So what if they’re no longer Communists?

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The great former Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak is “pitching another Summit Series between Russia and Canada”:http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=194120&hubname=nhl.
one_tretiak01.jpg

I think given who he is, if Tretiak suggested hockey switch to playing with tennis balls instead of pucks we should take it seriously. That said, what made those original matches between the best of the NHL and the Soviets so intriguing is the two teams dwelled in entirely different universes. Now they’re all sharing the same dressing rooms (Speaking of which, I recently finished Al Strachan’s “Go to the Goal,” which, among other gems, goes into great detail about the ’79 Series between the NHL and the Soviets).

I’m all for more international competition even in non-Olympic years, especially in place of buzz-kill that was the All-Star game. But we’ll never again have the same mystique that surrounded those great Russian teams.

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43 Comments

  1. Tretiak was the man. He wanted so badly to play for le Habs and those damn Commies wouldn’t let him get away. He would have been one hell of an NHL backstop.

    If he has an opinion about the game, people should take notice. To agree with Sam, I would love to see some more international competition involving NHL players and the best other nations premire leagues have to offer. Then, maybe, just maybe, I could see Thomas Pock on the ice (for Team Austria of course).

  2. I Miss Steve Rucchin on

    Hey, Sam, if you read a lot of hockey books on the planes, I recommend Game of My Life, a collection of stories and interviews with Rangers from the first team to the last team, with everyone in between from Emile Francis (said when the Rangers won the Cup, he didn’t look at the ice, he just stared at the fans crying) to Andy Bathgate to Stephane Matteau to Mike Gartner and Mark Messier. Great book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Game-My-Life-York-Rangers/dp/1582619565/sr=8-1/qid=1170208667/ref=sr_1_1/105-9477094-6698010?ie=UTF8&s=books

  3. Longtimerangerfan on

    Sam, I agree that more international competition would be great but not in the middle of the hockey season…in my opinion, the olympic break hurt the Rangers big time last year.

  4. I thought, despite what it did to the Rangers, that Olympic hockey was great last time and that too much international play (not that they don’t have World Championships every month somewhere it seems), would significantly lessen the fun.

    And, to agree with one of Sam’s points, the lack of Cold War tension and the cultural differences that situation brought, removes a thrill that existed even back in the ’87 Canada Cup or seeing Moscow Dynamo at the Garden.

    Now a Chechen-Russian game…

  5. Sam:

    A good analogy: back when the NFL and AFL were separate entities, the first few Super Bowls had the mystique of two teams who could never face each other during the season. There was no way to predict the outcome. That’s what generated such interest.

    That same mystique was generated by the first Summit Series because the Russians were like space aliens – nobody knew the players or just how good they were. Even the NHL players themselves were totally in the dark.

    But another series today would be totally devoid of any mystery. The teams would be almost entirely made up of NHL players who play each other all season long.

    If it could be done during the off-season, then sure, I’d even watch pee-wee hockey during the off-season. But there is no sane reason to take time off during the season for another Olympic-like break.

  6. Doodie Machetto on

    another way to make that game worthwhile: have Canadian AHLers play againt Russian Superleaguers.

  7. what, is Tretiak still smarting from getting his ass beat by the USA heroes in ’80 ?

    Canada beat them in ’72 on a paul henderson goal.

  8. Larry Brooks today:

    1. Rangers unlikely to pursue Forsberg because the risk/reward ratio doesnt work.

    2. May be after Tkachuk but the price would seem to be too high and he’d only be a few-month rental.

    3. In what would make my day and week, are considering trading either Rachunek or Ward to Nashville for Josef Vasicek, who will be a UFA next year. Id rather they deal Rachunek, but if nothing else this clears the way for Pock this year and Baranka and Staal next. Dont know much about Vasicek except hes 26 and UFA at season’s end.

  9. Leonid Goretsky on

    I’m looking forward to seeing another series happen but as mentioned – in the off-season. And not broadcasted on Vs. at 2am

  10. I have to agree that the mystique surrounding the original Summit Series will never be repeated. But I do enjoy watching international competition, and wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the World Cup come back (in the off season, say every 4 years, splitting the break between Olympic years.)

    On the topic of great hockey books and international competition, I’m currently reading “The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team” by Wayne Coffey and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a fantastic narrative of an incredible story. I love the way Coffey weaves the background of each of the key figures into the story of the game itself. It’s an amazing piece of story telling.

  11. Longtimerangerfan on

    Laurie when you’re done with it, “The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Teamâ€? by Wayne Coffey, can I read it?

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