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CSKA Moscow vs. Montreal, Dec. 31, 1975

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12-11-2005, 10:48 AM
  #1
wilka91*
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CSKA Moscow vs. Montreal, Dec. 31, 1975

I heard or read somewhere that this was the best hockey game ever played.

Has anyone seen it, and if yes, how was it?


Last edited by wilka91*: 12-11-2005 at 10:56 AM.
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12-11-2005, 11:10 AM
  #2
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At the time it was but I could argue a few since. ('ie. 87 Canada Cup).

What made that game so special was not only the talent but the heavy emotion in those games at the time. You have to remember it was during the height of the Cold War, Vietnam and just finished. It was more like our system versus theirs.

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12-11-2005, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rather Gingerly 1
At the time it was but I could argue a few since. ('ie. 87 Canada Cup).

What made that game so special was not only the talent but the heavy emotion in those games at the time. You have to remember it was during the height of the Cold War, Vietnam and just finished. It was more like our system versus theirs.
I wasn't around back then, but I've read all of the newspaper headlines from a few days before that game (December 1975). There was a sense of fear that the Russians would actually beat the Canadiens. The other club team that came over, the Soviet Wings, had embarrased the Penguins a couple of nights earlier, and I think CSKA took out the Rangers as well. There were some articles that suggested that Bowman should adjust his style, otherwise the Russians would skate around Montreal's defense. Simply by reading the articles, you could sense a little bit of worry from the writers.

I also read the articles after the game, and the tone was completely different. The Habs completely outplayed the Russians (39-13 in shots or something like that), and would have easily won if not for the heroics of Tretiak. Still, it was an interesting matchup that pitted arguably the two best teams in the world (although the Stanley Cup Champs, the Flyers would beg to differ).

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12-11-2005, 12:09 PM
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Yes, I've seen it twice and I've seen 87' Canada Cup and still I like this game more.

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12-11-2005, 01:02 PM
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No, no, No way. That was a very sloppy game on the Russian side. Passing was sloppy. And a rather wanting attack.

I just think the Canadians made a big deal out of it because 1) the Habs outplayed CSKA, 2) their favorite Tretiak was good, 3) this one really makes a good illistration for the case of superiority of Canadian hockey against a worthy oponent.

I would take any Randevouz or Canada Cup'87 game over it.

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12-11-2005, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Den
No, no, No way. That was a very sloppy game on the Russian side. Passing was sloppy. And a rather wanting attack.

I just think the Canadians made a big deal out of it because 1) the Habs outplayed CSKA, 2) their favorite Tretiak was good, 3) this one really makes a good illistration for the case of superiority of Canadian hockey against a worthy oponent.

I would take any Randevouz or Canada Cup'87 game over it.
Your argument is valid but that game was classic,the atmosphere was incredible.Many Soviet players said it was the greatest game they were ever involved in so i don't know about "the Canadian thing" as you say it.It was a great game,i watched it live and know.

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12-11-2005, 02:24 PM
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I saw it at the time and once since.

You can't recreate the emotion of the time.

We had the summit series in 1972 with best against best. But this was different. The best historical club team from Russia and the best team in the history of the NHL. Bragging rights were on the line as to the who was the best club team in the world.

The Habs played a great game. I became a life long Tretiak fan that night, he was phenomenal. CSKA made the most of their chances.

A tie still seemed like a fitting result (the Soviets came close to winning the game in the last minute or two).

Certainly one of the best games I ever saw, the crowd was into it like it was a Stanley Cup game 7 final.

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12-11-2005, 03:38 PM
  #8
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It was a marvelous game, and one of the most exciting and entertaining I've ever seen.There are only a small few that come close, mostly the usual suspects, and others like the Isles-Caps overtime from 1987.

This New Years Game had great pace from the start, and the Habs were swarming all over them.The Soviets had few breakouts, and very few sustained attacks, and the ones they did resulted in less than stellar goals.The Habs really brought their top game that night, with the exception of Dryden.The game was fast,thrilling, and like a Stanley Cup final.

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12-11-2005, 09:10 PM
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... and then the Flyers completely dominated the Soviets and proved who truly was the best team in the world at that time.

re: best games of all time

If any game in my lifetime surpasses the 3 game 1987 Canada Cup Final, I just hope I'm lucky enough to have tickets.

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12-11-2005, 09:15 PM
  #10
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Overrated game. The Habs dominated, and the only reason it ended in a tie was because Tretziak stood on his head and Dryden played poorly. Hell, I seen at least 10 better games between the Habs and Nordiques over the years.

