic
," said Vladimir Yurzinov, who coached the 1970s line for several years. "
He played very tough
. Petrov had the amazing shot. He was strong physically and he could score. And Kharlamov was simply a universal player. He could do all things."
The line often worked a special play when they had a three-on-one or a three-on-two break. Mikhailov was a left-hand shot, but he would come down the right wing. Petrov and Kharlamov would control the puck on the left side, keeping the goalie's attention over there. Then, with the defense beginning to commit, one of them would get it over to Mikhailov who was right against the far corner of the cage. Another set play they and other players used effectively would see a Soviet player rush around a defenseman but, rather than break to the front of the net, he would keep going around behind it. The goalie would start moving across but the skater would fire a back pass to a trailing winger who would one-time the puck past the surprised goalie on the near side.
Mikhailov, who symbolized the evil empire for a lot of Canadians with his style of play, was atypical of the Russian players in his desire to set himself in front of the net, take the hits, get the garbage goals. Kharlamov devoted a lot of time to studying goaltenders' moves and concluded that "it is important that a player does not go into a glide before shooting. The shot should be taken in your natural stride." He also emphasized that the puck should be shot to the corner away from which the player is moving. Mikhailov, he noted, was the expert at doing this. "He always shot the puck in towards the goalie's steadying foot when the goalie was moving sideways. It is impossible for the goalie to stop a puck with this foot."
The good soldier Mikhailov started his career in Moscow and eventually got a place in the Central Army hockey school. Nobody said anything to him for a period of several months, and he got the impression, an accurate one, that he wasn't doing terribly well. Like Kharlamov, he was sent away to the provinces to play in the second division. He played well there, in Saratov, under the coaching skills of Robert Cherenkov, later a coach with the Soviets for the 1976 Canada Cup and, after that, the junior coach who helped develop Mogilny. Then Mikhailov was invited to play for the elite-division Locomotif team in Moscow, where Zimin had started. A stand-out there, he was pursued by Tarasov who convinced him to move back to Central Army.
Mikhailov is what I'd call a good, but not great skater. Here, you see Mikhailov, in the 1976 game between CSKA and Boston, blocking a shot from the point at even strength, and going the other way for a breakaway, which he cannot finish.
Here, you can see Boris in the same game make a very intelligent play to deflect a pass back to the point along the boards, and then blow by Dallas Smith in a race for the loose puck, starting a 3-on-2 break which the line eventually converts into a goal. Note Mikhailov wears jersey #7 here, which he always wore for CSKA. #13 was his jersey number when he played for the Red Army team.
Boris Mikhailov is typically known in North America as a physical net crasher, but he had strong technical skills, and was a good passer with strong hockey sense who understood where other players were around him. Here, we see Mikhailov, in the 1976 CSKA vs. Philadelphia Flyers game, retrieve a puck that has been dumped in, take a look over his shoulder as he's skating towards the end boards with Gary Dornhoefer trailing him, and then turn and fire a 100 foot pass to Valeri Kharlamov at center ice. Kharlamov went in on a partial break, and was taken down by Moose Dupont for a penalty.
Here, we see Mikhailov, in the 1980 game between CSKA and the Buffalo Sabres, move from in front of the net to the boards to grab a loose puck behind the net. He knows that Kharlamov is moving into the slot, and lays a perfect no-look backhand pass on Kharlamov's stick for the shot.
A highlight reel of passes is only going to tell us so much about a player because every dog has his day, but the above are not the kind of plays made by players who do not have strong hockey sense and passing skills.
Mikhailov's All-Around Game:
Skating and hockey sense/passing can maybe be demonstrated by showing a few particular plays, but defensive play is much harder to establish with video evidence. I think the best way to do it is probably to just take a single game, and show what the player was doing over the course of the match. Individual good defensive plays may be made from time-to-time by any player, but seeing the work done over the course of a single game should give us a better understanding of Mikhailov's play. All of the footage below is taken from Game 3 of the 1974 Super Series. Mikhailov wears jersey #13 in this game, as he is representing the Soviet national team in this game:
1) Here, we see a Soviet shot knocked down at the point on the first shift of the game, and Mikhailov skating hard to be the first forward back on the backcheck. He puts himself in position to check J. C. Tremblay and makes a return pass impossible in what had been a 3-on-2 break before Mikhailov got back into the play. The forward is forced to take a weak shot from a bad angle, and the Soviets get the puck back without any real scoring chance for team Canada.
