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Which Team Canada faced the most pressure? Rank them

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02-25-2013, 04:30 PM
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Big Phil
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Which Team Canada faced the most pressure? Rank them

Alright I know what you are thinking, EVERY team faced pressure to win the Olympics/World Cup. However, I would think there was a bit of urgency with some more than others. Not to discount any other team since we all love hockey in this country and put pressure on all of them but I think I can fairly rank the pressure put on each team with a top 5 list.

#1 Team Canada 1972 - Yeah it was supposed to be a cakewalk but there was a ton of pressure on this team. Clarence Campbell stepped up and said it would be a disgrace if Canada lost even one game. This was the time for us to step up and show the world what happens when you play OUR best and not our amateurs. Plus Orr and Hull weren't there. The more experienced Cheevers couldn't play. That left what we forget were somewhat new kids on the block in Tony O and Dryden. Lots of pressure on this team and it intensified as the games went to Russia.

#2 Team Canada 2010 - We had a disaster Olympics in 2006 that I still hate to talk about. We had home ice in 2010, we had Sidney Crosby and the team that was supposed to give us the biggest threat, Russia, had an outstanding team on paper. There wasn't a weakness on this team and to lose at home at OUR game in front of the whole world. Yikes. We had to win this one and when the team didn't come out of the gate flying in the round robin I think the heat got cranked up. I loved that line up at that time and still do looking back on it. There are going to be at least a dozen HHOFers on that team and if we couldn't win with that team.............well, maybe it would be about time to admit we aren't the best.

#3 Team Canada 2002 - We lost in the 1996 World Cup and 1998 Olympics in dramatic fashion. There was an inquiry about our game, and almost a bit of panic in our country. This was a very experienced team and Russia, Sweden and USA had great teams. The Czechs had Hasek still at that time too. It wasn't on home soil, but it was in the U.S. and there were enough Canadians who were there to witness it. But man, you lose three of these tournaments in a row and who is going to call Canada the best anymore? I remember how we would never have heard the end of it if Canada lost to the U.S.

#4 Team Canada 1987 - Rendez Vous was a prelude to just how good this Russian team was going to be. We knew it. Mike Keenan knew it too. The Russians were stung after losing to us in 1984 and this was perhaps the best team they ever iced. You've got a prime Gretzky and a Lemieux on the verge of exploding and the games are often played in Copps Coliseum of a city that doesn't have an NHL franchise so they rally around this team. There was lots of pressure on this team.

#5 Team Canada 1984 - The Soviets had been beating the tar out of Canadian team for a few years. The big mess in the 1979 Challenge Cup. The 1981 Canada Cup. This was 1984 and Canada had a team built by Glen Sather who chose a lot of Oilers knowing full well this was a team who had to skate well. Looking back there was a few selections you have to wonder about but Sather knew what he was doing and he didn't want another 1981 on his hands. There were also some Islanders on the team and eventually the Oilers and Islanders teamed up to win the tournament and in poetic fashion beat Russia in the semis. Canada would have been 2nd best for much of the 1980s had they lost this one.

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02-25-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
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Alright I know what you are thinking, EVERY team faced pressure to win the Olympics/World Cup. However, I would think there was a bit of urgency with some more than others. Not to discount any other team since we all love hockey in this country and put pressure on all of them but I think I can fairly rank the pressure put on each team with a top 5 list.

#1 Team Canada 1972 - Yeah it was supposed to be a cakewalk but there was a ton of pressure on this team. Clarence Campbell stepped up and said it would be a disgrace if Canada lost even one game. This was the time for us to step up and show the world what happens when you play OUR best and not our amateurs. Plus Orr and Hull weren't there. The more experienced Cheevers couldn't play. That left what we forget were somewhat new kids on the block in Tony O and Dryden. Lots of pressure on this team and it intensified as the games went to Russia.

