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Summit Series What-Ifs

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Old
01-20-2012, 08:49 PM
  #1
Al Bundy*
 
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Summit Series What-Ifs

Looking back on the 1972 Summit Series, a lot of interesting questions I came up with from a 'how might things have changed' perspective. The questions are in no particular order:

1. Did Team Canada make the right choice in goalies? Dryden has barely played more than a year and a half; what if they went with another talented-goalie that had more experience (i.e. Cheevers or Giacomin) along with Esposito?

2. What if game 3 didn't end up in a tie and Canada won? How would things have looked if they went to Russia tied at 2 games apiece? Would the Vancouver booing and Espo rant have still been the same if Canada won twice?

3. What if Henderson doesn't score The Goal Of The Century and Russia claims series victory (which they would have)

4. What if Canada doesn't win game 6 or 7, which would have guaranteed a series loss?

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01-20-2012, 08:54 PM
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Rhiessan71
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What if Canada had the two Bobby's?
That's the biggest "what if"?

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01-20-2012, 08:58 PM
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Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
What if Canada had the two Bobby's?
That's the biggest "what if"?
Exactly

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01-20-2012, 09:00 PM
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Rhiessan71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomerHimpson View Post
1. Did Team Canada make the right choice in goalies? Dryden has barely played more than a year and a half; what if they went with another talented-goalie that had more experience (i.e. Cheevers or Giacomin) along with Esposito?
Same deal with Cheevers as it was with Hull.

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2. What if game 3 didn't end up in a tie and Canada won? How would things have looked if they went to Russia tied at 2 games apiece? Would the Vancouver booing and Espo rant have still been the same if Canada won twice?
Good question but I think there would of been booing for anything short of being up 3-0 going into Vancouver.

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3. What if Henderson doesn't score The Goal Of The Century and Russia claims series victory (which they would have)
Too scary to even think about. Would of been the biggest catastrophe in Canadian sports history. Would of made the '98 Olympics look like a peewee tourny loss

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4. What if Canada doesn't win game 6 or 7, which would have guaranteed a series loss?
See above.

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01-20-2012, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
What if Canada had the two Bobby's?
That's the biggest "what if"?
Only if you add Firsov to the Russians...

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01-20-2012, 09:14 PM
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Only if you add Firsov to the Russians...
You might be able to make the argument that Firsov cancels out Hull and that a big might but missing Orr is in a league by itself.

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01-20-2012, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
Only if you add Firsov to the Russians...
I dunno, last time I checked two Bobby's beat one Firsov.

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01-20-2012, 09:22 PM
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TheDevilMadeMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhiessan71 View Post
What if Canada had the two Bobby's?
That's the biggest "what if"?
If you're going to bring that up, you should bring up Firsov and the rest of the Tarasov loyalists for the Soviets. Obviously, they aren't Orr though.

Edit: beaten to it

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01-20-2012, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomerHimpson View Post
Looking back on the 1972 Summit Series, a lot of interesting questions I came up with from a 'how might things have changed' perspective...
1) Likely little difference.
2) That the games were even close was cause for booing for most.
3) Paul Henderson becomes an Atheist, eventually retires with Most PIM's of All Time and a drinking problem.
4) Huh?. Your confusing me.

Even with the series win, there was a Hell of a lot of hand-wringing & angst within Canadian hockey circles at all levels. Needlessly so IMO as Team Canada was completely out of shape, out of step, hadnt played together, hadnt gelled, scouting was dreadful, some questionable picks and serious omissions. They "gutted" out the series & won...

My question is what did it do for Soviet Hockey?. What did they "takeaway" from the Summit Series, if anything, that appeared in their game later on?.

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01-20-2012, 10:02 PM
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Dryden was really not very good in the series. A few shots got through him that he really should have stopped. A different goaltender could certainly have made a difference.

Bobby Hull is an interesting what-if. For one, there's a good chance he would have displaced Paul Henderson at LW. And Henderson had an excellent tournament, so it's not clear that Hull's performance would be an upgrade, at least at even strength. On the other hand, if Hull took minutes away from the revolving cast of Parise, Cashman, and his brother Dennis, that's a big plus for Canada. Imagine Esposito and Hull on the same line all tournament. That would have given Canada one thing they often didn't have - a consistently dominant top line. Espo's line dominated the play when he had good wingers like Cournoyer and Frank Mahovlich, but didn't fare as well with the Cashmans and Parises.

