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If USSR national team played an NHL season

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06-15-2013, 12:52 AM
  #1
Hammer Time
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If USSR national team played an NHL season

Imagine if the Soviet national team, sometime near the height of its powers in the early 80s, joined the NHL as an expansion team. Assume that the Soviets are provided a "home" rink somewhere in North America, and when playing at that rink the Soviets get last change. (So no "the Soviets wouldn't do well because of a horrible travel schedule" comments). They then play a full 80 game schedule like any other NHL team.

The USSR always dominated international competition, but in this scenario two of their usual advantages would be negated - first, they would be playing on North American ice under NHL rules, and second, they would be playing "real" teams which play and practice together all season.

How well would they have done in the standings? And how far would they go in the playoffs - could they win the Stanley Cup (which would require them to beat the dynasty Isles in a best-of-7)?

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06-15-2013, 01:16 AM
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Hardyvan123
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They would most definitely be a playoff team and could go deep into the playoffs.

the 81 team won the Canada cup and I'm sure they could compete with any NHL team of that time.

In 81

Balderis was 28
Makarov was 22
Larinov was 20
Krutov was 20
Fetisov was 22
Kasatonov was 21
Starkov was 21
Maltsev 32
Babinov 26
Tretiak was 29
Shepelev was 26
Khomutov was 20 ect...

The team rocked had a great mix of youth with the KLM line and great veterans too


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06-15-2013, 01:31 AM
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Killion
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It would depend on who's Coaching, how much freedom the player wouldve had with respect to personal integration into the community, wherever that might be that you think they might land, and just general focus, concentration. That they would be a slam dunk playoff team ignores reality, life at ground zero. These guys were prepped to win tournaments, not a 78, 80 or 82 game marathon of a season. In fact, even plucking Tretiak, Kharlamov or whatever other "legendary" Soviet era player off that team and declaring theyd be a Superstar is an exercise in beyond fertile imaginings.

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06-15-2013, 01:41 AM
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Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
It would depend on who's Coaching, how much freedom the player wouldve had with respect to personal integration into the community, wherever that might be that you think they might land, and just general focus, concentration. That they would be a slam dunk playoff team ignores reality, life at ground zero. These guys were prepped to win tournaments, not a 78, 80 or 82 game marathon of a season. In fact, even plucking Tretiak, Kharlamov or whatever other "legendary" Soviet era player off that team and declaring theyd be a Superstar is an exercise in beyond fertile imaginings.
I think it's fair to say that this team would be on an 80 game tournament given the political conditions in the USSR at the time and yes a playoff spot would ahve been a slam dunk for this team.

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06-15-2013, 01:46 AM
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octopi
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Theoretcially, in the era they existed they would have been one of the dominant teams(well, some years anyways)

it's hard to imagine them coping well with all the hostility though. People could barely tolerate individual Russian players in the 08's-early 90's, a whole team would have been shunned. Eventually things would get really nasty and dirty(Bobby Clarke=Our hero) and I'm sure it wouldn't be long before they were defending themselves in kind.

...now I'm just sad for humanity

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06-15-2013, 01:48 AM
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Stonewall
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Their national anthem would have been worth the price of admission.

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06-15-2013, 01:58 AM
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Hardyvan123
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I think the experiment would have been very interesting, but impossible in reality.

How does it affect the Oilers legacy?

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06-15-2013, 02:08 AM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
I think it's fair to say that this team would be on an 80 game tournament given the political conditions in the USSR at the time and yes a playoff spot would ahve been a slam dunk for this team.
Totally disagree Hv. Dont believe theyd have been successful playing 80 games. Collapsed like a cheap cardboard suitcase from Army-Navy in the rain.... at a Bus Stop.

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Originally Posted by octopi View Post
Theoretcially, in the era they existed they would have been one of the dominant teams(well, some years anyways)..
Not buyin it octopi. The Soviets were built to Sprint. Tournament Hockey. In my day we referred to that as Womens Hockey. Ya savvy?...

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06-15-2013, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Totally disagree Hv. Dont believe theyd have been successful playing 80 games. Collapsed like a cheap cardboard suitcase from Army-Navy in the rain.... at a Bus Stop.



Not buyin it octopi. The Soviets were built to Sprint. Tournament Hockey. In my day we referred to that as Womens Hockey. Ya savvy?...
You do realise that the soviet players had a regular season in soviet too right? playing 50 games add that too constantly having to prove themselves to north america for some reason and voila, stanley cup contenders

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06-15-2013, 07:32 AM
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Sentinel
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Killion: CSKA alone defeated the Mighty Oilers in 1985! Both CSKA and Dynamo have winning records against NHL clubs!

And I don't buy that traveling would affect them so much. Take a flight from Moscow to Chelyabinsk if you don't believe me.

Some players would have a problem adapting, but most would do just fine. Bure and Mogilny shined in USSR and shined in NHL.

There's no doubt in my mind that CSKA would be the Cup contender year after year, and the National Team would do even better, probably winning every time. Remember, Gretzky would not be playing with Lemieux to face them! Dave Semenko would be on his team

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06-15-2013, 07:41 AM
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PsychoDad
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They would be an NHL dynasty. I mean, all the best players from 1st to 2nd best worldwide hockey programms playing together as a team for years? Edmonton Oilers wouldn't have happened.