#2 Team Canada 2010 - We had a disaster Olympics in 2006 that I still hate to talk about. We had home ice in 2010, we had Sidney Crosby and the team that was supposed to give us the biggest threat, Russia, had an outstanding team on paper. There wasn't a weakness on this team and to lose at home at OUR game in front of the whole world. Yikes. We had to win this one and when the team didn't come out of the gate flying in the round robin I think the heat got cranked up. I loved that line up at that time and still do looking back on it. There are going to be at least a dozen HHOFers on that team and if we couldn't win with that team.............well, maybe it would be about time to admit we aren't the best.

#3 Team Canada 2002 - We lost in the 1996 World Cup and 1998 Olympics in dramatic fashion. There was an inquiry about our game, and almost a bit of panic in our country. This was a very experienced team and Russia, Sweden and USA had great teams. The Czechs had Hasek still at that time too. It wasn't on home soil, but it was in the U.S. and there were enough Canadians who were there to witness it. But man, you lose three of these tournaments in a row and who is going to call Canada the best anymore? I remember how we would never have heard the end of it if Canada lost to the U.S.

#4 Team Canada 1987 - Rendez Vous was a prelude to just how good this Russian team was going to be. We knew it. Mike Keenan knew it too. The Russians were stung after losing to us in 1984 and this was perhaps the best team they ever iced. You've got a prime Gretzky and a Lemieux on the verge of exploding and the games are often played in Copps Coliseum of a city that doesn't have an NHL franchise so they rally around this team. There was lots of pressure on this team.

#5 Team Canada 1984 - The Soviets had been beating the tar out of Canadian team for a few years. The big mess in the 1979 Challenge Cup. The 1981 Canada Cup. This was 1984 and Canada had a team built by Glen Sather who chose a lot of Oilers knowing full well this was a team who had to skate well. Looking back there was a few selections you have to wonder about but Sather knew what he was doing and he didn't want another 1981 on his hands. There were also some Islanders on the team and eventually the Oilers and Islanders teamed up to win the tournament and in poetic fashion beat Russia in the semis. Canada would have been 2nd best for much of the 1980s had they lost this one.
I would put the Vancouver 2010 team at #1. I mean if you guys had lost to Team USA on your home ice your country probably would have seen a decline in the population.

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02-25-2013, 04:41 PM
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So there was only pressure to win tournaments that Canada actually won?

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02-25-2013, 04:44 PM
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I would go with your first three selections and then go with the 84 CC team at #4 and the 81 CC team at #5. The 81 CC team had to face the disaster of the 79 CC (and the embarrassment of watching the 1980 US Olympic team upset that same Russian team) and the 84 CC team had to face the disaster of 79 and 81. The 87 CC team had the success of the 84 CC team under their belts with many of the same stars returning. That had to be a huge confidence builder. However, once they got into the final with the Russians, I don't think they expected them to be as good as they were. The pressure really mounted in the finals. That final really could have gone either way, like the 72 series. If Canada loses, yeah, its a huge disappointment, but at least they have won in 72, 76 and 84.

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02-25-2013, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
So there was only pressure to win tournaments that Canada actually won?
Well that's my personal list and it isn't written in stone or gospel by any means. You could easily put the 1998 team on there somewhere. The first Olympic team, having something to prove after the 1996 World Cup where they lost for the first time in 15 years. 1981 can come to mind as well. That was a Canadian team in a strange transition for whatever reason of their players.

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02-25-2013, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Well that's my personal list and it isn't written in stone or gospel by any means. You could easily put the 1998 team on there somewhere. The first Olympic team, having something to prove after the 1996 World Cup where they lost for the first time in 15 years. 1981 can come to mind as well. That was a Canadian team in a strange transition for whatever reason of their players.
From memory (which for the purposes of this, goes back to the 1996 World Cup), I think the media put the most pressure on the 2002 Canadian team, followed by the 1998 team (of the teams I remember).


