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What if Team NHL lost in summit series 1972?

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03-19-2010, 07:25 PM
  #1
Hockeynomad
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What if Team NHL lost in summit series 1972?

Remember at that time, especially Canadian fans, we were the undisputed hockey power. Numero uno. The pros playing the europeans was certainly a phenomenon
and losing the first game badly, was really a blow to the national psyche.
It was almost traumatic.

Despite the fact the TC bunch couldn't have been less unprepared.

Today we acknowledge all teams can win at one point in time.

But what if henderson didn't score those goals? And the CCCP won 1972 summit series?

My feeling is that the NHL and Canada in general would have generated all the excuses (rather legitimate ones), never having fielded a professional national team, not being ready, etc.

Hence the NHL and the player association, having been thrown off their hockey mountain, would be desparate to schedule a rematch.
I know Esposito who had to be coerced to shorten his summer hence showing up 20 pounds overweight, would definitely demand rematch. He would not rest still until one was scheduled.


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03-19-2010, 10:16 PM
  #2
Big Phil
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The officiating would have been a HUGE finger point. As time has gone on we've witnessed testimony of the Russians intentionally putting Kompalla in there to referee in order to win the series. That would have been a vocal point.

But observers have said the best thing that could have happened to Canada was to LOSE that series and it would have given us the opportunity to improve our system. Instead Henderson scored and all was forgotten. Canada wasn't producing the top notch skill players as much as the Russians and it showed as time went on.

Then after the 1996 World Cup and 1998 Olympic losses there were inquiries. Since then Canada has won 3/4 of the top end tournaments. All is well again, but I think the losses in 1981, 1996 and 1998 can be traced all the way back to 1972 when we won, got comfortable and rested on our laurels. Shortly after 1972 the Broad Street Bullies dominated hockey and skill was often forgotten

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03-20-2010, 12:06 AM
  #3
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To be honest, I think team NHL/Canada did lose.

Team Canada was supposed to destroy them, it wasn't even supposed to be close. The series was 4-3-1 for Canada, with 3 games being decided by 1 goal. The nation turned on the team and lost hope on Canadian soil.

The series changed hockey forever and if Canada lost, not much else would be different. The change/damage was already done and the after effects would be the same.

The series could have gone either way, easily. But it did wake up the hockey world and NHL players. If NHL players knew how good the Soviets were, they might have taken the event more seriously in the beginning and the end result may have been what was expected.

I really don't think much would have officially changed if Canada lost. They still had excuses even after winning. Soviets were better prepared, better trained, better condition, played as a team. They already admitted these things after barely winning. They went into the series thinking it would be a cake walk and didn't think they could lose.

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03-20-2010, 08:42 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Shortly after 1972 the Broad Street Bullies dominated hockey and skill was often forgotten
Flyers won more because they had the best forward, goaltender and coach in the world.

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03-20-2010, 10:21 AM
  #5
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Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan View Post
Flyers won more because they had the best forward, goaltender and coach in the world.
The Flyers were the first team to make intimidation one of the key components of their game plan. Other teams before had undoubtedly flirted with it, but none had ever made it such a crucial tenant of their philosophy.

A large part of the Flyers success was built on a tenacious forecheck, an unbreakable team spirit, and an absolute devotion to their coach. Of course, Shero along with Keith Allen, realizing that they didn't have the most skilled group of hockey players in the world, instead molded the Flyers into what they were and what they did best, and they were undoubtedly successful.

Contray to their reputation the Flyers did have skilled players and in Clarke and Parent elite players, as well as some very good hockey players. Shero was undoubtedly a brilliant tactician and IMO is the best coach not enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Of course, their aggressive style naturally led to the fighting and other stuff, but that also worked in their favour, vis-a-vis their intimidation.

In short, the Flyers excelled because they forced much of their opposition to play out of their comfort zone, and thus dictated that they play the Flyers style. One look at the frustration of Bobby Orr in the waning moments of the 1974 finals testifies to the success of their approach.

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03-20-2010, 11:07 AM
  #6
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The thing that always intrigued me about the Clarke era Flyers is that they won without an obvious number one defenseman.

