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Best/favourite games?

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Old
10-05-2008, 09:36 AM
  #1
VMBM
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Best/favourite games?

Not the most original idea for a thread, I know, but since there hasn't been this discussion for a while (I think?) and since I've just recently had the chance to see most of the classic east vs. west confrontations, I decided to give it a go.

So what are the best games you've ever seen or, if you are a collector, what are the crown jewels of your collection?

Here are some of my favourites, along with "in-depth-analyses" (=hockey nerd writing nonsense) of the games:

1972 Summit series, G8, CAN vs. USSR 6-5

I say this is the only game of the series that truly deserves at least some of the hype surrounding it. No, I'm not talking about Alan Eagleson flippin' the bird, Parise swinging his stick at, er, Worse or Gilbert & Sullivan, sorry Mishakov, doing their wrestling thang; the hockey played here is actually enough. The beginning of the game is almost a total farce, as penalties are being called left and right (yes, even the Soviets get them). But when it finally really gets going, it's great. The 2nd period has to be one of the most intense and exciting periods of hockey ever played: 4 goals and great scoring chances just about every minute. And when have you seen Phil Esposito save a sure goal from the goal-line? In the 3rd period tempo & quality sag considerably (they are two VERY tired teams), but of course it has the drama to make it worthwile. Espo & Park and Shadrin & Yakushev are the stars of the game, I think.

1975-76 Super series, Boston vs. CSKA (aka Red Army) 2-5

Mainly because of the wild - though scoreless - first period. New Year's game may have the glamour but here BOTH teams have numerous great scoring chances, since Boston's defense was not quite at the same level as Montreal's. Bruins dominate at first mainly because they are much stronger in the corners, but CSKA's top line (Maltsev had replaced Petrov at center) answer back with many high-speed counter attacks. Gradually, CSKA begins to dominate and it starts to show on the scoreboards too. Still, this was the closest game played between CSKA and NHL teams, and there are many beautiful plays that make you go "ding" (hmm, not sure what I meant by that). When watching this, one can still see the big differences between NA & Soviet hockey. BTW, Phil Esposito is a part of the broadcasting team in this game and, though maybe slightly less enthusiastic than Danny Gallivan & co, he is still being very respectful of Tretiak, whereas nowadays he can't find anything good to say about him ("How did that Russian goalie get into the HOF? *bohoo*"). When did Espo have this change of heart and why???

1976 Canada Cup, 2nd final, CAN vs. CSSR 5-4, OT

A personal favourite. Ok, Team Canada's back was not against the wall here, but I don't think they wanted to go to the 3rd game and maybe run into a hot goalie (Dzurilla had sucked in the 1st final but was great in this 2nd game) and more and more confident Czechs. The Czechoslovak national team of the '70s has to be the most underrated ntl team of all-time. They were a little inconsistent at times, in this tournament too, but when they were "on", better watch out! Top Czech players were definitely on par with the Soviets' best, though none of them was as flashy as Kharlamov (well, who was actually?). In the game, the Czechs have a nightmarish first few minutes, but gradually begin to find their legs and in the late 3rd period it even looks like they are going to win it. Then comes the equaliser and it's OT. After a few very good scoring chances the Czechs apparently begin to tire and it's all Canada after that: 11.33, D.S., GWG.

1978 World Championships, CSSR vs. USSR 1-3

Had to have one of the classic Czechoslovakia - Soviets games here, though I don't know if this is the best of them (I doubt it). It is a very significant game, however, because it ended quite a long Czech domination over the Soviets: in the '76 and '77 WCh the Czechs had won 2 and lost only 1 out of 4 vs. USSR and better/worse yet, they had destroyed the Soviets by a score of 8-3 at the '77 Izvestia and beaten them already once in this tournament too. In '79 USSR would have no problems whatsoever, but here they had to beat the Czechs by 2 goals to be world champions. The game is a bit too chippy for my liking (many, many penalties), but one can hardly deny the great skill that is shown. Helmut Balderis is arguably the offensive star here and, as he scores the game's 1st goal, he gives the most devastating display of speed inside a hockey rink I've ever seen. Heck, Balderis makes even a young Sergei Makarov look like he's standing still as he splits the Czech defense and coolly puts the puck between Holecek's legs. Other Soviet players aren't too bad either: Petrov and Mikhailov do a great job of killing penalties (SHG too) and Golikov bros score the deciding goal. As for CSSR, Hlinka scores the lone Czech goal, Martinec makes the Soviets take a lot of penalties with his puck-stealing skills (slightly controversial breakaway too) and the 21-22 year old Peter Stastny looks already very mature and, of course, very skillful. If you ever run into this game, Czech it out!

