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Rate Team Canada's (Canada Cup) rosters for 1981, 1984, 1987, 1991

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Old
08-23-2010, 03:33 PM
  #26
Rabid Ranger
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Hull chose to play for Team USA, which was the wrong choice.
It wasn't that bad of a choice. Hull won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and a silver medal at the 2002 SLC Olympics.

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08-23-2010, 07:14 PM
  #27
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I went back and watched the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups a few months back; here are my thoughts on the 1991 team. Both at the time, and in hindsight, the 1991 team was constructed very oddly in my opinion. As others have noted, the big surprise omission was Yzerman, though we were extremely deep at center: Gretzky and Messier were the obvious #1 and #2 centers, Sutter was a "Keenan guy" in Chicago and played for him in 1987, so he had the 3rd line checking line role locked-down. Hawerchuk also excelled in 1987 in a checking-line role for Keenan and was still seen as a superstar (though as others have mentioned, he was starting to diminish by then). Of course, 18-year old Eric Lindros also made the team at center. Keenan was notorious for juggling his lines constantly, and the 1991 Canada Cup was no exception, though based on my observations Hawerchuk, typically lined-up at LW on the Lindros line at least during the round-robin portion of the tournament, with Shanahan/Courtnall playing on the right side. But like I said, the lines were juggled constantly, and Hawerchuk saw quite a bit of time on the first 2 lines as the tournament progressed.

So with essentially no open spots for centermen, I think it came down to a numbers-game for Oates, Sakic, and John Cullen, another guy who had an outstanding 1991 season for the Penguins and Whalers. I don't think Sakic ever really had a shot, given that at that point in his career he was a young, high-scoring player on a very, very weak team - he hadn't really rounded-out his game at that point, and had no playoff experience. I for one wasn't shocked when he was cut early on, and I recall Keenan commenting on Sakic lacking the leg strength to make the team (whatever that means - Sakic was a great skater). But I always saw Yzerman as a guy who could easily make the transition to the wing, which he did on numerous occasions internationally later in his career. Courtnall making the team was utterly bizarre, especially in the context of Yzerman and Recchi not making the team. Yzerman was seen at that point as one of the top-5 forwards in the game, and Recchi was coming off a monster 1991 regular season and playoffs with the Penguins. It was inexcusable in my view, and really made me question whether Keenan had some sort of vendetta against Yzerman or simply wanted to prove that he could win the Canada Cup with a team full of grinders. To his credit (at least, IMO), Yzerman later said that he would never have fit in on that 1991 team even if he had made it, which is interesting and probably accurate given that Robitaille, another high scorer (though obviously a much different player than Yzerman), looked completely out of place on the 1991 team and ended up seeing limited ice time.

Aside from Courtnall, there's no one that really stands out individually that I think shouldn't have made the team. Rather, its the quantity of 2-way, grinding forwards. Larmer and Fleury both had very strong 1991 seasons, and they deservedly made the team. Same for Robitaille (though like I mentioned, he was out of place). Graham deservedly got the checking line role with Sutter, based on his Selke season and he was a Keenan-type guy. Then, you have: Corson, Tocchet, Shanahan, Hawerchuk, and Lindros (and lets face it, Lindros was there for his physical presence). Shanahan wasn't yet a 40-goal player at that point in his career. Why did so many grinders make this team? Keenan obviously had a vision of a very physical, strong forechecking, but defensive-minded team, which came to fruition during the tournament, but a lot of people were very surprised by the makeup of this team after the training camp.

Did some of these guys have strong training camps that won them a spot on the team (or, conversely, did guys like Yzerman or Sakic have weak training camps and lost roster spots that should have been theirs)? Or, as previously mentioned, did Burns' influence gets Corson and Courtnall their roster spots? I'd be interested in getting people's perspectives on this, especially the training camp issue. Its interesting how Hockey Canada eventually got away from that, and now just holds an orientation camp the summer before the Olympics and names the roster.

Otherwise, the 1991 team's defense is solid, even without Bourque. Goaltending was good as well. Still, on paper, the 1991 roster is IMO the weakest of the 4. Obviously they came together as greater than the sum of their parts, albeit against historically weak opposition. Truthfully, I really don't think this team could have beaten the 1987 Soviet team, or the 1996 American team.

