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Soviet / Russian Hockey a Retrospective

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Old
02-28-2010, 07:52 AM
  #26
Canadiens1958
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Scoreboard

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Originally Posted by Sergei Makarov View Post
With all my respect, that's ridiculous. We outplayed Canada in all aspects of the game in that tournament. Coffey and Bourque looked like pylons. Gretzky and Lemieux would have problems to make our team. They spent the half of the time diving and crying to the refs. Tikhonov showed in that tournament that he was the best coach in hockey history.

It was the infamous Don Koharski the true star of that canadian team. Sad but it's the truth.
Scoreboard is all that matters. 1980's Soviets for all the bluster had issues with winning - 1980 Olympics, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup.

Stubbornly refused to make the minor in game adjustments then blame others. The old its always something, excuse after excuse.

Fact of the matter is that Gretzky and Lemieux came thru in the clutch when it mattered in 1987 mainly because the Soviet players on the ice and the coach who put them there at that time made very fundamental mistakes that you would not see in junior hockey.
Faceoff in the Canadian zone and you give up an unchallenged odd man rush. Even pylons would have played that situation better.

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02-28-2010, 07:57 AM
  #27
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1987 Canada Cup. Tikhonov did not deviate from his hockey philosophy, system and beliefs letting Keenan get away with line changes, match-ups etc that most NHL coaches would counter.

Part of coaching involves some flexibility and putting your players in a position where they have the best opportunity to win.

Canada winning the 1987 Canada Cup was not a tribute to Keenan's genius. Keenan looked good only when player's rallied and overcame his methods - 1987 Canada Cup, Rangers with Messier leading them to a Stanley Cup.
What's your point? It was only 3 games.

Like I said earlier, Tikhonov's teams slapped around Bowman's on more than 1 occasion. But let me guess, that wasn't Bowman or Tikhonov's doing.....it was the player's, right?

Tikhonov DID deviate from Soviet hockey philosophy and WAS flexible. Even a North American book describes this. If I remember correctly it was (I think) Dryden's book that illustrated how Tikhonov incorporated a North American physical aspect into the Soviet system.
It certainly corresponds to the Soviet 'mini-resurrection' after the mid-1970s.

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02-28-2010, 08:58 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Faceoff in the Canadian zone and you give up an unchallenged odd man rush.
This rush was made possible only because Bykov was illegally tied up by Hawerchuk in the neutral zone. Koharski was truly the 6th man on the ice for Canada that night.

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02-28-2010, 09:03 AM
  #29
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......and it was the Khomutov-Bykov-Kamensky line out there. It wasn't like Tikhonov had the 4th line out against Gretzky and Lemieux.

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02-28-2010, 09:23 AM
  #30
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Regarding the original post - three more points to consider:

Demographic shift: birth rates fell dramatically in Russia after the break-up of USSR.

Social dynamics: in Soviet Russia, involvement in sports and ice hockey in particular was a societal catapult. Top sportsmen and sportswomen had easy access to better nutrition, housing, and other privileges (such as state awards and trips abroad), which would put them high on a social ladder in a relatively poor environment. This has changed drastically.

Global warming: when I was a kid (70s and early 80s), Moscow and European Russia was seeing lots of snow. I remember that snow and ice was guaranteed for at least 3-4 months every year, and there were 2 or 3 open-air ice rinks (or "hockey boxes", as we used to call them) 10 mins walking from our Moscow apartment complex. Nowadays, Russian winters are much milder. If you cannot fix a naturally frozen ice rink in your courtyard, there goes your grassroots junior hockey.

PS: Even with all of the above, I believe that Russia still have a shot at their former glory.


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02-28-2010, 09:25 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Canada winning the 1987 Canada Cup was not a tribute to Keenan's genius. Keenan looked good only when player's rallied and overcame his methods - 1987 Canada Cup, Rangers with Messier leading them to a Stanley Cup.
You might like Keenan, but from 85-94 or so he was an excellent coach.

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02-28-2010, 10:40 AM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Vladsky View Post
PS: Even with all of the above, I believe that Russia still have a shot at their former glory.
If Russia can fix their junior system, then anything is possible. Maybe it's wise to look at Sweden. They have a lot of top prospects in the last 3 years or so.

