1974 Canada/Soviet Summit
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10-01-2013, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Originally Posted by
Ya Im not going to try & defend Bobby Clarke, that was a despicable thing to do, absolutely HOWEVER it was not outside the norm of the serious Junior through Pro ranks of that era, previously through the history of the game itself, part of the culture of the game in Canada when you were coming up. You did "win at all costs" & that absolutely included deliberately targeting the oppositions best players by running your mouth at them, with the body, putting them right through the boards if possible.
Clarke was an elite player who made room for himself with his stick which he wielded like a scalpel or a baseball bat as the circumstances dictated. Beyond potty mouth to boot. Total Guttersnipe. Language that would peel paint. Got in peoples heads. Very effective. Malicious, viscous little Woody Woodpecker. Absolutely. A product of the time & era, the prevailing environment & attitudes. Pro's & up & comer Junior, indeed the entire hockey establishment had no time for the utopian philosophies of a Lloyd Percival, Carl Brewer, Father David Bauer or a Billy Harris. You went out there to WIN and usually borderline controlled Mayhem was the name of the game if you found yourself overwhelmed. The Code strictly enforced if & when any player took it to far or cheap shotted someone.
Two handers behind the play, an Eddie Shack type jumping on a players back or knocking him silly, elbows up in front of the net or corners was all part n' parcel of the game & if you didnt like it get off the ice. This wasnt "shinny". Hockey was & still is to some extent a Blood Sport. You tacitly accepted that when you moved on from amateur. That ya, there were guys out there who were psycho & wouldnt think twice about taking you right out of the game given a chance. The Russians didnt play like that, understand it, but tell ya what? They learned real fast. I rember watching the 72 Summit and being disgusted with Canada to the point that after about Game 3 I stopped watching, only returning to watch the final 2 games. Out of shape discombobulated Canucksters Gooning it up because they were getting beat to the puck, losing control, resorting to the lowest common denominator.
At the time and in retrospect I felt it wouldve served the game far better had Canada simply iced the Montreal Canadiens under Pollock with some additions & deletions to their existing line-up. Though Sinden had had international experience, never felt he was the right choice, much less employing the services of John Ferguson. You kidding me? You wanna stage a "friendly" with that guy & Sinden behind the bench, influencing player selection, strategies & tactics? Dont think so. At the NHL level, minor-pro or Junior sure, great guys. Brilliant. But not on the international stage. No Siree Bob... all that being said, what happened happened.
I just dont think its right to continue to crucify Clarke or a guy like Rick Ley, nor any of the Soviet players who committed fouls in the heat of the moment some 40yrs ago...
. was the first real meeting between the then reigning hockey super powers and Russia had to earn its stripes. They did so magnificently, and the game is better for it. In fact, never mind the final score, in so many respects they were the actual winners of the 72 Summit.
1. 'Heat of the moment'? Unlike the other dirty plays, reactions and tactics employed by both sides in the series (i.e. Mikhailov kick, etc.), Clarke's slash was a premeditated attack, ordered from the bench, with the sole intent of removing Soviets best player.
2. Canadians would no doubt view such an act differently if roles were reversed.
Had Ragulin (on premeditated orders from Bobrov) intentionally and blatantly taken out Esposito, no amount of alcohol could make me believe the Canadian reaction would be
"despicable play, but that's hockey, win at all costs, if you don't like it get off the ice."
Not in a million years.
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