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09-28-2012, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Kanadensisk View Post
I know that the Soviet National team players also played for the 2 or 3 club teams based in Moscow but for all intents and purposes I would say the USSR had a full time national team program, or at least the closest thing possible to one. I would love an honest assessment from some of the USSR hockey experts here of how they think the teams listed above would have compared if Canada had a similar national team program.

My opinion is that the Soviet teams listed above were some of the best teams ever, but that it was mostly due to the amount of team preparation time and tournament experience they had compared to other countries and that probably made the individual Soviet players look much better than they actually were. For example despite having a great mens national team in '87/88 and great U20 teams in '89 and '92 the number of former Soviets who did well as individuals in the early '90s NHL was relatively small.

I think if all the hockey nations had put the same emphasis on their national teams as the USSR did then we would remember these teams very differently.

Obviously a big part of the Soviets' success was the 'system' - who's denying that??? Personally, I have no problems saying that the best teams ever ON PAPER were Canadian, e.g. the 1976 Canada Cup team

But the argument "if Canada had a similar national team program" is so hypothetical that I feel no great urge to ponder about that.

In the early 1990s, the Green Unit players were either (over) 30 or just under. Certainly not an ideal age to make an NHL debut. Bykov and Khomutov (both near 30) decided to stay in Europe. But the best youngsters like Bure, Mogilny and especially Fedorov did pretty well in the NHL, don't you think?

Last edited by VMBM: 09-28-2012 at 02:33 AM.
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