Tom Bladon moved the puck well, the Watson's and Dupont were tough competitors, but there was never a Potvin, Robinson, or lord knows an Orr to be found.

To me, the 75-76 team were tremendous achievers. To rack up 118 points while playing with a journeyman like Wayne Stephenson in goal and without Rick Macleish was tremendous.

As far as the OP is concerned, I don't think hockey history would be much different. As others pointed out, the mere fact that the Soviet's were so good forced Canada to examine it's own legacy, cultural attitude, off ice preparation and skill level.

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03-20-2010, 11:25 AM
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if it's and but's were candies and nuts.

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03-20-2010, 11:41 AM
  #8
Canadiens1958
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Depth on Defense

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Originally Posted by brianscot View Post
The thing that always intrigued me about the Clarke era Flyers is that they won without an obvious number one defenseman.

Tom Bladon moved the puck well, the Watson's and Dupont were tough competitors, but there was never a Potvin, Robinson, or lord knows an Orr to be found.

To me, the 75-76 team were tremendous achievers. To rack up 118 points while playing with a journeyman like Wayne Stephenson in goal and without Rick Macleish was tremendous.

As far as the OP is concerned, I don't think hockey history would be much different. As others pointed out, the mere fact that the Soviet's were so good forced Canada to examine it's own legacy, cultural attitude, off ice preparation and skill level.
Joe and Jim Watson, Dupont, Van Impe, Ashbee plus Bladon gave the Flyers the best top 6 defensemen in the league. Other teams may have had a top 3-4 but having to give significant minutes to the 5-6 was a problem even if paired - 1 & 6, 2 & 5.

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03-20-2010, 11:52 AM
  #9
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The Summit Series initially was thought of nothing more than a place where Canada would prove its hockey dominance once and for all. We were totally arrogant about that. We thought the Soviets would be lucky to win a single game.

Then reality set in and it's stayed with us ever since.

Yes we won, but it was ****ing close. It proved a couple things however; that Team Canada in the end, showed a helluva lot of heart. But, the repercussions were, and still are, that we're not the only tough kid on the block. You can't talk and brag quite so loud anymore, because someone might just punch you in the face.

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03-20-2010, 11:54 AM
  #10
Canadiens1958
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Fred Shero

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Originally Posted by Canadiens Fan View Post
The Flyers were the first team to make intimidation one of the key components of their game plan. Other teams before had undoubtedly flirted with it, but none had ever made it such a crucial tenant of their philosophy.

A large part of the Flyers success was built on a tenacious forecheck, an unbreakable team spirit, and an absolute devotion to their coach. Of course, Shero along with Keith Allen, realizing that they didn't have the most skilled group of hockey players in the world, instead molded the Flyers into what they were and what they did best, and they were undoubtedly successful.

Contray to their reputation the Flyers did have skilled players and in Clarke and Parent elite players, as well as some very good hockey players. Shero was undoubtedly a brilliant tactician and IMO is the best coach not enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Of course, their aggressive style naturally led to the fighting and other stuff, but that also worked in their favour, vis-a-vis their intimidation.

In short, the Flyers excelled because they forced much of their opposition to play out of their comfort zone, and thus dictated that they play the Flyers style. One look at the frustration of Bobby Orr in the waning moments of the 1974 finals testifies to the success of their approach.
For all the positives that Fred Shero brought to the rink he is rarely given credit for the most important contributions.

The ability to roll three effective defensive pairings with four effective forward lines. Shorter shifts - he recognized after the 72 Summit Series how speed could be neutralized with shorter shifts.

Shero also recognized that the referees would not call all the penalties - the more you fouled the fewer were called. Along the same lines he realized that most coaches could not manage ice time well when the flow of the game was disrupted by penalties so coincidental minors , majors, etc which caused line disruptions for the other team were used to the Flyers advantage.

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03-20-2010, 12:31 PM
  #11
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I would have just blamed it on the lack of Hull and Orr.