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06-15-2013, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octopi View Post
Theoretcially, in the era they existed they would have been one of the dominant teams(well, some years anyways)

it's hard to imagine them coping well with all the hostility though. People could barely tolerate individual Russian players in the 08's-early 90's, a whole team would have been shunned. Eventually things would get really nasty and dirty(Bobby Clarke=Our hero) and I'm sure it wouldn't be long before they were defending themselves in kind.

...now I'm just sad for humanity
Plz dont make the Soviet players look like figure skaters. While I am not very familiar with the 70 and 80s teams, they most definitely had some tougher guys. The 90s generation featured guys like Ulanov, Zelepukin, Konstantinov, i'm sure there were several of these players in the USSR earlier too. Fetisov was a tough customer for sure.

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06-15-2013, 10:20 AM
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Hardyvan123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Totally disagree Hv. Dont believe theyd have been successful playing 80 games. Collapsed like a cheap cardboard suitcase from Army-Navy in the rain.... at a Bus Stop.



Not buyin it octopi. The Soviets were built to Sprint. Tournament Hockey. In my day we referred to that as Womens Hockey. Ya savvy?...
Totally disagree here we saw how Larionov and Makarov did when they were reunited in San Jose when Igor was 33 and Sergei was 35

Sergei 80-30-38-68
Igor 60-18-38-56

In the playoff the reunited pair led the Sharks to an upset 1st round win over the Mighty Detroit Red Wings.

Igor 14-5-13-18
Sergei 14-8-2-10

Imagine those two in their young 20's with Krutov in the high flying early 80's?

Igor went on to have very good seasons in his late 30's as , playing in Detroit which used a system much like the Soviets did.

Just like Hamilton in baseball has a chaperon to stay away from drugs, they could have a similar doughnut deterrent for Krutov to keep him on the straight and narrow.


Last edited by Hardyvan123: 06-15-2013 at 10:25 AM.
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06-15-2013, 10:41 AM
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Maybe I'm way out to lunch here, but couldn't we just look at the CKSA team, which is mostly the same guys, probably minus some stars from Dynamo, and their dominant record against NHL clubs? So, you improve that team, and give it actual home games instead of nearly every game being on the road, PLUS let them beat up on less marquee teams like the Nucks, Wings, Devils.......

I agree that the length of schedule would be difficult, and it might even take a year to adapt, like it did Peter Stastny (who mentioned he was NOT ready for that long or tough of a season)... but this is a team built to beat Team Canada, and on a semi-regular basis actually DID, and now we spread the Canadian talent over 21 teams and are wondering if they would make the playoffs???

This has got to be a Canadian board.

I'm not convinced they would beat the Oilers or Islanders, and they would have trouble with the grind, at least at first - but they were everything exceot exactly equal to Team Canada in 87, and THAT was played at playoff intensity, with 80's NHL refs... all conspiracies aside, they proved that they could hang with a concentrated Canadian Supersquad, on their ice, with their refs, under their rules.... but maybe they couldn't have made the playoffs when 16/21 teams did?

They'd at least make the playoffs. They would very likely be every bit as good as the Flames or Flyers in those days. I personally think they would take a Cup or two, and be in the Final 4 more often than not (depending on Divisional alottment) I think the Oil would still be better, but I could see that Russian team rolling over everyone, especially as they ADJUSTED to our game.

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06-15-2013, 12:02 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
There's no doubt in my mind that CSKA would be the Cup contender year after year, and the National Team would do even better, probably winning every time. Remember, Gretzky would not be playing with Lemieux to face them! Dave Semenko would be on his team
Ok. I'll go along with that, provided their cultural & social integration into North American society was smooth, no problem, I agree they'd be a powerhouse. I was applying the norms, the more's of the era, from the late 50's through the 60's & mid-70's. How the players would react, handle the freedoms of the West, an Alien World in many ways to the regimentation & subjugation they'd been born into... though thats interesting as well, as during the Sponsorship era in the NHL, C Forms, players rights, in many ways actually akin to the Soviet System, indentured servitude, no real freedom any way. Fun topic, thing to imagine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyvan123 View Post
Totally disagree here we saw how Larionov and Makarov did when they were reunited in San Jose when Igor was 33 and Sergei was 35..
Ya, great points Hv, but in terms of context, I was referencing an earlier era as per my reply to Sentinel above. From the mid-80's on, Glasnost etc, entirely different dynamic, parameters.

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06-15-2013, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PsychoDad View Post
They would be an NHL dynasty. I mean, all the best players from 1st to 2nd best worldwide hockey programms playing together as a team for years? Edmonton Oilers wouldn't have happened.
Oilers still would have done well and probably won a couple cups. Gretzky in particular always did extremely well against the Soviets. They probably don't win 5 in 7 years though.

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06-15-2013, 12:17 PM
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06-15-2013, 02:35 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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If they play the 80 game schedule in NA, the Soviet team disintegrates by Christmas time. There would be defections, mutinies and a whole lot of unfocused hockey because of the distractions NA culture presents. Its really hard to say how many of the Soviet players would not be affected by this culture shock and continue to play effective hockey. The team would have to continue to bring new players over to replace the distracted ones. Team chemistry would suffer as with team morale. Tikhonov might quit or admit himself to hospital for chronic ulcers.

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