And one thing is money. Russia has plenty of money, but it's usage is rather strange. Why to spend millions of dollars on Jagr, Hudler, Nagy, or Fedorov? You can do a lot of good things with a half of it!

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02-28-2010, 11:31 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by lazerbullet View Post
If Russia can fix their junior system, then anything is possible. Maybe it's wise to look at Sweden. They have a lot of top prospects in the last 3 years or so.

And one thing is money. Russia has plenty of money, but it's usage is rather strange. Why to spend millions of dollars on Jagr, Hudler, Nagy, or Fedorov? You can do a lot of good things with a half of it!
There is no prestige to be gained for the oligarchs and companies that fund the KHL teams from investing in youth programmes.

They want to have winning teams with stars today, not good youngsters that will most likely be poached by the NHL anyway in 10 years.

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02-28-2010, 05:59 PM
  #34
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Expense vs Investment

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Originally Posted by Franck View Post
There is no prestige to be gained for the oligarchs and companies that fund the KHL teams from investing in youth programmes.

They want to have winning teams with stars today, not good youngsters that will most likely be poached by the NHL anyway in 10 years.
You touch upon a very important issue. The fact that Soviet/Russian hockey has always been "expense" based, requiring an immediate positive return as opposed to "investment" based which has a long term outlook.

Best example would be the fact that the Soviets did not care about building a strong multi team league going back to the start. They just cared about the elite.

Out of curiosity - how many learn to skate programs are there in the various Russian cities that teach pre-school youngsters how to skate properly.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 02-28-2010 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Wording/addition
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Old
02-28-2010, 06:16 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Best example would be the fact that the Soviets did not care about building a strong multi team league going back to the start. They just cared about the elite.
This is not entirely correct. The Soviet league was pretty much competitive in the 60s and 70s, when there were at least three teams competing with Red Army for number one spot.

It was only in the 80s when the Red Army team virtually monopolized the Soviet hockey.

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02-28-2010, 06:37 PM
  #36
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The 1960's

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Originally Posted by Vladsky View Post
This is not entirely correct. The Soviet league was pretty much competitive in the 60s and 70s, when there were at least three teams competing with Red Army for number one spot.

It was only in the 80s when the Red Army team virtually monopolized the Soviet hockey.
Believe the 1960 saw the compression of the number of league teams.So talent was concentrated to a greater degree.

In the early 1950's you would have teams that rarely won playing in the league.

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02-28-2010, 07:19 PM
  #37
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Flexible???

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Originally Posted by Zine View Post
What's your point? It was only 3 games.

Like I said earlier, Tikhonov's teams slapped around Bowman's on more than 1 occasion. But let me guess, that wasn't Bowman or Tikhonov's doing.....it was the player's, right?

Tikhonov DID deviate from Soviet hockey philosophy and WAS flexible. Even a North American book describes this. If I remember correctly it was (I think) Dryden's book that illustrated how Tikhonov incorporated a North American physical aspect into the Soviet system.
It certainly corresponds to the Soviet 'mini-resurrection' after the mid-1970s.
Bowman adapted, Tikhonov, well.............. see the pulling the goalie thread:

http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=743179

Basically Tikhonov did not prepare his teams for the eventuality. Breaking the reasoning down illustrates a number of flaws.

Whether Tikhonov believed in the theory of pulling the goalie to gain the extra man advantage does not matter. The simple reality is that other coaches did, especially North American coaches.

So if you practise pulling the goalie the following are accomplished. Your players have experience playing with the goalie out and you will either re-inforce your theory or see positive elements that get you to change your theory.

Your players get experience defensing 6 on 5 situations which would be a definite benefit if the other team pulls their goalie and your resulting observations give you greater insight into both the defensive and offensive aspects of the situations plus you get insight into how the opposition thinks the situation defensively and offensively.

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02-28-2010, 08:07 PM
  #38
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Is that your best argument against Tikhonov?