1. 1987 - Great team on paper, with a very healthy mix of the superstars of the day (Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Hawerchuk, Goulet, Bourque, Coffey, Fuhr) and great role players (Sutter, Gilmour, Tocchet, Hartsburg, Claude Lemieux, Dineen). Strange names appearing on the roster include Rochefort and Crossman on defense, but both were really good players at that point in time. Omissions include Yzerman, Savard, Stevens, and Poulin (who Keenan has said was the hardest player he's ever had to cut). Much better balanced than either the 1991 or 1984 teams.

2. 1984 - Maybe I'm biased by the actual result of the tournament, but I think the 1984 team is better on paper than 1981. Gretzky was at the height of his powers, and there was pretty good depth at forward (scorers included Messier, Bossy, Gartner, Anderson, Goulet, Middleton) with strong role players like Sutter, Tonelli, Bourne rounding-out the forward ranks. This team would probably have looked better on paper with Trottier, Savard, or Hawerchuk there instead of Bellows or Yzerman (19 years old at the time). The defense was top-notch though, and the goaltending was good. This team has Sather's fingerprints all over it, and while I think Huddy was a decent selection on defense, Gregg was definitely a reach. Still.....

3. 1981 - As others have said, there were some notable omissions from this team, and they just seemed to lack depth at both forward and defense. I wasn't at a hockey-watching age at this point in my life, but it looked like they had some (potentially better) options at forward and defense but instead went with a bit of a youth movement. Still, they steamrolled through the round-robin, but the lack of depth ultimately came back to bite them in the butt when Perreault got injured.

4. 1991 - As discussed above. A good team on paper, but IMO not quite as good (on paper) as the others. The results speak for themselves, but that's not the point of this thread.

To extend out the discussion, where do people rank the 1996 team (which lost the best of 3 final to an outstanding American team), and the 2004 team? I'd think the 2004 team is right there in the mix with the 1984 team for the #2 spot - great goaltending, a deep and complimentary defense (keep in mind that Pronger and Blake were both hurt), and a great forward group with tons of experience (Mario, Sakic, Smyth, Iggy) and youthful energy (Lecavalier, Richards, St. Louis, Heatley). In 1996, we were missing Roy, Bourque, and Mario (again), along with Kariya who was one of our better scoring wingers at the time. Plus, its never a good think when guys like Primeau, Cote, and Odelein are getting significant ice time in international tournaments. I'd say they slide-in slightly above the 1981 team.

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Old
08-23-2010, 09:12 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by 86Habs View Post
So with essentially no open spots for centermen, I think it came down to a numbers-game for Oates, Sakic, and John Cullen, another guy who had an outstanding 1991 season for the Penguins and Whalers... Courtnall making the team was utterly bizarre, especially in the context of Yzerman and Recchi not making the team.
Just for the record: John Cullen and Mark Recchi were not left out by the Coach. Both refused to play because they were Free Agents and didn't want to purchase health insurance at their own expense.

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Originally Posted by 86Habs View Post
It was inexcusable in my view, and really made me question whether Keenan had some sort of vendetta against Yzerman or simply wanted to prove that he could win the Canada Cup with a team full of grinders.
In fact, Yzerman was on the roster at first, but saw no ice-time against Finland and the United States. Then, after the second game, Keenan cut him from the roster. Pretty humiliating. If Yzerman simply didn't fit into Keenan's plans, then why this treatment?

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Old
08-23-2010, 09:18 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by Rabid Ranger View Post
It wasn't that bad of a choice. Hull won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and a silver medal at the 2002 SLC Olympics.
Had he chose to play for Canada back in 1991 he'd have won in 1991, 1996 (no way USA wins without him), 2002 and 2004 World Cup. Not bad.

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08-23-2010, 09:41 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Just for the record: John Cullen and Mark Recchi were not left out by the Coach. Both refused to play because they were Free Agents and didn't want to purchase health insurance at their own expense.



