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Old
07-23-2012, 06:40 AM
  #51
VMBM
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BTW, Finns Matti Hagman and Pekka Rautakallio, who both played in the NHL and WHA, certainly think that the NHL was a clearly superior league. Only Hagman, though, played in the NHL and WHA around the same time (1977-78 for the Bruins and the Nordiques).

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07-23-2012, 06:59 AM
  #52
La Vieille Garde
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I liked the WHA, I miss it, and wish it were still around. For one thing, it gave Indy a pro team, something the NHL has never even considered. And, we had Gretzky as a rookie so I think some of the talent was NHL caliber. Also, they allowed the Nordiques, Whalers, Jets and Oilers to go to the NHL when the WHA folded. Nelson Skalbania took all the Indy Racers money and Gretzky and threw them into Edmonton, the other team he owned. I've always felt Indy kind of got screwed and could have made it at that time as an NHL team. We had good attendance when they won and lesser attendance when they had losing seasons, but NHL clubs today suffer poorer attendance when they're losing too. And at that time all Indy had was the Pacers.
I think all that was the reason I never liked Edmonton during their Cup years. I remembered how the Racers got the shaft in favor of Edmonton.

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07-23-2012, 01:13 PM
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Vieille Garde View Post
I liked the WHA, I miss it... Nelson Skalbania took all the Indy Racers money and Gretzky and threw them into Edmonton, the other team he owned. I think all that was the reason I never liked Edmonton during their Cup years. I remembered how the Racers got the shaft in favor of Edmonton.
... I sympathize & agree with your sentiments. I too miss the wild & wooly days of the WHA, and though a notch below the NHL, highly entertaining. Indianapolis was/is a decent market right in the heart of the Mid-Western belt, no reason why under astute & conscientious ownership & management it couldnt have succeeded as a WHA or even to this day an NHL market.

As for Skalbania, ya, he was a Rogue, a Rounder. Not only responsible for "shafting" as you put it Indy, but so too the Atlanta market & fan base in 79-80, doubling up on local offers to keep the Flames put, moving them to Calgary. That franchise couldve made a go of it and by now would have had a nearly 40yr history to proudly look back upon, avoided the mess with the Thrashers & ASG altogether.

Its too bad your enjoyment of the Oilers wound up being jaded, melancholic as a result of the loss of the Pacers & the talent that wound up in Edmonton, the loss still fresh for many in Indiana circa 81-87. Hopefully you didnt do something drastic, becoming a dreaded Black Hawks or Leafs fan. At that time beyond painful, though the Hawks were at least sporadically respectable ....

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07-23-2012, 03:34 PM
  #54
La Vieille Garde
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Actually when the Racers folded, I became an Islanders fan, because during their Cup run their Central Hockey League farm team was none other than the Indianapolis Checkers! So, as the Oilers ended the Isles' run, you can see another reason why I wasn't keen on Edmonton.

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07-23-2012, 04:08 PM
  #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Vieille Garde View Post
Actually when the Racers folded, I became an Islanders fan, because during their Cup run their Central Hockey League farm team was none other than the Indianapolis Checkers! So, as the Oilers ended the Isles' run, you can see another reason why I wasn't keen on Edmonton.
Double Whammy. If it wasnt for bad luck, you wouldnt have any luck at all... I quite liked Market Square Arena, sorry to see it gone. Really nice lines. Glen Campbell opened it, Elvis played his last concert there, all kinds of history. Whats there now, a parking lot?.

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07-25-2012, 11:17 AM
  #56
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I think they're putting in some very high priced condos now on that lot. It was parking up until the end of this past year.

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07-26-2012, 10:35 AM
  #57
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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Yeah, right.



Yeah, who cares about anything?
To many of us, though, circumstances, rosters, motivation etc. do matter.

Of course you know, or at least should know, that Montreal dominated their game versus CSKA in 1975, as the shots 38-13 in Montreal's favour tell you. The Jets outshot the Soviets 31-24 in the 1978 game, which does not seem like a huge margin (the Soviet teams were often outshot even by weaker NA teams in the 1970s). Since I don't have the game or don't even know, if it is available, I shouldn't say too much about it though. Quite telling is, however, that the 'Hot Line' scored all of their goals in the game. The depth, defense, goal-tending... there isn't anything convincing me that the Jets would have had a chance vs. the Habs (and I'm talking about playoff series rather than a single exhibition game).