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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
My point exactly. Even if all lines have roughly the same offensive and defensive ability - you realize that you have taken the KLM line down a number of pegs,the Canadian lines did not which is why they were mixed very often. Tikhonov did not adjust thereby letting Canada have the advantages they were seeking and playing within their game plan.

Little details that make a big difference.
Don't understand what you are trying to say exactly.

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02-28-2010, 10:15 PM
  #39
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My Points.............

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Originally Posted by YMB29 View Post
Is that your best argument against Tikhonov?



Don't understand what you are trying to say exactly.
Think the inability to at least explore and learn from certain common hockey strategies, pulling the goalie, over a period of years is rather telling - certainly puts to bed the old Soviet mantra that we are here to learn.

Your initial sentence from the post that generated the segment that you are quoting from my post.

"Soviet national teams with four lines that all had the ability to play well offensively and defensively could get away without line matching."

Bolded the key part. Obviously you have narrowed the offensive talent gap between the KLM line and the fourth line. As for your other point about line matching I will offer an analogy. All nails have the ability to hold two pieces of wood together BUT it requires a wise carpenter or cabinet maker to choose the best nails and hammer for the specific situation.

At times - 1987 Canada Cup Tikhonov did not have the players best suited to counter Canada's lines on the ice. Winning goal being a prime example as none of the Soviet players challenged or picked-up their checks on the rush that resulted from the face-off in the Canadian zone. rare that you will see such a territorial advantage late in the game quickly turn into a liability.

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02-28-2010, 10:36 PM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Bowman adapted, Tikhonov, well.............. see the pulling the goalie thread:
Nope, Bowman never adapted.
Bowman was outcoached by Tikhonov in 1979.....then failed to adapt and was slapped around again in 1981.

When you lose championship games by the scores of 6-0 ('79) and 8-1 ('81), it's a systematic failure on all parts...which includes poor coaching.

Bowman obviously did not have the players best suited to counter Soviet's lines on the ice. And when he did, they were ill-prepared tactically.

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03-01-2010, 12:53 AM
  #41
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Originally Posted by Zine View Post
Nope, Bowman never adapted.
Bowman was outcoached by Tikhonov in 1979.....then failed to adapt and was slapped around again in 1981.

When you lose championship games by the scores of 6-0 ('79) and 8-1 ('81), it's a systematic failure on all parts...which includes poor coaching.

Bowman obviously did not have the players best suited to counter Soviet's lines on the ice. And when he did, they were ill-prepared tactically.
Bowman did do terribly against the Soviet national team, but fared better vs. CSKA; in 1975 (3-3 with Montreal) and 1980 (6-1 blowout with Buffalo), although I don't know how much coaching played a part in the latter game (Tretiak & defense played lousy).

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03-01-2010, 05:38 AM
  #42
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Scotty Bowman

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Originally Posted by Zine View Post
Nope, Bowman never adapted.
Bowman was outcoached by Tikhonov in 1979.....then failed to adapt and was slapped around again in 1981.

When you lose championship games by the scores of 6-0 ('79) and 8-1 ('81), it's a systematic failure on all parts...which includes poor coaching.

Bowman obviously did not have the players best suited to counter Soviet's lines on the ice. And when he did, they were ill-prepared tactically.
Scotty Bowman adapted throughout his NHL career, a trait which allowed him to have a long and successful career.

Scotty Bowman started coaching the various Montreal Canadiens junior developmental teams - Peterborough, NDG, Montreal Junior Canadiens amongst others. Yet when he was hired in St. Louis in 1967 he quickly recognized that in that specific circumstance youth was not the way to go, used his contacts to bring in older NHL veterans like Moore, Harvey, Plante .adapted his coaching to mature veterans and led them to three consecutive Stanley Cup finals.

Let go by St.Louis, he was quickly hired by Montreal where supported by Sam Pollock he had to balance egos and blend various talents into championship teams - which he did winning five Stanley Cups in eigth seasons.

After Sam Pollock retired in 1978 and named Irving Grundman as GM - a position Bowman coveted, he stayed for one season, winning another cup then left for Buffalo as Coach / GM. The Buffalo experience was not very successful. As coach he could not devote enough time to the GM role and as GM he could not hire a Scotty Bowman to coach nor did he have the vison and patience of a Sam Pollock as GM.