In fact, Yzerman was on the roster at first, but saw no ice-time against Finland and the United States. Then, after the second game, Keenan cut him from the roster. Pretty humiliating. If Yzerman simply didn't fit into Keenan's plans, then why this treatment?
I didn't realize that was the case with Cullen and Recchi; I seem to recall them being at the camp (and cut), but 1991 is obviously a very long time ago and what you said sounds very reasonable. And yeah, I have heard how Yzerman was a healthy scratch for the first two games before being cut by Keenan - just adds to the view that there seemed to be more there between Keenan and Yzerman during that time period. Very interesting. I think Fleury was also slated to be an "extra", but in the first game of the tournament Keenan decided to dress 13 forwards (and in effect dressed Fleury instead of Yzerman), and we all know the rest. Fleury actually ended up playing a pretty large role in that tournament.

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Old
08-24-2010, 12:26 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post

In fact, Yzerman was on the roster at first, but saw no ice-time against Finland and the United States. Then, after the second game, Keenan cut him from the roster.
True. The player who was then activated for the final roster spot was Tinordi.

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Old
08-24-2010, 01:35 AM
  #32
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Pulled these out from my collection. Pretty neat to look back on.






I'll pull out the '87 and '91 issues later.

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Old
08-27-2010, 01:07 AM
  #33
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I think most of the guys that Phil mentioned for 91 did actually attend the camp, but they were cut. We used to have a very extensive camp for the Canada Cup. A very different selection process than what we have now. Why was Oates cut? Well, maybe we saw in 1992, when he forced a trade from St. Louis, why he wasn't on the team. Why was Sakic cut? The Burnaby Joe we all knew and loved so well for most of his career wasn't the Burnaby Joe that we saw in 1991. (As late as 1994, there were stories out of Quebec City that he was "the last to arrive at practice and the first to leave." Things really turned around for Sakic in 1994, when Sundin was traded, and the Nords [and later the Avs] became his team).

Bourque and Mario declined a chance to play. Neely was hurt. I believe Roy declined a chance to play as well. He was coming off a season in which he missed a few weeks due to injury. Most expected Belfour to be the No. 1. Ranford played his way into that role. As for Burke, he's one of our best ever in international competition. If he played in the NHL on a year-to-year basis like he did on the international stage, we'd be discussing him for the HHOF.

As for the OP's question, the 1987 team was the class team. Probably the greatest compilation of talent that Canada has ever had at one tournament. It took a while to gel, but once they started to click, they were a treat to watch. And it resulted in some of the best hockey the game has ever seen.

1984 was a team that needed more time to gel. It nearly didn't have a chance to come together. But they were the best when it counted.

I don't know if the result is different in the 81 Canada Cup if they played a best of three instead of a best of one. But reality is that it was a best-of-one, and once the game was decided, Canada pulled an el-foldo. Which I don't get caught up in as much as some people. You don't want to lose an elimination game in lopsided fashion, but reality is you don't want to lose in a best-of-one, period. 3-1 or 8-1, what difference does it make? Were the Soviets seven goals better than Canada? No. Just like Canada wasn't four goals better than the Soviets. (This wasn't the 2010 Olympics here). But that's reality of a best-of-one. If a great team at its best plays a great team not at their best, the result is inevitable.

1991 was a weird year. Canada didn't have their best team, for a variety of reasons. The Soviets struggled mightily. They didn't even make the playoffs, incredible when you consider they won in 81, and were, essentially, the second-best entry in 84 and 87. The Czechs didn't make the medal round, either. You had Finland in the semis; the U.S. in the final. (People were shocked when Finland played Canada to a draw in the tournament opener. Most thought it would be 2010 Canada-Norway-esque). It's a tournament that I think Canada could have run roughshod over, if we used the current selection process, even without Mario and Bourque. As it was, we still outscored our opponents 33-14.

It's not a tournament that I look back fondly. The first four Canada Cups had something special. 1976 was the first. The Soviets routed Canada in the final in 81. Canada and the Soviets played a classic semi-final in 84. The 87 tournament rates among the best hockey ever played. 91? It's marginally more memorable than the 04 World Cup.

