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09-17-2012, 04:26 AM
  #137
Thrace
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Some notions (I haven't watched the games now, though):

- Is it just me or does Krutov make Bourque look really poor in game 2, beating him constantly 1-on-1?
- Where's Larionov?
- Fetisov makes mistakes in the final game, but all in all, he is one of the best players IMO
- Bykov (1+3 in the finals, I think?) and Khomutov (3+2) never get enough credit; as far as I'm concerned, they were at least as good as their linemate Kamensky
- Makarov is playing really well here, but overall, I think his decline had started a bit; for example, a few months later in the 1988 Winter Olympics, Tikhonov had to bench him occasionally
I just finished watching the games (they're all on YouTube, if that's not been mentioned yet). Absolutely incredible hockey, and so much more entertaining than most of today's NHL games. Of course, you'd hope for that from an all-star international series between two great rivals, but as has been said in this thread it's just great to see teams playing with an offence-first mentality.

Some added thoughts:

Where's Larionov indeed? I you were going to predict which of the Soviets would be most likely to have NHL success based on this series he would be nowhere near the top of the list. I can't find any reference to him playing injured, so I'd guess it's something to do with having to go up against Gilmour and/or Gretzky every shift. His lack of footspeed and size don't help either. It's a shame, because his linemates do pretty well without him but I'd expected more extended periods of KLM dominance in the series.

I'd agree that Fetisov plays just fine though. When you're up against that Canadian forecheck you're going to turn the puck over sometimes, but he generally makes the simple, effective plays while also matching up physically to the bigger Canadian forwards.

And the Soviets' second line is incredible. I'd forgotten how explosive Kamensky could be; the goal in game two where he blows by two Canadian defencemen is a real beauty. Khomutov is the real star of the show for me though. I really didn't know much about him when I started watching the games, but did he ever blow me away. Such a beautiful combination of the traditionally Soviet style of playing as a cog in a unit combined with the ability to put on individual shows of absolute brilliance. Love his minimalism too, he never overdekes or tries to put on too much of a show, only turning on the flash when it's absolutely necessary.

Speaking of that line, I only now realised that the Nordiques / Avalanche could almost have had a Russian five of their own if Bykov and Khomutov had opted for NHL careers as Kamensky and Gusarov did. What a dimension that could have added to the Wings - Avs rivalry.

Regarding the reffing, I don't see any bias. In fact throughout the first game I'm surprised at how many penalties are called against Canada. I'd also argue that the Canadians win the special teams battle: they seem to get a real jump after every penalty killed or goal scored with the man advantage.

Finally, an oddity: what about James Patrick starting game one on the Gretzky line. I think Keenan outcoaches Tikhonov throughout, but is that ever a head scratcher, dressing a 7th dman to play with your best forward while leaving guys like Steve Yzerman at home.

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