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Weber's Review of "Team Canada 1972 – The Official 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Summit Series – as Told by the Players"

Tuesday, 10.16.2012 / 1:05 PM CT
By Pete Weber - Radio Play-by-Play / Pete Weber's Hockey Blog
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Pete Weber\'s Hockey Blog

If you are seeking other means to satisfy your “hockey jones,” Predators’ Voice Pete Weber will be periodically reviewing various forms of hockey media.

In this installment, Pete reviews “Team Canada 1972 – The Official 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Summit Series – as Told by the Players” With Andrew Podnieks

More hockey history for you with this entry: the “Summit Series” between Team Canada and the Soviet Union is remembered by Canadians as well as Americans over 55 remember where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated in November of 1963.

Andrew Podnieks has put together a coffee table book that allows the players involved in the first-ever series involving the top NHL players against the best of the Soviet Union. Previously, the Soviets had always maintained that they would not play their “amateurs” against the Canadian professionals. The fact that the only thing the Soviet players did was play hockey never entered into it.

This provided a great awakening in North America. Team Canada was supposed to take the 8-game set (4 in Canada, 4 in Moscow) easily, perhaps even sweep it.

The scouting reports on the Soviets added to that presumption of Canadian superiority. The Soviets didn’t shoot enough, their goaltender – Vladislav Tretiak seemed to be an absolute sieve when the Canadians saw him play. They didn’t know that when they saw him, he was just coming off his nuptials. Weeks later, things would be different.

An All-Star team (minus Bobby Hull, who had jumped to the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets from the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, was not allowed to play. Defenseman Bobby Orr was not healthy enough to participate fully) was assembled – and came to camp to get into shape. One problem – the Soviets trained 11 months a year and were in great shape!

Team Canada got out to an early and easy lead in Game One in Montreal…only to receive the ultimate wake-up call, getting thrashed, 7-3.

The response was a victory in Toronto, a tie in Winnipeg and a disheartening loss in Vancouver, after which Phil Esposito emerged in a post-game TV interview, stating that all the booing of Team Canada at the Pacific Coliseum that night was unfair, that the players were there because “we love Canada!”

After the series switched to Moscow, the Soviets took Game Five, taking a 3-1-1 series lead. Team Canada was one loss away from dropping the series.

Calling on every aspect of their character and talents, Team Canada managed to sweep the final three games, with Paul Henderson emerging as the hero. Ask virtually any Canadian what they were doing on September 28, 1972, and most will respond that they were in front of their television sets listening to Foster Hewitt intone: “Henderson has scored for Canada!”

As a keepsake, it’s an outstanding addition to any hockey library. There are the official portrait photographs of all the players and coaches, some you know, some you won’t, along with tables of statistics from the event.

Link to amazon.com book site

Link to author interview

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36