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How were NHL and European teams selected for the Super Series

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Old
02-19-2013, 06:00 PM
  #1
darkhorse686
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How were NHL and European teams selected for the Super Series

Did the clubs from the behind Iron Curtain request to play certain clubs, was it total lottery, or something else?

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02-20-2013, 03:24 PM
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Big Phil
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I know the NHL wanted to have their best teams play the Soviets which I am sure the Soviets agreed with. I wasn't there for any backdoor meetings but looking at the teams they played it was more or less the 8 best teams in the NHL. The Red Army played Boston, NYR, Philly and Montreal while the Soviet Wings played Buffalo, Pittsburgh, NYI and Chicago.

Overall they went 5-2-1 against the NHL teams. I guess it is important to note that Buffalo trounced them 12-6, Philly beat them 4-1 and Montreal tied them 3-3. In a nutshell that was probably the three best teams in the NHL at that time and the NHL didn't lose. It was one of those series where there seemed to be two winners, kind of like 1972 when Canada officially won but the close games earned the Soviets some respect and made it feel like a victory for them in a way too - eventually.

On paper 5-2-1 seems like a convincing win but the top 3 teams outplayed them badly, even Montreal. The climax of the Series was Philly's trouncing. Always surprised the Leafs never played them. They finished with more points in the season than three of those teams. With Sittler, McDonald and Salming on that team they would have had at least been competitive.

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02-20-2013, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Always surprised the Leafs never played them. They finished with more points in the season than three of those teams. With Sittler, McDonald and Salming on that team they would have had at least been competitive.
Someone will pull the exact quote, but Ballard never would have allowed it.

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02-20-2013, 03:50 PM
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Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Taco MacArthur View Post
Someone will pull the exact quote, but Ballard never would have allowed it.
Ah, right. It is mentioned in Phil Esposito's book that in a meeting sometime during the 1980s when they were talking about Russian teams playing NHL teams again that Ballard said "As long as there is a hole in my a**" he would never allow Russians at Maple Leaf Gardens. Yes, it was Ballard for sure.

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02-20-2013, 08:23 PM
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cam042686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I know the NHL wanted to have their best teams play the Soviets which I am sure the Soviets agreed with. I wasn't there for any backdoor meetings but looking at the teams they played it was more or less the 8 best teams in the NHL. The Red Army played Boston, NYR, Philly and Montreal while the Soviet Wings played Buffalo, Pittsburgh, NYI and Chicago.

Overall they went 5-2-1 against the NHL teams. I guess it is important to note that Buffalo trounced them 12-6, Philly beat them 4-1 and Montreal tied them 3-3. In a nutshell that was probably the three best teams in the NHL at that time and the NHL didn't lose. It was one of those series where there seemed to be two winners, kind of like 1972 when Canada officially won but the close games earned the Soviets some respect and made it feel like a victory for them in a way too - eventually.

On paper 5-2-1 seems like a convincing win but the top 3 teams outplayed them badly, even Montreal. The climax of the Series was Philly's trouncing. Always surprised the Leafs never played them. They finished with more points in the season than three of those teams. With Sittler, McDonald and Salming on that team they would have had at least been competitive.
I'd say Boston was one of the top 4-5 teams in the NHL that year and they lost 5-2 although they were not disgraced.

Craig Wallace

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02-20-2013, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I know the NHL wanted to have their best teams play the Soviets which I am sure the Soviets agreed with. I wasn't there for any backdoor meetings but looking at the teams they played it was more or less the 8 best teams in the NHL. The Red Army played Boston, NYR, Philly and Montreal while the Soviet Wings played Buffalo, Pittsburgh, NYI and Chicago.

Overall they went 5-2-1 against the NHL teams. I guess it is important to note that Buffalo trounced them 12-6, Philly beat them 4-1 and Montreal tied them 3-3. In a nutshell that was probably the three best teams in the NHL at that time and the NHL didn't lose. It was one of those series where there seemed to be two winners, kind of like 1972 when Canada officially won but the close games earned the Soviets some respect and made it feel like a victory for them in a way too - eventually.