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03-20-2010, 03:37 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
For all the positives that Fred Shero brought to the rink he is rarely given credit for the most important contributions.

The ability to roll three effective defensive pairings with four effective forward lines. Shorter shifts - he recognized after the 72 Summit Series how speed could be neutralized with shorter shifts.

Shero also recognized that the referees would not call all the penalties - the more you fouled the fewer were called. Along the same lines he realized that most coaches could not manage ice time well when the flow of the game was disrupted by penalties so coincidental minors , majors, etc which caused line disruptions for the other team were used to the Flyers advantage.
He was also the first to hire an assistant coach. A crime that he's not in the Hall of Fame. He won at every level he ever coached.

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03-20-2010, 04:48 PM
  #13
Canadiens1958
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Assistant Coach

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He was also the first to hire an assistant coach. A crime that he's not in the Hall of Fame. He won at every level he ever coached.
A bit of a stretch. Perhaps the first hire with such a title but Claude Ruel towards the end of the Toe Blake era, King Clancy in Toronto during Punch Imlach's days in the 1960's all filled the role of an assistant coach.

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03-21-2010, 02:35 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan View Post
Flyers won more because they had the best forward, goaltender and coach in the world.
It is forgotten how the Flyers DID have talent on that team, but there is no doubt that intimidation propelled them to the heights that they reached and for a while it spread out into the rest of the NHL. Hey I am not complaining the Flyers were an entertaining and great team but until a better team came along to beat them (Habs) that's the direction hockey took for a while

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03-21-2010, 04:56 PM
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Well, a large number of people wouldn't be demanding Paul Henderson to be put in the Hall of Fame for one.

It's an interesting speculation of what would happen to Canada and Russia programs after that. I agree that team canada would likely want a rematch- too much bruised ego and such.

Another interesting note is how it would have affected the cold war. The summit series has been described as the cold war on ice before. Would the upswelling of Russian pride that would have occured after the victory changed something?

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03-21-2010, 10:38 PM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafs Forever View Post
Well, a large number of people wouldn't be demanding Paul Henderson to be put in the Hall of Fame for one.

It's an interesting speculation of what would happen to Canada and Russia programs after that. I agree that team Canada would likely want a rematch- too much bruised ego and such.

Another interesting note is how it would have affected the cold war. The summit series has been described as the cold war on ice before. Would the upswelling of Russian pride that would have occured after the victory changed something?
Not in the slightest. It's just sports after all.

Anyhow, the 'political' aspect of the series is always magnified by the Canadian side.

From Soviet perspective, games against America had political implications, but even more so were games vs Czechoslovakia. Canada.....not so much.
Not that there weren't political overtones when facing Canada, but those games were more about hockey supremacy as compared to real politically heated games vs USA and especially Czechoslovakia.

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03-22-2010, 06:43 AM
  #17
Canadiens1958
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It's Just Sports After All

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Not in the slightest. It's just sports after all.

Anyhow, the 'political' aspect of the series is always magnified by the Canadian side.


From Soviet perspective, games against America had political implications, but even more so were games vs Czechoslovakia. Canada.....not so much.
Not that there weren't political overtones when facing Canada, but those games were more about hockey supremacy as compared to real politically heated games vs USA and especially Czechoslovakia.
Contrast the bolded with a quote from Zine in another thread:

Considering Soviet hockey success was a valuable representation for the State (similar to what it now under Putin), under no circumstance would this corruption and/or manipulation be tolerated, nor did it exist under the old soviet regime. It only started surfacing in very late 1980s when serious cracks started forming in soviet government.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=750468&page=5

See post #115

Success in sports has always been a political vehicle for the Soviets/Russians and obviously will continue to be so.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 03-22-2010 at 06:48 AM. Reason: link,addition.
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03-22-2010, 10:10 AM
  #18
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I will preface this by stating that I am in no way trying to discredit Soviet hockey, nor am I trying to be a Canadian Homer...

...But, if Canada had lost the Summit Series, Eagleson would have somehow figured out a way to do it again in the next year or so. He would have brought Hull and Orr. The team would have been ready, and they would have dominated. The Soviets were still a few years away from being at the same level as a well oiled NHL machine. But they got there (and then some) very shortly afterward.