1979 Challenge Cup, 2nd game, NHL All stars vs. USSR 4-5

A big personal fave. Ok, just a three-game series, no big deal (though I bet it would have been a bigger deal if...), but simply look at the line-ups: both teams put 1972 to shame and it shows in the quality of play & tempo too. Due to injuries, the Soviets had two big stars missing, namely Fetisov and Maltsev, and how surprising, lost two more during the series (Canadians were motivated enough to make some nasty checks, eh?). But USSR was nearing such form that I don't think it mattered much. As for the NHL All stars, Potvin and Lapointe weren't 100 %, but we're not going to use that as an excuse, are we? The 3rd game was of course the biggie for USSR, but here they actually play better offensively and, in the last 30 minutes or so, just as well defensively. Poor performance by Tretiak makes this one unnecessarily close, but luckily the rest of the team (almost all of them) are at the top of their game. It's really great to see old-timers like Mikhailov and Petrov dominate, which they do especially in the latter half of the game. The Canadians are hanging in there, though, and at first manage to capitalise on their chances. In goal, Ken Dryden looks akward and poor-balanced at times, and he gives a couple of bad rebounds, but he's really not to blame at all, not this time; NHL was simply playing against the greatest ntl team ever IMO. No need to talk about "bunch of college kids" here, because if one compares this or G3 (or just about any '79 WCh game) to Miracle on Ice (or the CAN & FIN games that preceeded it), the difference in form is quite easy to notice. Anyway, this game is high-tempo hockey at a high level and one of the best one-sided games I've seen. It is also interesting to compare this Soviet team to the one that played in '72 and '74; the progress had been phenomenal IMO - especially in the defensive play. Even WHA's Team Canada managed to broke into the Soviets' defensive zone at will at times and outmuscle them in the corners in '74 but not anymore (well, a little in G1). I think this was also the first time USSR used dump & chase successfully against Canada. It's Art on the ice

1984 Canada Cup semi-final, USSR vs. CAN 2-3, OT

If you want to see Team Canada dominate the Soviets, well, here it is. Canada manages to make the Soviets (even KLM) look disorganized almost right from the start, but what makes this game great is that when the Russians do get a scoring chance, it is a real dandy, and the game tempo is quite phenomenal (even faster than '87?). So, if Team Canada ever deserved the win over the Soviets, I would refer to this game. However, this is Canada playing the feared/hated opponent in their own rink, and I can't help thinking that the teams are not being treated as equals, as far as penalties go. Or maybe Igor Larionov (3x2 min.) is the dirtiest player of all-time, I don't know. BUT, as I've already pointed out, Canada was the better hockey club, and this is their greatest ever performance vs. the Soviet ntl team in a clutch game IMO. Pauli Kahvi (or Paul Coffey for the English-speakers) is the hero of the game, but just check out the goal Makarov scores here. Phew!

1987 Canada Cup finals, G3, USSR vs. CAN 5-6

Now I've almost run out of steam (?), so I'll just say that this was a fine game despite all the clutching & grabbing, hooking, diving and inconsistent refereeing. But it's ok to suffer through those to see the four best forwards in the world (G & L vs. K & M) to battle it out. Apropos, I remember when I did the "Greatest team ever assembled" poll here ages ago, Team Canada '87 was the clear winner. I strongly disagreed then and I strongly disagree now. But horses for courses, eh?

HM:
'75 "New year's game" (mainly for Montreal's & Tretiak's great performances)
'76 CC, FIN vs. SWE (the right winner)
'80 Miracle (it has a special feeling, though USSR sucks a bit)
'87 CC, 2nd final, CAN vs. USSR (score the deciding goal already!)
'03 WCh, FIN vs. SWE (the wrong winner)

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Old
10-06-2008, 11:48 AM
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Wow, what a resounding success this thread has been. But just don't get too excited over it, might give you a heart attack.

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10-06-2008, 11:56 AM
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'98 Olympic games semi-final Canada - Czech republic 1:2SO.
By far my most favourite game

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10-06-2008, 12:19 PM
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2002 Gold Medal Game

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10-06-2008, 01:22 PM
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Hey, I wanted to break the record of "most consecutive unreplied threads" and you spoiled it! I had such a flying start.