After leaving Buffalo and spending some time away from the NHL, Scotty Bowman resurfaced in Pittsburgh winning the 1992 Stanley Cup and then moved to Detroit where he led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups.

Scotty Bowman adapted in many ways. He recognized his shortcomings as a GM so he focused on coaching while insisting on having greater control over rosters. Scotty Bowman, while not the first made the best use of assistant coaches. Too often assistant coaches do not work in unison as each is interested in becoming a head coach. Upon leaving Buffalo, Bowman spent time studying the European game and was best prepared in the 1990's to take advantage of the European influence. The trades he encouraged in Detroit getting Fetisov and Larionov are prime examples.

Scotty Bowman also became almost obsessive about two factors. A team of coachable players and having players willing to integrate a team. The frustrations of dealing with the talented but individualistic types like Pierre Larouche who would not buy into a team concept was not worth the effort. The battle getting Steve Yzerman to conform to a team concept being an example. Previously - Guy Lafleur being a prime example, Scotty Bowman would work around the issue.

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03-01-2010, 01:22 PM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Think the inability to at least explore and learn from certain common hockey strategies, pulling the goalie, over a period of years is rather telling - certainly puts to bed the old Soviet mantra that we are here to learn.
Not pulling the goalie is hardly enough proof to come to that conclusion.


Quote:
Obviously you have narrowed the offensive talent gap between the KLM line and the fourth line. As for your other point about line matching I will offer an analogy. All nails have the ability to hold two pieces of wood together BUT it requires a wise carpenter or cabinet maker to choose the best nails and hammer for the specific situation.
So do you have an example of Tikhonov not trying to match lines when one of his lines was clearly doing badly against an opposing one?
And it is not like the fourth line got as much ice time as KLM...


Quote:
At times - 1987 Canada Cup Tikhonov did not have the players best suited to counter Canada's lines on the ice. Winning goal being a prime example as none of the Soviet players challenged or picked-up their checks on the rush that resulted from the face-off in the Canadian zone. rare that you will see such a territorial advantage late in the game quickly turn into a liability.
No they were picking up their checks, but Bykov was hooked down twice by Hawerchuck. Like you don't know this... It is not like the Soviet 2nd line was defensively irresponsible. I don't know, maybe if Larionov was out there instead of Bykov, he would not have been as easy to hook down...

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03-01-2010, 03:44 PM
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Scotty Bowman adapted throughout his NHL career, a trait which allowed him to have a long and successful career.

Scotty Bowman started coaching the various Montreal Canadiens junior developmental teams - Peterborough, NDG, Montreal Junior Canadiens amongst others. Yet when he was hired in St. Louis in 1967 he quickly recognized that in that specific circumstance youth was not the way to go, used his contacts to bring in older NHL veterans like Moore, Harvey, Plante .adapted his coaching to mature veterans and led them to three consecutive Stanley Cup finals.

Let go by St.Louis, he was quickly hired by Montreal where supported by Sam Pollock he had to balance egos and blend various talents into championship teams - which he did winning five Stanley Cups in eigth seasons.

After Sam Pollock retired in 1978 and named Irving Grundman as GM - a position Bowman coveted, he stayed for one season, winning another cup then left for Buffalo as Coach / GM. The Buffalo experience was not very successful. As coach he could not devote enough time to the GM role and as GM he could not hire a Scotty Bowman to coach nor did he have the vison and patience of a Sam Pollock as GM.

After leaving Buffalo and spending some time away from the NHL, Scotty Bowman resurfaced in Pittsburgh winning the 1992 Stanley Cup and then moved to Detroit where he led the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups.

Scotty Bowman adapted in many ways. He recognized his shortcomings as a GM so he focused on coaching while insisting on having greater control over rosters. Scotty Bowman, while not the first made the best use of assistant coaches. Too often assistant coaches do not work in unison as each is interested in becoming a head coach. Upon leaving Buffalo, Bowman spent time studying the European game and was best prepared in the 1990's to take advantage of the European influence. The trades he encouraged in Detroit getting Fetisov and Larionov are prime examples.