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12-11-2005, 11:23 PM
  #11
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The Canadiens dominated the contest but the CSKA team was able to salvage a tie on the miraculous goaltending of Tretiak. From the opening faceoff, CSKA seemed uncharacteristically nervous. They were mishandling the puck frequently and were held to their half of the ice. This allowed Montreal the opportunity to score two early goals. CSKA's Victor Kuzkin actually set up the first goal for Montreal when his clearing pass bounced off Peter Mahovlich near the Soviet blue line where Steve Shutt picked it up and rifled the puck past Tretiak just 3:16 into the game. Then just a little more than four minutes later, Yvon Lambert flipped in his own rebound for the Canadiens second goal. Shots favoured Montreal 11-4 in the first period, while each team went 0-2 on the powerplay.

With the Canadiens holding a 2-0 lead after the first period, it looked hopeless for CSKA. But there was no change in their style of play in the second period as their centres still insisted on passing to their linemates right down the clogged middle lane, even though open ice lay to the side. But all CSKA needed was that one successful breakthrough and the puck was in. Boris Mikhailov's quick close shot early in the second period at 3:54 hit Dryden's chest and trickled into the net for their first goal. CSKA was whistled for a pair of tripping penalties (Solodukhin at 7:38 and Gusev at 8:23) giving Montreal a two-man advantage on which the Canadiens capitalized. Cournoyer scored Montreal's third goal at 9:39 just as Solodukhin was stepping out of the penalty box, thus restoring their two goal lead after the valiant Tretiak was surrounded by Canadiens. Vladimir Petrov finally pushed his way through a barrier of Canadiens at the blue line and made a quick pass to Kharlamov, who scored on a waist-high shot with 3:39 remaining in the second period to close the margin to just one goal. Montreal thoroughly dominated CSKA in the middle session, forechecking relentlessly and closing off the centre lane to their goal, but had surprisingly little to show for it--just a one goal lead. CSKA was held to only 3 shots on goal in the second period but scored on two of them. Montreal in turn was stymied by the poised Tretiak who turned away all sorts of shots from the slot without flopping to the ice. The Canadiens fired another 11 shots at Tretiak in the 2nd but scored once on a two-man powerplay.

Early in the third period (just :27 seconds in when Vasilyev took a tripping penalty), Tretiak single-handedly stifled an early Montreal powerplay kicking away a flurry of three shots and then smothering a stuffing attempt by Lafleur. A couple of minutes later, Dryden was surrounded after a Montreal defensive slip-up allowed CSKA a three-on-one breakaway with only Serge Savard back to help. Boris Aleksandrov (who the Russians say will be the next Kharlamov) received the final pass on the play from Zhluktov and Tsygankov to beat Dryden and tie the score at 3-3 at 4:04 of the final period. It was only the ninth shot on goal in the game for CSKA. Steve Shutt whiffed on a shot in the final minute of play that might have broken the tie. The Canadiens made three mistakes in the game and CSKA scored on all three. Montreal couldn't have played a more superb game. CSKA scored 3 goals on 13 shots while Montreal scored their 3 goals on 38 shots, including 16 shots in the final period. Montreal went 1-for-5 on the PP. CSKA was 0-for-3 on the PP in the game.

Final comment on this game came from Canadiens defenceman Serge Savard, who told general manager Sam Pollack: "Sam, God was Russian tonight."

Interesting to note, of the 4 games that CSKA Moscow played against NHL teams on this tour, they were seriously outshot in all of them. CSKA opened on Dec. 28, 1975 defeating the NY Rangers 7-3, but outshot 41-29 by the Rangers. As mentioned in the Dec. 31 game, Montreal outshot CSKA 38-13 in the 3-3 tie. On Jan. 8, CSKA beat Boston 5-2, but were outshot by the Bruins 40-19. And on Jan. 11, Philadelphia defeated CSKA 4-1 and the Flyers outshot CSKA 49-13. All of this translating to CSKA Moscow scoring 16 goals on 74 shots, while Tretiak only allowed 12 goals on 168 shots faced in 240 minutes of play.

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12-11-2005, 11:29 PM
  #12
Trottier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chili
A tie still seemed like a fitting result...
A tie was fitting? How could that be? Can't have a tie, haaaaaave to have a winner. That's what Gary Bettman and Generation XBox tell us.