My fondest memory from international hockey in 1991 is John Slaney scoring with about six minutes remaining in the unofficial gold medal game at the 1991 WJC in Saskatoon in the last truly epic Canada-USSR hockey game. It's one of my favourite hockey moments of all-time. Outside of Suter's hit from behind on Gretzky, there isn't a play or a moment from the 91 Canada Cup that really stands out.

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Old
08-27-2010, 07:50 AM
  #34
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1987 By A Mile
1991
1984
1981

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08-27-2010, 07:57 AM
  #35
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1987
1984
1981
1991

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Old
08-31-2010, 01:31 PM
  #36
Haberdashery
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I really like the 1991 team. Talk about picking the best players for every role in a team. A guy like Yzerman had a bad defensive game at the time and Graham scored the last goal of the tournament after defending the 3-2 lead in the last minute. Although the only good competition came from USA as the Czechs and Soviets were on a free fall at the time, they looked like didnīt care. Sweden choked as I remember it. Some guys were getting old and guys like Sundin and Lidström was still very young. Bad goaltending too.

The 87-team is clearly the best though, Gretzky and Lemieux on the same line. I wonder why Lemiuex didnīt make the 84-team? Yzerman was on the roster and Lemieux had scored 282 points in QMJHL. He must clearly have been seen as a better talent than Yzerman? Was it like Crosby and Torino 2006? "The whole world" wanted him on the roster and everyone will always wonder how he didnīt make the team?

Another funny thing about 1981 and 1984 is that the 81-team played outplayed everyone in the round-robin but were crushed in the final and the 84-team came 4th in the round-robin and beat Soviets in sudden death and got an "easy" final against Sweden.
what happened with the 1981 team is that Lafleur and Perreault got injured, and it really changed the team's momentum. They played with Gretzky during the round robin portion and were really lighting it up.

Personally I think a lot of you are underrrating the 1981 team - on paper it was better than the 1991 squad IMO and comparable to 1984.

the firepower up front was tremendous - Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Lafleur Perreault, Middleton, Dionne, Gillies, and Gare as the top three lines and Goring, Gainey and Linseman as the checkers....... until Lafleur and Perreault got injured those forward units were rolling.

Let's not forget that the Soviet's Fab Five of Kasatonov, Fetisov, Makarov, Krutov and Larionov was at its peak during that tournament....and after the injuries the Canadian team just didn't match up, especially in goal. Lafleur and Perreault were still two of the most dynamic players in the world. If they had been okay and Makarov and Larionov were injured the final would have been a much different outcome.


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Old
08-31-2010, 02:08 PM
  #37
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what happened with the 1981 team is that Lafleur and Perreault got injured, and it really changed the team's momentum. They played with Gretzky during the round robin portion and were really lighting it up.

Personally I think a lot of you are underrrating the 1981 team - on paper it was better than the 1991 squad IMO and comparable to 1984.

the firepower up front was tremendous - Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Lafleur Perreault, Middleton, Dionne, Gillies, and Gare as the top three lines and Goring, Gainey and Linseman as the checkers....... until Lafleur and Perreault got injured those forward units were rolling.

Let's not forget that the Soviet's Fab Five of Kasatonov, Fetisov, Makarov, Krutov and Larionov was at its peak during that tournament....and after the injuries the Canadian team just didn't match up, especially in goal. Lafleur and Perreault were still two of the most dynamic players in the world If they had been okay and Makarov and Larionov were injured the final would have been a much different outcome.
Not really. KLM's peak was probably around 83-86. 1981 is generally considered their 'coming out party' however.

It would be interesting to see the outcome if Larionov/Makarov had played injured.
Don't forget USSR was already playing shorthanded with Maltsev's injury which essentially broke up the 2nd line. It was 3rd line of Kapustin-Shepelev-Shalimov that Canada had no answer for (Shepelev scored crucial goals 2,3 and 4).

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Old
08-31-2010, 02:27 PM
  #38
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Not really. KLM's peak was probably around 83-86. 1981 is generally considered their 'coming out party' however.