Scotty Bowman also became almost obsessive about two factors. A team of coachable players and having players willing to integrate a team. The frustrations of dealing with the talented but individualistic types like Pierre Larouche who would not buy into a team concept was not worth the effort. The battle getting Steve Yzerman to conform to a team concept being an example. Previously - Guy Lafleur being a prime example, Scotty Bowman would work around the issue.
If I wanted a biography of Bowman, I would have looked it up myself.


FACT IS = Bowman did a terrible job of adjusting and adapting to game situations when playing Soviet National Team.
If you accuse Tikhonov of being a poor coach and give isolated incidences of poor coaching as evidence......I can do the exact same for Bowman.

Tikhonov was a fantastic coach who was able to lift the Soviet program out of a mid-1970s 'lull'. And like I illustrated earlier, he's the first Soviet coach to really integrate some Canadian techniques into the Soviet game.

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03-01-2010, 04:19 PM
  #45
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Oh Well..................

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Not pulling the goalie is hardly enough proof to come to that conclusion.



So do you have an example of Tikhonov not trying to match lines when one of his lines was clearly doing badly against an opposing one?
And it is not like the fourth line got as much ice time as KLM...



No they were picking up their checks, but Bykov was hooked down twice by Hawerchuck. Like you don't know this... It is not like the Soviet 2nd line was defensively irresponsible. I don't know, maybe if Larionov was out there instead of Bykov, he would not have been as easy to hook down...
In the last 1987 Canada Cup Game the Larionov line was doing well against the Gretzky line BUT Tikhonov went with another line for the key faceoff, deep in the Canadian zone with the score tied and about 1 1/2 to play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rg_-JwlN-o

The goals from the game are provided via the youtube link above.
Note on the first Soviet goal the successful physical play by the Soviets against Gretzky. Notice on the fourth Soviet goal the blatant hook of Bourque by Makarov. No penalty was called - example of Koharski's Soviet bias.

Notice on the faceoff that led to the winning goal that the Soviets allow the two Canadian players on the right of the faceoff circle an unimpeded lane to the puck immediately from the draw. Because they do not have the proper angle and are going against the momemntum generated by the Canadian player Lemieux, they fall taking themselves out of the play, obviously not in a position to pick-up their checks as you claim, while the right defenseman pinches and gets beat. Three fundamental mistakes leading to the winning goal. Improper faceoff positioning to start, improper checking technique and high risk pinch by the defenseman.

Basic question is why did Tikhonov not play Larionov against Gretzky the rest of the game after the initial success? Also why did he have a forward line that was fundamentally weak on faceoffs out for a very important one?

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03-01-2010, 07:53 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
In the last 1987 Canada Cup Game the Larionov line was doing well against the Gretzky line BUT Tikhonov went with another line for the key faceoff, deep in the Canadian zone with the score tied and about 1 1/2 to play.
Maybe he would have went with KLM, but it would have been difficult considering they were just out there before that face off...


Quote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rg_-JwlN-o

The goals from the game are provided via the youtube link above.
Note on the first Soviet goal the successful physical play by the Soviets against Gretzky. Notice on the fourth Soviet goal the blatant hook of Bourque by Makarov. No penalty was called - example of Koharski's Soviet bias.
The hook was not nearly as blatant as the one Messier put on Kasatonov about 30 seconds earlier, after which Canada almost scored on the powerplay. The Canadian commentators don't even say that it should have been a penalty. Koharski was probably cautious not to get Tikhonov really mad at his officiating.


Quote:
Notice on the faceoff that led to the winning goal that the Soviets allow the two Canadian players on the right of the faceoff circle an unimpeded lane to the puck immediately from the draw. Because they do not have the proper angle and are going against the momemntum generated by the Canadian player Lemieux, they fall taking themselves out of the play, obviously not in a position to pick-up their checks as you claim, while the right defenseman pinches and gets beat. Three fundamental mistakes leading to the winning goal. Improper faceoff positioning to start, improper checking technique and high risk pinch by the defenseman.
Again this was the 2nd best line for the Soviets. The only real mistake there is the defenseman pinching in. Bykov was in position to check Lemieux even after getting tripped but then he got tripped again.