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12-12-2005, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
A tie was fitting? How could that be? Can't have a tie, haaaaaave to have a winner. That's what Gary Bettman and Generation XBox tell us.
I have no issue with ties...unless it's about wearing one.

Edit: I say that because both teams could have won the game even though the Habs had the better of the play. I remember that during the Pens better years they were often outshot but their talent didn't need alot of shots to score a bunch of goals. The Russian style of those years was to try to make the perfect play so shots on goal are somewhat misleading.

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12-12-2005, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chili
I have no issue with ties...
Me neither. Nor did the rest of the hockey world for some 75+ years. Suddenly it became a horrrrrrendous tragedy that had to be addressed....with a skills competition at the end of each game.

No clock, no teamwork...yep, that's hockey! Street hockey.

But I digress....

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12-12-2005, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Psycho Papa Joe
Overrated game. The Habs dominated, and the only reason it ended in a tie was because Tretziak stood on his head and Dryden played poorly. Hell, I seen at least 10 better games between the Habs and Nordiques over the years.
Those are my feelings as well. I have the game taped and have watched it quite a few times and it's a great game but not one of the best of all time.

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12-12-2005, 04:54 PM
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It was a classic no doubt. The Habs vs. the Red Army. The fact that the Russians, stomped Boston and NYR later and then lost to Philly this was important for the NHL to win. The Habs who were the eventual Cup champs that year put on a clinic but so did Tretiak. Its up there as the greatest game ever played. I'd have a few more that I'd put up there with it though:

Game 3 Can/Rus '87 CC
Game 1 Can/Rus '87 CC
Gold medal Game '02 CAN/USA
'84 Can/Rus CC semis
'84 Game 5 vs. Isles/Rangers
'96 World Cup Can/USA Game 3
'04 World Cup Can/Cze semis

But the best game IMO is Game 2 of the 1987 Canada Cup between Canada and Russia. There are end to end rushes in overtime! Brilliant saves, high emotions and a classic finish. This game, Hockey fans, is the most entertaining you'll ever see.

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12-12-2005, 06:47 PM
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12-12-2005, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svetovy poharu

Interesting to note, of the 4 games that CSKA Moscow played against NHL teams on this tour, they were seriously outshot in all of them.
It has never been the Soviet hockey style to shoot the puck just for the sake of it. They philosophy was to keep possession, and to pass as much as possible trying to find open spaces. A player wouls only shoot when there was a high chance of scoring. Hence the strange (for Canadians) shots to goals ratio.

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12-12-2005, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Vladiator
It has never been the Soviet hockey style to shoot the puck just for the sake of it. They philosophy was to keep possession, and to pass as much as possible trying to find open spaces. A player wouls only shoot when there was a high chance of scoring.
The inability to adapt their game certainly cost them some wins during the early years.

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12-12-2005, 06:52 PM
  #20
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The inability to adapt their game certainly cost them some wins during the early years.
I would prefer us still to be as inadaptable as in those days, rather than as adaptable as now. The only thing we adapted really well to is to losing...

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12-13-2005, 08:18 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier
Me neither. Nor did the rest of the hockey world for some 75+ years. Suddenly it became a horrrrrrendous tragedy that had to be addressed....with a skills competition at the end of each game.

No clock, no teamwork...yep, that's hockey! Street hockey.

But I digress....
There`s no room for the weak as far as ties are concerned. They`re just a populist`s way of addressing an impasse. A win however shows willpower.

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12-13-2005, 09:56 AM
  #22
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It's the most overrated game ever. It was a blowout in every aspect but the score. It has nothing on the '87 Canada Cup.

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12-13-2005, 11:58 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
The inability to adapt their game certainly cost them some wins during the early years.
I think that playing in their own end was the biggest flaw of the Soviets back in the seventies; such highly regarded players like Kharlamov and Mikhailov were quite useless in their defensive zone (with many giveaways etc.), and the Soviet defensemen and forwards did not work as well together as later on.

And no way such a lopsided game can be regarded as the best ever...It might not even be the best game of the Super Series. Wasn´t the CSKA - Boston game better and more competitive (despite the final score of 5-2 for Russians)??!!

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12-13-2005, 04:31 PM
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Well not to mention the Flyers vs. the Red Army that's another classic. Lopsided but still gave the NHL its only victory.

Bob Cole: "Yeap! They're going home!"

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12-13-2005, 05:39 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by V-2 Schneider
The Habs really brought their top game that night, with the exception of Dryden.
even 30 years after the fact Montreal goalies get ripped apart

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