And again, what if Montreal had had 6 tries to beat USSR like the Jets had (once in 1976, 3 times in 1977 and twice in 1978; finally winning in January 5th, 1978)? If you play numerous games against even a superior team, you're bound to win eventually.

And I find it disturbing that it is still claimed that Winnipeg Jets was the first club team ever to beat the Soviet ntl team (which they weren't) and that they beat Czechoslovakian ntl team (which, as far as I know, they didn't).
One thing about shots on goals and the Soviets. North American players are told "if you have a shot, take it." The Soviets didn't play like that. They would pass up a good shot to try for a "great shot." So in a game versus a NHL or WHA team they were normally outshot as the pros would blast away from all directions. The Soviets may only have 25 shots versus 35 or 40 for the pro team but out of those 25 most would be very good scoring opportunities. Many of the shots from the pros were long range blasts with little chance of being dangerous.

Craig Wallace


Last edited by cam042686: 07-26-2012 at 07:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old
07-26-2012, 01:19 PM
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Vieille Garde View Post
I think they're putting in some very high priced condos now on that lot. It was parking up until the end of this past year.
Man, that's rough. That's where I watched both my first hockey and basketball games. Watching the Ice duke it out with Ft. Wayne (quite litteraly) is one of my earliest memories. Market square arena, what an awesome block of concrete.

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07-27-2012, 02:19 AM
  #59
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Originally Posted by cam042686 View Post
One thing about shots on goals and the Soviets. North American players are told "if you have a shot, take it." The Soviets didn't play like that. They would pass up a good shot to try for a "great shot." So in a game versus a NHL or WHA team they were normally outshot as the pros would blast away from all directions. The Soviets may only have 25 shots versus 35 or 40 for the pro team but out of those 25 most would be very good scoring opportunities. Many of the shots from the pros were long range blasts with little chance of being dangerous.

Craig Wallace
Of course there was a difference in the styles in that regard too. But you can't explain the 38-13 gap of the 1975 New Year's game like that. And I don't think that the Red Army had many great scoring chances outside the 3 goals in the game - except for the Russian player (was it Popov?) hitting the post during the final minutes.

If we take the 1975-76 Super series between CSKA and NHL, in the Montreal and Philadelphia (the Flyers outshot them 49-13) games, the shots REALLY tell the story and about the NHL domination pretty accurately.

In the Boston game (Boston outshooting CSKA 40-19), it's definitely a different story. I wouldn't say that the Bruins dominated the game - except in the first period, and even in that CSKA still had 4-5 great scoring chances too... and of course, they ended up winning the game 5-2.
As for the NY Rangers game (the Rangers outshooting CSKA 41-29), yep, the shots definitely 'lie' and it shows their different attitude about shooting; CSKA won by a score of 7-3 and they were way better. But I think those 41 shots against them still tell that their defence/defensive play wasn't very good back then. The same thing with the Boston game.

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07-28-2012, 10:59 AM
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
My point was "why didn't they use Tretiak?" rather than "because Sidelnikov was in goal, they lost"; i.e. if they REALLY thought that the Winnipeg Jets was one of the best opponents out there, they would have always put Tretiak in net IMO. "Action speaks louder than words" and so forth.

There are of course numerous quotes attributed to the Soviets ("Bob Gainey is the best player in the world" and that kind...), and you almost never know the truth.



Yes, and then they went and lost badly to Sweden twice (and once to Czechoslovakia, which was not so unexpected).

Look, the Soviets of 1976-77 were capable of being among 'the best in the world' on some nights. But they also played some truly awful games. They should have never lost to Quebec Nordiques 6-1. That is not just Quebec being that great, but also the Soviets being really bad.
Also, when looking at the Team USSR stats from the 1976-77 WHA tour; Petrov played 6 (out of 8) games, Vasiliev 6, Mikhailov 5 (the top line did not play in the 2-5 loss to the Whalers)... looks like they were trying/testing younger players during the tour, which also indicates that they weren't that concerned. Excuses excuses, but there you go.

BTW, the more and more I see games from 1970s/1980s, the more I'm convinced that the Soviets were at their best in the 1980s - except for the 1978-79 season, when everything seemed to fall into place for them.
Your the guy that never thinks a team you don't favor is ever good enough aren't you? It's always they didn't win the game the other team lost isn't it?

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07-28-2012, 12:13 PM
  #61
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Originally Posted by 19Yzerman19 View Post
Your the guy that never thinks a team you don't favor is ever good enough aren't you? It's always they didn't win the game the other team lost isn't it?
I would say he is pretty observant.

