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12-08-2009, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hedberg View Post
Comparing eras and leagues is one of the hardest parts of the ATD. The Soviet hockey program managed to reach elite NHL levels by 1972, so by the mid 1960's they were probably producing at least some players who would have been very good at the NHL level. Canada won three bronze medals during the Alexandrov/Almetov/Loktev line's success. Almetov played Canada 19 times, losing only four times, three of them in 1960 (the other was a 1967 exhibition game.)
I'm not convinced that Soviet hockey ever reached the level of the NHL, and they sure weren't equal in the early 60s.

In 1972, when the Soviets "proved" they were Canada's equal, they did so with many advantages that helped their performances. First, Canada did not have their best players - Bobby Orr was, by far, the best player in the world, and Bobby Hull was still a top-5 player in the world.

In that series, as well as all further international games, the Soviet teams benefited from having a true team. While they did add some non-CSKA players, the majority of the Soviet National teams were very familair with each other, and many had strong chemistry. Even the best Canadian teams they played were a mish-mash of the top Canadian players who played together for a few weeks.

The fact that they lost the Summit Series shows they were not on the same level.

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