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02-25-2013, 05:39 PM
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So there was only pressure to win tournaments that Canada actually won?
Had Canada done well in '06 the pressure on the team in '10 would've been lessened. There was extra pressure not just to win on home ice, but to erase the memories of 2006. Same for the 2002 team. I remember the panic when they lost to the Swedes and tied the Germans. It was the end of the world!!!

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02-25-2013, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Alright I know what you are thinking, EVERY team faced pressure to win the Olympics/World Cup. However, I would think there was a bit of urgency with some more than others. Not to discount any other team since we all love hockey in this country and put pressure on all of them but I think I can fairly rank the pressure put on each team with a top 5 list.

#1 Team Canada 1972 - Yeah it was supposed to be a cakewalk but there was a ton of pressure on this team. Clarence Campbell stepped up and said it would be a disgrace if Canada lost even one game. This was the time for us to step up and show the world what happens when you play OUR best and not our amateurs. Plus Orr and Hull weren't there. The more experienced Cheevers couldn't play. That left what we forget were somewhat new kids on the block in Tony O and Dryden. Lots of pressure on this team and it intensified as the games went to Russia.

.
Add a training camp that prepared them better for an "ice capades" show than the battle it turned out to be, and then having their ass handed to them in their own country with players considered "better than ever" with their high scoring mindset after the recent NHL expansion...then having to head to the Soviet Union with the Cold War as high as ever.

This Team essentially prepared with least pressure ever and it turned 180 degrees...

...Celsius.

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02-25-2013, 10:24 PM
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Had Canada done well in '06 the pressure on the team in '10 would've been lessened. There was extra pressure not just to win on home ice, but to erase the memories of 2006. Same for the 2002 team. I remember the panic when they lost to the Swedes and tied the Germans. It was the end of the world!!!
I'm not so sure about that. Basically a once in a lifetime chance to win the Olympics in your home country. Doesn't get much more pressure-packed than that.

Agree with your top 3, Phil. 2002 probably would have been bigger than 2010 had the Olympics been anywhere besides Canada. Ending a 50 year gold medal drought coming off the embarrassment of Nagano, plus knowing the Americans were the home team and had history on their side. The fact that the Americans were the opponent in the final just added to the pressure, especially since they beat us at the last World Cup. In fact, there might be an argument to be made that there was even more pressure in 2002 than 2010 in spite of the latter being on home soil.

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02-25-2013, 10:45 PM
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#4 Team Canada 1987 - Rendez Vous was a prelude to just how good this Russian team was going to be. We knew it. Mike Keenan knew it too. The Russians were stung after losing to us in 1984 and this was perhaps the best team they ever iced. You've got a prime Gretzky and a Lemieux on the verge of exploding and the games are often played in Copps Coliseum of a city that doesn't have an NHL franchise so they rally around this team. There was lots of pressure on this team..


Depth wise, 1987 Canada Cup was probably one of the worst Soviet teams ever.

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02-25-2013, 11:41 PM
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98 Olympics

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02-26-2013, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
#4 Team Canada 1987 - Rendez Vous was a prelude to just how good this Russian team was going to be. We knew it. Mike Keenan knew it too. The Russians were stung after losing to us in 1984 and this was perhaps the best team they ever iced. You've got a prime Gretzky and a Lemieux on the verge of exploding and the games are often played in Copps Coliseum of a city that doesn't have an NHL franchise so they rally around this team. There was lots of pressure on this team.
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Depth wise, 1987 Canada Cup was probably one of the worst Soviet teams ever.
In 1987 that group of Soviets was considered to be past their peak...they ended up playing phenomenally in the tournament, but I agree with Zine, personnel-wise there's no way they were viewed as the best Soviet team ever going into that tournament.

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02-26-2013, 12:25 AM
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Count me as another person who thinks 1998 should definitely be somewhere in the top 5.