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03-22-2010, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raleh View Post
I will preface this by stating that I am in no way trying to discredit Soviet hockey, nor am I trying to be a Canadian Homer...

...But, if Canada had lost the Summit Series, Eagleson would have somehow figured out a way to do it again in the next year or so. He would have brought Hull and Orr. The team would have been ready, and they would have dominated. The Soviets were still a few years away from being at the same level as a well oiled NHL machine. But they got there (and then some) very shortly afterward.
Good points. I have a ton of respect for Soviet hockey, but by 1972 they weren't quite "there" yet, because:

1) Canada still won,

2) The Soviets had the element of surprise on their side big-time,

3) They played together all year; our players did not,

4) We were missing the best defenseman, left winger, and right winger in hockey history, all of whom were capable of playing.

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03-22-2010, 10:45 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Contrast the bolded with a quote from Zine in another thread:

Considering Soviet hockey success was a valuable representation for the State (similar to what it now under Putin), under no circumstance would this corruption and/or manipulation be tolerated, nor did it exist under the old soviet regime. It only started surfacing in very late 1980s when serious cracks started forming in soviet government.

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=750468&page=5

See post #115

Success in sports has always been a political vehicle for the Soviets/Russians and obviously will continue to be so.


I stand by my statement. As it relates to the Cold War, the Summit Series wouldn't have changed a thing. Athletics is a good propaganda tool but it's not going to change policy.


Like I said, there certainly were political elements to the Summit Series, but the 'do or die' Cold War On Ice label is merely one from a Canadian perspective.

You want to see real politically charged series? Read up on the 1969 world Championships.


Last edited by Bear of Bad News: 03-22-2010 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Removed flaming comment.
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03-22-2010, 11:10 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raleh View Post
I will preface this by stating that I am in no way trying to discredit Soviet hockey, nor am I trying to be a Canadian Homer...

...But, if Canada had lost the Summit Series, Eagleson would have somehow figured out a way to do it again in the next year or so. He would have brought Hull and Orr. The team would have been ready, and they would have dominated. The Soviets were still a few years away from being at the same level as a well oiled NHL machine. But they got there (and then some) very shortly afterward.
I don't think NHL/Canada would have 'dominated' at all.

I definitely believe Canada was the better team in 1972, but Soviets weren't on a lower level. They certainly could still beat Canada on any given day (even with Orr, Hull, etc.).
Series probably would have went 5-2-1, maybe 6-2-0.

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03-22-2010, 11:47 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockeynomad View Post
But what if henderson didn't score those goals? And the CCCP won 1972 summit series?
Got to believe Tony O and Dryden would be wearing some mighty large goat horns. They were not good in that tournament. I've always wondered why they went with Dryden in game 8. Espo wasn't great that series, but he outplayed Dryden IMO. The Russian style always drove Dryden nuts. I wonder if that why he had trouble with the Sabres french connection as well?

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03-22-2010, 12:07 PM
  #23
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Got to believe Tony O and Dryden would be wearing some mighty large goat horns. They were not good in that tournament. I've always wondered why they went with Dryden in game 8. Espo wasn't great that series, but he outplayed Dryden IMO. The Russian style always drove Dryden nuts. I wonder if that why he had trouble with the Sabres french connection as well?
I think the Soviet's made Dryden more nervous than he ever was in a playoff series. I think the fact that he was the "thinking man's goalie" worked against him with an unknown opponent.

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03-22-2010, 12:08 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zine View Post
I don't think NHL/Canada would have 'dominated' at all.

I definitely believe Canada was the better team in 1972, but Soviets weren't on a lower level. They certainly could still beat Canada on any given day (even with Orr, Hull, etc.).
Series probably would have went 5-2-1, maybe 6-2-0.
6-2-0, by today's standards would be domination. I by no means think that Canada would have swept them, even with everything going their way.

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03-22-2010, 12:30 PM
  #25
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The Internet wouldn't have been invented.

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