It would be interesting to see the outcome if Larionov/Makarov had played injured.
Don't forget USSR was already playing shorthanded with Maltsev's injury which essentially broke up the 2nd line. It was 3rd line of Kapustin-Shepelev-Shalimov that Canada had no answer for (Shepelev scored crucial goals 2,3 and 4).
That line was very strong for sure...remember Shepelev starring in that game. They had no answer in part because the lines got all jumbled up after the injuries...the third line guys were suddenly on scoring lines. Unlike a lot of Canadian teams the coaching staff didn't do a great job of adapting to the injuries.... but they were major injuries for sure..that line was fun to watch.

I think it was part of the KLM line's peak.....the start of their peak. Larionov was already one of the top centers in the game and Krutov was still skinny. :-) They were young but they were already supremely dynamic... as Larry Robinson rediscovered in '84.

I'll never forget him telling reporters that he called home after the great win over the Russians in the 1984 semi final and all his son wanted to talk about was the famous move Makarov made on him.

Too bad it hadn't been a best-of-three and too bad Lafleur and Perreault were injured...may have been one of the more memorable Canada Cups ever...for Canadian fans at least. :-)

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08-31-2010, 03:23 PM
  #39
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Yeah, it was only in the 1982-83 season when KLM truly became the unquestionable top line of Soviet hockey. Not that they weren't awesome already at the 1981 Canada Cup. But Shepelev's hat-trick in the CC final, not to mention his 2 goals in the semifinal (where KLM was ineffective) versus CSSR, as well as their great performance in the 1982 world championships, probably made Kapustin-Shepelev-Shalimov the best Soviet line in that season.

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08-31-2010, 04:07 PM
  #40
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Yeah, it was only in the 1982-83 season when KLM truly became the unquestionable top line of Soviet hockey. Not that they weren't awesome already at the 1981 Canada Cup. But Shepelev's hat-trick in the CC final, not to mention his 2 goals in the semifinal (where KLM was ineffective) versus CSSR, as well as their great performance in the 1982 world championships, probably made Kapustin-Shepelev-Shalimov the best Soviet line in that season.
Okay - since people are nitpicking on the "peak" scenario...let's then pick it apart so to speak. :-)

The Soviets have never let 20-year-olds be the top line, especially with Tikhonov in the picture...doesn't mean they weren't the best line in 1981 or 1982 as well, or more specifically at their peak.

Peter Forsberg/Mats Sundin/ were second-and third-line centers in Quebec at 21 years of age or so ..were they not already at their peaks? Malkin hasn't been the number one center in Pittsburgh...so he's not as his peak?

Larionov was almost 21 years old at the 1981 Canada Cup...Fetisov was 22. Two of the greatest Russian players ever.. were Lemieux, Orr, Lindros, Bossy, Crosby, Howe, Hull, Gretzky, Hawerchuk, Forsberg, etc. etc., not in their peak years at 21? Are great players not great players by the age of 20 as a rule?

I was pointing out that Canada was facing a formidable Soviet squad with a KLM line (and Kasatonov and Fetisov) that was at their peak. Well..Festisov was certainly at his peak....anyone want to argue that? And so was Kasatonov IMO...who never played much better than he did in 1981...he was in his peak period without question I think.

Regardless....Team Canada faced a young fivesome that was the new face of Soviet hockey..they were young, brash, supremely skilled...and at their peaks...just ask the Canadian players if they weren't effective..... the Canadian coaching staff fretted so much about shutting them down that the Shepelev line was left without much defensive coverage and smoked them.

As far as I'm concerned the minute the KLM line and Fetisov and Kasatonov laced up skates for their national team they were at their peak, just like Ovechkin or Crosby when they came into the league, or Gretzky, Lemieux, Bossy, Trottier, Stastny, Hawerchuk, etc., etc. If you are one of the top players in the NHL you are "at your peak" no matter your age...just as that fivesome in 1981 was at its peak...the peak lasted about five or six years...but the quintet was never better..IMO..than it was between 1981 and 1986. Were they a little better in 1983 than in 1981? Of course..they were a little more mature and stronger...but in 1981...they were already outstanding world talents....and their youthful enthusiasm and skill were the main reason that team was so good.

it's a shame that we didn't see Larionov until his late 20's in the NHL because he really was a special player before he ever arrived. Not quite as flashy as the other too, but so smart.