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07-30-2012, 02:21 AM
  #62
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Originally Posted by 19Yzerman19 View Post
Your the guy that never thinks a team you don't favor is ever good enough aren't you? It's always they didn't win the game the other team lost isn't it?
I have no problems saying, for example, that Canada was better in 1972. And 1984. Because IMO they actually were better - on the ice and probably on paper too. The Soviets were ready, willing and able, but they lost.

But yes, I do have reservations about the consistency of the Soviets especially in the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons - for the reasons already mentioned (i.e. their poor performances at the 1976 and 1977 WCs; a tournament much more important to them than any WHA tour).
Okay, maybe it is so that Quebec Nordiques were so good that despite the great Soviet ntl team playing a great game, Quebec still ended up destroying them 6-1. Somehow, though, I don't quite believe that, and it's easy to suspect at least (the Quebec roster being the main reason). The Soviet national team (on form) should not have been losing to any WHA teams; it is as simple as that.

And I actually would find it rather lame if someone just said "New England Whalers and Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets beat the Soviet ntl team" and that would be it.

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07-30-2012, 04:11 AM
  #63
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Something left unsaid is that, at least in the Vancouver market, the WHA was a cheaper ticket. A lot of what the WHA was about was business model. They thought they could do a better job than the expanding NHL. They often did. WHA teams joining the NHL is an admission of that.

So what? As I remember, there was very little resistance to a new league by fans. The on ice product was poor compared to Montreal, but that was part of the point they were making. They as much as said the NHL was poorly run and overblown and then proved it.

This point can be made again. When (if?) the lockout comes, can the NHL survive two fallow seasons? I don't think Gretzky could come back like Howe did, but his presence alone would give a start-up league legitimacy, especially if he accepts ownership in Toronto.

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07-30-2012, 11:12 AM
  #64
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Something I haven't maybe taken into consideration...

Just like Czechoslovakia in numerous international tournaments, Canadian/North American teams often played at their best ('exceeded themselves') when they faced a Soviet team. This was certainly true for WHA's Team Canada in 1974 (in the games played in Canada at least), Montreal, Philadelphia and Buffalo in the 1975-76 Super series, as well as USA in 1980.

I would think that this was often true for the WHA teams vs. USSR as well. So if and when the Soviets came expecting an easy night and/or did not have the best possible lineup, or were off-form, there was a chance they would get burned.

Just thinking out loud...

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07-31-2012, 11:25 AM
  #65
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I think the top teams could compete no problem in the NHL with average NHL teams.
Agreed. No AHL team today would have a ghost of a chance vs. even the worst NHL team today. Suggesting the WHA = AHL (or close) in terms of difference in the contemporary leagues (NHL and WHA) probably comes from those who weren't attending both NHL and WHA games at the time.

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Also, the level of toughness in that league was 2nd to none (including the Flyers and Bruins). The Fighting Saints could have won a lot of games by simply intimidating their opposition at a time in the NHL where some teams weren't ready to play that way.
They itimidated me and I was a fan. To me, WHA means the all-plexiglass boards at the Civic Center.

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07-31-2012, 06:02 PM
  #66
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Thirty years after the first WHA season, I was talking to one of the original Jets, who had also played in the NHL and he told me that he was scared whenever they were going to play the Fighting Saints.

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08-01-2012, 02:07 AM
  #67
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The WHA vs. NHL exhibition games:
http://www.whahockey.com/whavsnhl.html

Quote:
1972 No exhibition games were played.

1973 No exhibition games were played.

1974 (September 26 - October 6)
Houston Aeros 5, St. Louis Blues 3
New England Whalers 2, Philadelphia Flyers 4
Winnpeg Jets 1, Atlanta Flames 3
San Diego Mariners 4, California Golden Seals 3
Toronto Toros 3, Minnesota North Stars 5
Edmonton Oilers 3, Vancouver Canucks 4
Cleveland Crusaders 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 5

1975 No exhibition games were played.

1976 (September 21 - October 1)
Birmingham Bulls 7, Atlanta Flames 6
Houston Aeros 1, Pittsburgh Penguins 5
Calgary Cowboys 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 7
Calgary Cowboys 4, St Louis Blues 1
Winnipeg Jets 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Edmonton Oilers 1, Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Indianapolis Racers 1, Washington Capitals 2
Winnipeg Jets 6, St. Louis Blues 2
New England Whalers 2, New York Rangers 2