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02-26-2013, 01:18 AM
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Depth wise, 1987 Canada Cup was probably one of the worst Soviet teams ever.
Not one of the worst at all. One of the best. A few have said best. I said "perhaps". 1984 didn't have Fetisov on the team. Maybe 1981 or 1979 are the best but 1987 had all the Russian 5. None of them were older than 29, so I wouldn't say they were past their peak at that time. You didn't watch that tournament at all? The kept pace with a Gretzky/Lemieux-led Canadian team. Maybe their goaltending could have been better, but that was one scary team.

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02-26-2013, 02:57 AM
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Not one of the worst at all. One of the best. A few have said best. I said "perhaps". 1984 didn't have Fetisov on the team. Maybe 1981 or 1979 are the best but 1987 had all the Russian 5. None of them were older than 29, so I wouldn't say they were past their peak at that time. You didn't watch that tournament at all? The kept pace with a Gretzky/Lemieux-led Canadian team. Maybe their goaltending could have been better, but that was one scary team.
Well, they have to have some excuse for the fact that the games were so close!

BTW, the 1981 Team USSR had all of the Russian five too, but the team had much more depth elsewhere. Yes, Makarov and especially Krutov were even better in the 1987 CC, but Larionov, for example, was in much better form in 1981.

The 1987 Soviet team would certainly be a contender for having the best top and 2nd line of any Soviet ntl team ever (KLM + Khomutov-Bykov-Kamensky), but no matter how you put it, IMO the best Soviet team of all-time doesn't have players like Lomakin, Priakhin, Khmylev (forwards) and Kravchuk, Stelnov and especially Fedotov (defense)

I can agree that the 1987 Team USSR played very well (or was allowed to play very well?), but they were far too dependent on their 1st and 2nd lines (scoring).

PS. Zine said DEPTH WISE, which is absolutely correct

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02-26-2013, 04:07 AM
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#1 1972 - I would say this.
#2 1998 - my personal favourite

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02-26-2013, 06:48 AM
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I think a loss in 2002 would have been a real blow to Canada's standing as the best in the world. It would have been the third loss in a best-on-best in six years plus we were without gold in the WJC's for three years.

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02-26-2013, 07:03 AM
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1972 is the obvious number 1, and I agree that 2010 and 2002 are numbers 2 and 3. After that, any number of tournaments can be selected. 1981 followed the poor performance in 1979. 1984 followed the massive finals loss in 1981. 1998 was the first meaningful Olympic tournament for Canada and came after the 1996 loss. I don't think 1987 really qualifies, mainly because the pressure really ratchets up following a tournament loss.

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02-26-2013, 01:40 PM
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Honest question for anyone who remembers. Was there a lot of pressure on the 81 team, after the NHL defeat in the 79 Challenge Series?

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02-26-2013, 02:20 PM
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Not one of the worst at all. One of the best. A few have said best. I said "perhaps". 1984 didn't have Fetisov on the team. Maybe 1981 or 1979 are the best but 1987 had all the Russian 5. None of them were older than 29, so I wouldn't say they were past their peak at that time. You didn't watch that tournament at all? The kept pace with a Gretzky/Lemieux-led Canadian team. Maybe their goaltending could have been better, but that was one scary team.

Disagree strongly. Relative to other notable Soviet NT's, the 1987 CC team was sub-par.

-Soviet goaltending was at an all-time low with Mylnikov/Belosheikin,
-The teams' defensive depth was awful
-Due to several injuries, the #2 line didn't even play (great line of Yashin-Semyonov-Svetlov).