One place where Hull would certainly have made an impact was special teams. Canada was a young team, with little experience playing together and not much of a plan from the coaches. Nowhere was that more evident than on special teams, where the Soviets far outperformed Canada over the eight games. Hull was more experienced than any Canadian player and that would have certainly helped on the PP and PK, where veteran savvy is a big plus. His hard shot was a missing element from the Canadian PP, which relied on creating plays down low. And he would certainly have been better at pressuring the points on the PK than the likes of Esposito and Frank Mahovlich, who played far too much on the PK. When the wrong forwards were out for Canada, the Soviets were able to consistently get the puck on net from the blueline.

Bobby Orr is an even bigger what-if. Too big for me too imagine. Everything would have changed with Orr on the ice.

I'll let the Russians address the Firsov and Tarasov what-ifs. I'm Canadian and know Canadian hockey better.

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01-21-2012, 02:08 AM
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I've already written about Dryden getting a bum rap concerning the Dec. 31, 1975 game against CSKA under the "best hockey games of all-time" thread, and I'll defend him again here as well.
Game 1 he was atrocious, no question, but then who on Team Canada looked good that game? The speed and skill of the Soviets surprised everyone and TC wilted, Dryden right along with the rest of the team.
Game 4, Bill Goldsworthy takes two STUPID penalties that lead to Mikhailov redirecting point shots from Lutchenko past Dryden. Don't see how Dryden's at fault on either. Primary goat is Goldsworthy for playing dumb hockey. Goal #3 is off a two on one after Stapleton whiffs on a point shot. Perhaps Dryden could've made the save but Blinov's shot is a bullet. Primary goat is Stapleton. #4 TC is awful in its own zone. Seiling turns the puck over along the wall to Maltsev, who passes to a completely uncovered Karlamov who passes to a completely uncovered Vikulov at the side of the net, Dryden's no chance and it's a goal. Want a goat? Try everyone on the ice, but particularly Esposito, who's cherrypicking at the blue line. It's his man who scores the goal. #5 Park and White both chase Yakushev behind the net, who centers out in front to a wide-open Shadrin. Dryden makes the initial save, but Shadrin pokes the rebound past him. Poor defensive communication results in the goal.
Can't complain about Ken in game 6. He plays a fine game and is key to TC killing the parade of penalties, even if he is lucky that Karlamov's apparent tying goal isn't counted. Softest goal given up in the game is Tretiak on Henderson's winner.
Game 8, Goal #1 is a 5 on 3 PP, Yakushev alone at the corner. #2 is a screened point shot by Lutchenko on the PP. #3 is the crazy bounce off the mesh on a shot by Yakushev, that rebounds past Dryden, into the slot where Shadrin rifles it home. #4 Esposito loses the d-zone faceoff to Shadrin. Park loses his man, Yakushev, who is left all alone in front of Dryden. Shadrin's centering pass glances off Park's skate and Yakushev tucks it home. #5 is yet another PP goal, a backdoor pass from Vasiliev to Shadrin. None of the goals in game 8 are softies, and of course Dryden let's in one fewer than Tretiak.
Frankly I find the "Dryden didn't play well" excuse a two-fold bit of denial by canadian apologists. First, it excuses A LOT of poor defensive play by the canadian teams, not only in the Summit Series, but also the NYE game and the Challenge Cup. In the Summit Series Dryden had the misfortune of being in net for the two worst games played by TC, games 1 & 4. Secondly, it's a backhanded compliment to the Russians. These are great players making great plays. Dryden, as I've tried to show, isn't letting in slow dribblers between the wickets or unscreened shots from beyond the blueline. He's getting beat by world class players off of legitimate scoring chances.
If there are any "what ifs" about who shouldn't have been on TC in '72 the conversation in no way should start with Dryden. Yes, he'd only played one full season, but he had the hardware to show he belonged. And frankly he proved it. He's the winning goalie in the deciding game for the love of mike. So yup, Canada made the right choice in goalies.
I'm not going to argue whether someone belonged or not, but who looked bad? Don Awrey, Bill Goldsworthy, Rod Seiling, and Hadfield, Perrault & Martin have a lot more to answer for than Ken Dryden.

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