Quote:
Basic question is why did Tikhonov not play Larionov against Gretzky the rest of the game after the initial success? Also why did he have a forward line that was fundamentally weak on faceoffs out for a very important one?
Again, basic answer, KLM just had a shift and this was the next best line. Canada had the last change in this game I think anyway.

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03-01-2010, 08:29 PM
  #47
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Getting Interesting

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Originally Posted by YMB29 View Post
Maybe he would have went with KLM, but it would have been difficult considering they were just out there before that face off...



The hook was not nearly as blatant as the one Messier put on Kasatonov about 30 seconds earlier, after which Canada almost scored on the powerplay. The Canadian commentators don't even say that it should have been a penalty. Koharski was probably cautious not to get Tikhonov really mad at his officiating.



Again this was the 2nd best line for the Soviets. The only real mistake there is the defenseman pinching in. Bykov was in position to check Lemieux even after getting tripped but then he got tripped again.



Again, basic answer, KLM just had a shift and this was the next best line. Canada had the last change in this game I think anyway.
I know who was on the shift prior which makes it very interesting. So the second Soviet line would have been on until approximately the 19:00 - 19:15 minute point of the period then Tikhonov would have had to play the third or fourth line or an under rested KLM line in the last minute. Getting caught with the third or fourth line on the ice in the last 90 seconds of a period in a close game is simply bad line management as is having to play an under rested KLM line out of rotation to compensate. Jacques Martin gets caught like this fairly often and I have criticized him for it.


Soviets simply messed-up all the key elements of the faceoff alignment. How not to take a faceoff 101.

Previously Bykov was hooked, now he is getting tripped. Classic revisionist history. Obviously if you cannot make - up your mind then it was not a clear penalty if it was a penalty at all.


Last edited by Canadiens1958: 03-01-2010 at 08:31 PM. Reason: wording
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03-02-2010, 12:08 AM
  #48
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In the last 1987 Canada Cup Game the Larionov line was doing well against the Gretzky line BUT Tikhonov went with another line for the key faceoff, deep in the Canadian zone with the score tied and about 1 1/2 to play.
You have many examples of this? I mean, it was Gartner-Messier-Anderson line that played against KLM about 95 % of the time. You rarely saw Gretzky and Lemieux out there vs. Larionov et co anyway.

Bykov's line scored 6 goals in the 3 final games, and Bykov himself was playing clearly better than Larionov (no points & slightly injured?), so I really don't understand what supposed great tactical mistake Tikhonov made there.


Last edited by VMBM: 03-02-2010 at 12:26 AM.
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03-02-2010, 05:52 AM
  #49
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Oh Well...............

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Originally Posted by VMBM View Post
You have many examples of this? I mean, it was Gartner-Messier-Anderson line that played against KLM about 95 % of the time. You rarely saw Gretzky and Lemieux out there vs. Larionov et co anyway.

Bykov's line scored 6 goals in the 3 final games, and Bykov himself was playing clearly better than Larionov (no points & slightly injured?), so I really don't understand what supposed great tactical mistake Tikhonov made there.
Oh well at least we are beyond the Bykov non-call and the faceoff alignment.

How many goals did Bykov's line allow? Check the first Soviet goal in the final game and see who was on against Gretzky and if the Soviet player was playing slightly injured.

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03-02-2010, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Oh well at least we are beyond the Bykov non-call and the faceoff alignment.

How many goals did Bykov's line allow? Check the first Soviet goal in the final game and see who was on against Gretzky and if the Soviet player was playing slightly injured.
How many goals did KLM allow? (unless [you know that] Bykov's line allowed significantly more than them, that is quite a poor counter-argument)

Bolded. Well, that changes everything, you're absolutely right! 1 [opening] shift of course tells the whole story.

And are you seriously arguing that Larionov played well and/or wasn't playing hurt? The callers are talking about it constantly (as informed by the Soviets)... Krutov and Makarov are the ones making it very hard for the Canadians.


Last edited by VMBM: 03-02-2010 at 10:38 AM.
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