On paper 5-2-1 seems like a convincing win but the top 3 teams outplayed them badly, even Montreal. The climax of the Series was Philly's trouncing. Always surprised the Leafs never played them. They finished with more points in the season than three of those teams. With Sittler, McDonald and Salming on that team they would have had at least been competitive.
Nice analysis, this is mostly how I remember it and have read about it.

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02-22-2013, 08:16 AM
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The choices were evidently based on the 74-75 results and standings.

The obvious choices:

CSKA Moscow: Reigning Soviet champions.
Krylja Sovietov Moscow: Vice-champions.
Philadelphia Flyers: #1 in the Campbell Conference, #1 in the regular season, Stanley Cup champions.
Buffalo Sabres: #1 in the Wales Conference, #2 in the regular season, Stanley Cup finalists.
Montreal Canadiens: #2 in the Wales Conference, #3 in the regular season, semi-finalists. Plus most prestigious NHL team, adored by Europeans.
New York Rangers: #2 in the Campbell Conference.
New York Islanders: #3 in the Campbell Conference, semi-finalists.

The other choices:

Boston Bruins: #4 in the Wales Conference - behind the Los Angeles Kings.
Pittsburgh Penguins: #5 in the Wales Conference - behind the Los Angeles Kings.
Chicago Blackhawks: #6 in the Campbell Conference - behind the Vancouver Canucks and Saint Louis Blues.

It's easy to see why they didn't send the Soviets on a trip to the Pacific for just 2 games, so that explains why Los Angeles and Vancouver were left out. Saint Louis over Chicago would have been a possibility though, although Chicago is a bit more eastward. In one sentence: The NHL went with the best teams of 1974-1975 who were available in the east.

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02-22-2013, 04:36 PM
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darkhorse686
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
In one sentence: The NHL went with the best teams of 1974-1975 who were available in the east.
Reasonable. I saw how good the Kings were in 74-75 and the fact that both St. Louis and Vancouver finished higher than Chicago, which left me perplexed.

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02-22-2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Ah, right. It is mentioned in Phil Esposito's book that in a meeting sometime during the 1980s when they were talking about Russian teams playing NHL teams again that Ballard said "As long as there is a hole in my a**" he would never allow Russians at Maple Leaf Gardens. Yes, it was Ballard for sure.
I never understood why he allowed the use of the MLG for the one of the Canada Cups (1976?) but none of the others. I also found a game on YouTube with the Moscow Selects playing the Marlies in MLG for a friendly game in 1972. Was Ballard in jail by then?

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02-22-2013, 04:52 PM
  #10
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Always surprised the Leafs never played them. They finished with more points in the season than three of those teams. With Sittler, McDonald and Salming on that team they would have had at least been competitive.
I think you have another season in mind, Phil. Leafs finished with a losing record in '75 though they made the playoffs. The league would not have deemed them strong enough for the Super Series.

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02-23-2013, 04:28 AM
  #11
Theokritos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
On paper 5-2-1 seems like a convincing win but the top 3 teams outplayed them badly, even Montreal.
Personally I don't think Krylja Sovietov scores three victories without the reinforcements from another club, Spartak Moscow. The line of Yakushev - Shadrin - Shalimov was the best Soviet forward line that season and they had their favourite puck-moving defenceman Yuri Lyapkin with them. They scored 5 goals in the 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh, 2 in the 4-2 over Chicago, 1 in the 2-1 against the Islanders. Subtract their goals and Krylja Sovietov is not 3-1-0, but 0-2-2 instead. The overall 5-2-1 turns into 2-3-3.

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02-23-2013, 08:43 AM
  #12
aemoreira1981
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhorse686 View Post
I never understood why he allowed the use of the MLG for the one of the Canada Cups (1976?) but none of the others. I also found a game on YouTube with the Moscow Selects playing the Marlies in MLG for a friendly game in 1972. Was Ballard in jail by then?
He was...and he eventually billed Hockey Canada for use of Maple Leaf Gardens.

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