1977(September 25 - October 10)
New England Whalers 2, Chicago Black Hawks 2
New England Whalers 5, Washington Capitals 4
Winnipeg Jets 1, Minnesota North Stars 2
Birmingham Bulls 0, Atlanta Flames 3
New England Whalers 7, New York Rangers 4
New England Whalers 0, Boston Bruins 5
Winnipeg Jets 4, Minnesota North Stars 3
Edmonton Oilers 3, St.Louis Blues 2
New England Whalers 5, Atlanta Flames 4
Houston Aeros 3, Atlanta Flames 5
Winnipeg Jets 6, St.Louis Blues 2
Winnipeg Jets 3, St Louis Blues 0
New England Whalers 9, Pittsburgh Penguins 0
Birmingham Bulls 0, St. Louis Blues 4
Quebec Nordiques 5, New York Rangers 5
Edmonton Oilers 5, Detroit Red Wings 4
New England Whalers 4, Atlanta Flames 3
Edmonton Oilers 2, Cleveland Barons 4
Winnipeg Jets 1, Detroit Red Wings 0
Quebec Nordiques 5, Washington Capitals 1

1978(September 23 - October 8)
New England Whalers 5, Washington Capitals 2
Winnipeg Jets 2, St. Louis Blues 2
Winnipeg Jets 3, Colorado Rockies 5
Quebec Nordiques 3, Colorado Rockies 2
New England Whalers 5, New York Islanders 2
Birmingham Bulls 4, Atlanta Flames 2
Winnipeg Jets 2, New York Rangers 4
Quebec Nordiques 4, Washington Capitals 7
Quebec Nordiques 5, Minnesota North Stars 2
New England Whalers 5, Washington Capitals 1
Winnipeg Jets 4, New York Rangers 7
New England Whalers 5, Detroit Red Wings 7
Edmonton Oilers 4, Minnesota North Stars 2
Quebec Nordiques 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 0
New England Whalers 3, Detroit Red Wings 0
Edmonton Oilers 5, Vancouver Canucks 3
Quebec Nordiques 5, Chicago Black Hawks 2
Winnipeg Jets 5, Minnesota North Stars 5
Birmingham Bulls 3, St Louis Blues 4
New England Whalers 4, Chicago Black Hawks 4
Indianapolis Racers 4, St Louis Blues 1
Edmonton Oilers 3, Minnesota North Stars 9
Quebec Nordiques 4, New York Rangers 1
Cincinnati Stingers 6, Pittsburgh Penguins 4
Edmonton Oilers 6, Colorado Rockies 4
Winnipeg Jets 6, Minnesota North Stars 5
New England Whalers 4, New York Rangers 4
Exhibition games are exhibition games, but is there some conclusion to be drawn from this? Well, the top WHA teams did beat the weaker NHL teams regularly, not much question about that. Too bad that the Flyers and the Bruins apparently played only 1 game each (both wins), and neither the Habs nor the Sabres played at all.

The best win IMO:
New England Whalers vs. NY Islanders 5-2 (1978)

The Quebec Nordiques beating the NY Rangers 4-1 in the fall of 1978 is also pretty impressive (although I guess the Rangers were a bit of a 'cinderella team' that season).


Last edited by VMBM: 08-01-2012 at 02:13 AM.
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08-01-2012, 04:43 AM
  #68
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Scoring Chances

Quote:
Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
Of course there was a difference in the styles in that regard too. But you can't explain the 38-13 gap of the 1975 New Year's game like that. And I don't think that the Red Army had many great scoring chances outside the 3 goals in the game - except for the Russian player (was it Popov?) hitting the post during the final minutes.

If we take the 1975-76 Super series between CSKA and NHL, in the Montreal and Philadelphia (the Flyers outshot them 49-13) games, the shots REALLY tell the story and about the NHL domination pretty accurately.

In the Boston game (Boston outshooting CSKA 40-19), it's definitely a different story. I wouldn't say that the Bruins dominated the game - except in the first period, and even in that CSKA still had 4-5 great scoring chances too... and of course, they ended up winning the game 5-2.
As for the NY Rangers game (the Rangers outshooting CSKA 41-29), yep, the shots definitely 'lie' and it shows their different attitude about shooting; CSKA won by a score of 7-3 and they were way better. But I think those 41 shots against them still tell that their defence/defensive play wasn't very good back then. The same thing with the Boston game.
Not really a reflection of style, rather a question of statistical reporting. The more subjective "Scoring Chances" stats never received much traction even though it may have provided an alternative comparable to SOG.

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