2) Here, we see a typical Mikhailov play on the Soviet powerplay. He controls the pass off his skate, takes it over the blueline, cuts to the middle drawing a couple of defenders to him, passes to the point and goes to the net. Mikhailov was not a primary playmaker and understood his role on the team, but he was very good at making the smart, simple play, when he had an opening.
3) Here, we see Boris make a strong stickcheck on Mark Howe off of a faceoff in the neutral zone, which very nearly springs him for a breakaway, but Howe manages to interfere with Mikhailov just enough to get him to overskate the puck.
4) Here is a pretty good example of Mikhailov forechecking Paul Shmyr.
5) Here is a nice example of Soviet east-west style hockey as Kharlamov and Mikhailov enter the zone (from opposite of their normal sides) on the powerplay. Mikhailov takes the pass and makes a quick forehand to backhand deke that was very typical of him before slipping a pass to the man at the halfboards through the Canadian who is trying to check him. If you watch this clip a little longer, you'll see Yuri Lyapkin make a horrible pass to Vasiliev which is intercepted by Bruce MacGregor, and then demonstrate awful backchecking as the Canadians go the other way and MacGregor scores a shortie. Yeah, Lyapkin was
6) Another typical Mikhailov play. He makes a little lateral move at the blueline as he approaches a wall of Canadians, and plays the puck down into the left corner for Petrov to chase it. Mikhailov very rarely turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and would make the simple play if he thought that was the best way to gain the zone. He actually seems to have been more responsible for the Soviet transition game than either of his linemates from the games I've watched to this point.
7) Mikhailov scoring a quick goal on a rebound, something he did a lot.
8) Mikhailov with good support in the defensive zone here, controls a loose puck in front of the net and skates it up ice. Also a pretty good demonstration of his skating, although you see him fumble the puck at the end when he tries to make a fancy play with it in the Canadian zone.
9) Mikhailov trolling Paul Shmyr again, this time on a 4-on-4. Mikhailov goes for the strip at the point in the defensive zone, doesn't get it, but circles back and steals the puck from Shmyr from behind as he tries to set up a shot
10) Here, we see Mikhailov deep in the offensive zone after a faceoff when the puck is turned over. He puts his head down and skates hard on the backcheck, getting in position to defend the Canadian counterattack, which goes nowhere.
11) Here is a play which kind of sums up everything that Mikhailov brought to those Soviet teams. You have to watch the whole play, from the Canadian end, to the Soviet end, and then back to the Canadian zone, where Petrov scores. Mikhailov forechecks effectively and wins the puck (again from Paul Shmyr), but it looks like he gets his stick lifted as he tries to center. He is the first backchecker among the forwards back in the Soviet zone, and makes a nice, quick pass up ice in the defensive zone to get the play going the other way. He beats a
check from Ralph Backstrom, receives a pass from Vasiliev in the offensive zone, and makes a smart, simple pass over to Petrov, who is skating open at the side of the Canadian net, and scores.
12) Finally, a nice shallow forechecking play by the KPM line forces a turnover just inside of the Canadian blueline. Petrov picks it up, and passes to Mikhailov, who is at a sharp angle to the left of the net, so passes back to Petrov for a good scoring opportunity, which he cannot finish.
Mikhailov is a player who you appreciate more the more you watch him. He was shockingly well-rounded for a Soviet of his era, and did a lot of little things right in all zones of the ice. He was not blessed with the technical skills or blazing speed of Kharlamov, but he had excellent hockey sense and played within himself, worked and grinded constantly, and had good, quick hands, which allowed him to control the puck in tight spaces and pounce on rebounds or deflections when he had the chance. He is a quite modern looking player, which makes him something of an anachronism on those old Soviet teams.
Last edited by Sturminator: 05-03-2013 at
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