But let's get serious for a moment. Hockey-wise, the years circa 1996-2002 are just almost total blur to me; had something else on my mind then, I presume. From 1998 Olympics I remember the game FIN - CZE, and that Hasek looked unbeatable in that game, as he did much of the tournament, I guess. And of course Janne Niinimaa, Teppo Numminen, Jarmo Myllys etc. being almost single-handedly crushed by a certain Russian Rocket. BTW, didn't Gretzky call that loss to the Czechs the most devastating loss of his career or something?

As far as 2002 gold medal game goes, I somehow remember the most that Lemieux missed an open net (hit the post?) but did also a nice faked shot which resulted in Canadian goal. And that's about it. I've more or less missed all the "modern classics" (if you will).


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10-10-2008, 06:39 PM
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Just a sample of some of my favs

1972 Summit Series Game #8
1976 Canada Cup final Game #2
1984 Canada Cup semifinal (Can/Rus)
1987 Canada Cup final (all three games were brilliant)
1996 World Cup final Game #3 (even as a Canadian that is still a great game to watch)

2002 Gold Medal game
2004 World Cup semifinal (CAN/CZE)

NHL level:
Game #7 1987 Cup finals
Game #7 1994 Cup finals
Game #6 1967 Cup finals

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10-10-2008, 07:42 PM
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Last year, game 6 of the Bruins Habs series. It was unbelievable.

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10-10-2008, 08:05 PM
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1981 Canada Cup Final game, and games 1, 4 and 5 in '72 for worst games ever

(some Russian/Soviet Fan should be bringing these up...so it's a preemptive strike)

Favourite is game 8 in '72 and next is game 6 of the Canadiens/Bruins semi-final in '69 where Beliveau eliminated the Bruins in overtime in the Boston Garden to win the Cup (barring 4 "miracles on ice" by the Blues in the so-called Finals)

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10-11-2008, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosbyfan View Post
1981 Canada Cup Final game, and games 1, 4 and 5 in '72 for worst games ever

(some Russian/Soviet Fan should be bringing these up...so it's a preemptive strike)

Favourite is game 8 in '72 and next is game 6 of the Canadiens/Bruins semi-final in '69 where Beliveau eliminated the Bruins in overtime in the Boston Garden to win the Cup (barring 4 "miracles on ice" by the Blues in the so-called Finals)
Well, I'm a Soviet fan (or fan of Soviet hockey, whatever), but I wholeheartedly agree on the game 1 of the '72 series. I think the Soviets were extremely lucky that Canada was so ill-prepared. Absolutely terrible hockey...

I think that in '81 the final score flatters the Soviets a bit, but this time they had a heck of a team and were quite deserving winners, even though Canada dominated at first.

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10-11-2008, 11:27 AM
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My top two would have to be:

2002 Gold Medal Game
2008 Stanley Cup Finals Game 5

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10-11-2008, 12:04 PM
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All good games but I'd have to put forward a vote for the 3-3 tie between the Canadiens and the Soviets in a New Year's Eve exhibition game in 1975 (i believe that was the date) Two great teams going head to head.

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10-12-2008, 06:46 AM
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some ones I haven't seen mentioned yet

2006 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1 Carolina 5 - 4 Edmonton
The first Penalty Shot goal in Stanley Cup Finals history. The Biggest comeback in Stanley Cup Finals history. The legendary gaffe behind the net. Such a great game that hardly ever comes up for discussion for whatever reasons.

2002 Olympic Quarterfinals Belarus 4 - 3 Sweden
A great game followed up by one of the most hilarious goals of all time for the game winner.

2006 Olympic Preliminary Round Switzerland 2 - 0 Canada
Still arguably the greatest goaltending performance I've ever seen at the international level.

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10-12-2008, 10:25 AM
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Maybe my all time favourite game is the Isles-Caps overtime classic from 1987.

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Old
10-13-2008, 06:32 AM
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VMBM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
some ones I haven't seen mentioned yet

2006 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1 Carolina 5 - 4 Edmonton
The first Penalty Shot goal in Stanley Cup Finals history. The Biggest comeback in Stanley Cup Finals history. The legendary gaffe behind the net. Such a great game that hardly ever comes up for discussion for whatever reasons.

2002 Olympic Quarterfinals Belarus 4 - 3 Sweden
A great game followed up by one of the most hilarious goals of all time for the game winner.

2006 Olympic Preliminary Round Switzerland 2 - 0 Canada
Still arguably the greatest goaltending performance I've ever seen at the international level.
I forgot it! I always call this game "the REAL miracle on ice", since there weren't any signs - or at least I don't remember them - that this would happen. In '80, the Soviets played a couple of really weak games already before the USA game, and Americans were crushing opponents like Czechoslovakia etc.

I hope Tommy Salo has gotten over it, I really do

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