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02-26-2013, 03:46 PM
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I do not want to sound pompous but if there were a scale of pressure measuring 1 - 10 then 1972 vs the Soviets began as a 9 for we thought 6-2 in games but that pressure rose dramatically well past 10 after game 5 when the team had to win the last 3 games. We were in the midst of the Cold War, Communism, Bad Guy Soviets, Cultural Life Styles, ask Phil Esposito, I am speaking as a Canadian who was 19 at the time. We could not lose to them!!! Their players trained 12 months a year and were part of the Red Army.
2. The 2010 Olympics at 9.5 peaceful pressure on home soil.
3. The 1976 Canada Cup at 9 was 1st world competition, 1987 Canada Cup Soviet Team very strong
4. Olympics Nagano, Salt Lake, World Cup 1996 & 2000 all at 8.5 for Canada is always a favourite
5. Canada Cup 1981 was 8, except lost badly
6. Canada Cup 1991 was 7.5 strong favourite as Soviet Union dissolved into Union of ... States but Europe in an upheaval.
7. Canada Cup 1984 was 7, confidence low after years of losses to Soviets at all levels, dropped to a 4 after round-robin but rose after beating Soviets in O.T. in semis.
8. NHL had pressure for Super Series 76 - 8.5, Challenge, 2 games'79 -8, Rendezvous'87 2 games - 8.
I personally prefer the 2010 pressure vs 1972. Enjoy the great game.

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02-27-2013, 05:38 AM
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Team Canada 77 faced a lot of pressure that year in the World Championships.

That was the first year we sent professionals to that tournament. As the tournament went on, pressure got more intense as Canada struggled on the ice (losing 11-1 and 8-1 to USSR) and struggled with their behavior. There was intense media criticism and criticism from the Canadian Parliament for such actions as Walt McKecknie firing a puck at an opponents head, Phil Esposito chasing an official off the ice, Wilf Paiment skating over to Alexandr Yakushev at the face-off circle and pulling his skates out from under him, Eric Vail swinging his stick at a Soviet player's head, etc.

Craig Wallace

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02-27-2013, 12:05 PM
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One example that cannot be overlooked and was huge for Canadians was 1955.

That year the Penticton Vees represented Canada in the World Championships played in Krefeld West Germany. This followed the debacle (for Canadians) of 1954 when the Soviet Union in their first ever appearance in the World Championships stunned the world by blasting Canada 7-2 in the Gold Medal game. That loss to the Soviets was on par to our loss to the Soviets in Game 1 of 1972. Canada was simply stunned. And add in 1954 was also the Cold War and, well, Canadians were also livid.

The pressure on the Vees in 1955 to restore Canada’s honor was massive. Foster Hewitt missed his first Hockey Night in Canada broadcast in over 20 years to travel to Krefeld and broadcast the Canada/Soviet game live back to Canada. Every major media organization in Canada covered the Vees. And when Penticton beat the Soviets 5-0 for the Gold Medal there was a massive outpouring of joy across Canada.

I go through all of this, as well as trials and tribulations of such great Canadian teams as the Whitby Dunlops, Trail Smoke Eaters, Father David Bauer’s “Nats,” etc., in my book “The Forgotten Summit.” It is important to note that 1972 wasn’t the beginning of international hockey for Canada.

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02-27-2013, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
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-Soviet goaltending was at an all-time low with Mylnikov/Belosheikin,
Maybe so (and let's be honest, Soviet/Russian goaltending has never been brilliant beyond Tretiak) but I thought Belosheikin was excellent in game 2 of the 87 CC. I'd even go so far as to say if they'd played him in game 3 they might have won.

Just read for the first time that he committed suicide in 1999 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evgeny_Belosheikin). That's a bummer.

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02-27-2013, 09:12 PM
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The 1996 World Cup was a debacle. So much so that the brass of Team Canada panicked, and built their entire 1998 Olympic team with a singular focus of beating the Americans.

This is why there was so many grinders and physical players on that team.

Primeau
Linden
Brind'Amour
Corson
Zamuner

They were under extreme pressure to win, and viewed only the USA as a threat as a result of what happened in 1996.

The result, however, was completely devastating to Hockey Canada.

The pressure on the 1998 team was much greater than the pressure on the 1987 team.

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