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08-31-2010, 05:05 PM
  #41
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'Peak years' are generally defined as the years a player is at his absolute best.

Was KLM was a very special line in circa 1981? Certainly; however they weren't at the top of their game yet. Their peak years came a few years later. .

Likewise, despite being the 2nd best player in the world, you'll also have a difficult time arguing that a 21 year old Lemieux was at his peak.

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08-31-2010, 06:27 PM
  #42
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'Peak years' are generally defined as the years a player is at his absolute best.

Was KLM was a very special line in circa 1981? Certainly; however they weren't at the top of their game yet. Their peak years came a few years later. .

Likewise, despite being the 2nd best player in the world, you'll also have a difficult time arguing that a 21 year old Lemieux was at his peak.

I hope I am at least debating with people who were at least alive in 1981 - I saw the series (I was 17 and had seen quite a few Soviet games since 1972) and noticed rather quickly how great those FIVE players were, and that they were representing the revitalization of Soviet hockey.


Bobby Orr at 16 years of age would have been one of the best defencemen in the NHL - Gretzky at 17 would likely have scored 100 points in the NHL.... Denis Potvin at 17 would have been a top two defenceman on all but a couple of teams in the league. Lindros was better at 18 than 25.

Lemieux was already at his peak at 21 as was Gretzky, Orr, Makarov and a host of others I've mentioned. .... their peaks start a lot sooner and, barring injuries and such last a lot longer than the normal athlete...


My whole original point was that in 1981 the KLM line, Fetisov, and Kasatonov were an elite group already...... it's a major reason why USSR were so hard to beat - when you can insert a young quintet like that into your national team lineup it's a tremendous boost.

What people have instead decided to dispute is what the definition of 'peak' is... as I decided to mention that Makarov (23), Fetisov (23), Kasatonov (22 almost), Krutov (21) and Larionov (21) were at their 'peak'....

my definition in regards to superstar players is obviously different than some....for me if you are one of the best players in your league or in the world..regardless of what age you are at the time..you are at your peak...your peak may last 20 years...if 10 or 20 years later you are still one of the best players in your league...you are at your peak even if you may have had more points for a couple straight seasons than in other ones.

Makarov was the top player at the World Championships at age 21...was he not at his peak in the 81 Canada Cup at age 23? As I asked before..was Fetisov not at his peak? Did you watch the games? He was a rock in every game I saw.. a force.

why does peak have to be refined to two or three years in the mid 20's if you are outstanding at 20 or age 35? Did Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Henri Richard, Dave Keon, and dozens of other longtime NHL stars really have distinctive peak years? Jimmy Carson's peak years statistically were at 18 and 19.... Lindros' peak years were between 17 and 25....... Mike Knuble's peak years started in his 30s (or so it seemed) .... there is no rhyme or reason to when you are an exceptional player (Knuble excluded of course)..or for how long you will be one.


I have a hard time believing that those five players, in particular Makarov and Fetisov who were both 23, weren't already at their peaks, regardless of who scored goals in the final game or the semi-final game of one tournament.

Even if they weren't at their absolute peaks, by some people's stringent, steadfast guidelines...they were exceptional and they were the future of Soviet hockey at the time.

anyway - I still say the 1981 Canada roster was underrated. :-)

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08-31-2010, 10:17 PM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Haberdashery View Post
I hope I am at least debating with people who were at least alive in 1981 - I saw the series (I was 17 and had seen quite a few Soviet games since 1972) and noticed rather quickly how great those FIVE players were, and that they were representing the revitalization of Soviet hockey.


Bobby Orr at 16 years of age would have been one of the best defencemen in the NHL - Gretzky at 17 would likely have scored 100 points in the NHL.... Denis Potvin at 17 would have been a top two defenceman on all but a couple of teams in the league. Lindros was better at 18 than 25.

Lemieux was already at his peak at 21 as was Gretzky, Orr, Makarov and a host of others I've mentioned. .... their peaks start a lot sooner and, barring injuries and such last a lot longer than the normal athlete...


My whole original point was that in 1981 the KLM line, Fetisov, and Kasatonov were an elite group already...... it's a major reason why USSR were so hard to beat - when you can insert a young quintet like that into your national team lineup it's a tremendous boost.

What people have instead decided to dispute is what the definition of 'peak' is... as I decided to mention that Makarov (23), Fetisov (23), Kasatonov (22 almost), Krutov (21) and Larionov (21) were at their 'peak'....

my definition in regards to superstar players is obviously different than some....for me if you are one of the best players in your league or in the world..regardless of what age you are at the time..you are at your peak...your peak may last 20 years...if 10 or 20 years later you are still one of the best players in your league...you are at your peak even if you may have had more points for a couple straight seasons than in other ones.

Makarov was the top player at the World Championships at age 21...was he not at his peak in the 81 Canada Cup at age 23? As I asked before..was Fetisov not at his peak? Did you watch the games? He was a rock in every game I saw.. a force.

why does peak have to be refined to two or three years in the mid 20's if you are outstanding at 20 or age 35? Did Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, Henri Richard, Dave Keon, and dozens of other longtime NHL stars really have distinctive peak years? Jimmy Carson's peak years statistically were at 18 and 19.... Lindros' peak years were between 17 and 25....... Mike Knuble's peak years started in his 30s (or so it seemed) .... there is no rhyme or reason to when you are an exceptional player (Knuble excluded of course)..or for how long you will be one.


I have a hard time believing that those five players, in particular Makarov and Fetisov who were both 23, weren't already at their peaks, regardless of who scored goals in the final game or the semi-final game of one tournament.

Even if they weren't at their absolute peaks, by some people's stringent, steadfast guidelines...they were exceptional and they were the future of Soviet hockey at the time.

anyway - I still say the 1981 Canada roster was underrated. :-)
I agree. To me they were the 2nd best team of the four. Maybe 3rd behind the 84 team, but to me the 91 team on paper is by far the worst.

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09-01-2010, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Haberdashery View Post
Regardless....Team Canada faced a young fivesome that was the new face of Soviet hockey..they were young, brash, supremely skilled...and at their peaks...just ask the Canadian players if they weren't effective..... the Canadian coaching staff fretted so much about shutting them down that the Shepelev line was left without much defensive coverage and smoked them.
Okay, I give up; they were at their peak (i.e. not something worth to argue over)

I haven't watched the game in a while, but I think it was the Bossy-Trottier-Gillies line that were matched against KLM for the most of the game, though. Hardly a defensive line. And KLM was very effective in the final game, no question: Larionov scored two and Krutov the infamous shorthanded goal (after a 'great defensive move' by Guy Lafleur ).

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09-01-2010, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by God Bless Canada View Post
My fondest memory from international hockey in 1991 is John Slaney scoring with about six minutes remaining in the unofficial gold medal game at the 1991 WJC in Saskatoon in the last truly epic Canada-USSR hockey game. It's one of my favourite hockey moments of all-time. Outside of Suter's hit from behind on Gretzky, there isn't a play or a moment from the 91 Canada Cup that really stands out.
I would pick the Larmer goal in Game #2. Really a classic Hollywood ending. The score is tied 2-2 Canada vs. USA with Canada leading the best of three 1-0 when the USA gets a powerplay in the 3rd period. Suter, public enemy #1 in Canada gets the puck at the line, bobbles it and the ever aware Larmer swats at the puck knocking it out of the zone and sending him on a clear breakaway where he beats Richter. Hull is the lone American chasing Larmer and he isn't even close to getting back in time. Two of the most hated American players from a Canadian standpoint were involved.

At the end of the game Graham gets the empty netter. In general this tournament was anti-climactic but it did have the Larmer moment

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09-07-2010, 12:07 AM
  #46
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Brett Hull was passed over for Canada's 1986 WC team, which sealed the deal for his choice to play for the U.S. Gretzky tried to talk him into joining Canada for the 1991 Canada Cup, but Hull wouldn't go back.

Yzerman ignored Keenan when assembling the 2010 Olympic coaching staff, so he's had his revenge for '91. He'll ignore him while running the Tampa Bay Lightning as well.

On paper:

1. 1987
2. 1981
3. 1984
4. 1991

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