Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DOMANSKY AND NE-DOMANSKY




"But Alex, who was the second guy defected to North America in 1974?" - should ask my readers.

The second one is Czechoslovakian hockey legend VACLAV NEDOMANSKY.
Vaclav was the one of the best European forwards of the late 60s - early 70s. Emotional player he had his best games playing against the Soviets after the USSR's 1968 invasion to Czechoslovakia. He, the Holik brothers and Vlado Dzurilla were the guys who inflamed whole team to play every single game against "the big red machine" like the last battle of their life. "To win or to die" or let me say "to die but to win" was the main and only idea for them facing Russians since 1968 for the next two decades. Even Jaromir Jagr are wearing his number 68 in memory of this sad event.
But let me bring you back to 70s. It was the era of the Soviet - Maoist China conflict. It wasn't an ideology confrontation only. It came to some real fights at some boarder regions. One of them, the most famous at this time, was DOMANSKY Peninsula.
So it was a joke spread out, like we in the Soviet Union has two problems by this time - "DOMANSKY and ...NEDOMANSKY"

The Vaclav name was literally erased from every hockey book, article or broadcasting. There were no information on how he is doing, how he is playing, even was he alive at all. Simply, nothing.
In 1983 I was attending some games of World Junior, sitting at VIP sector of "Lenin SKK Arena", trying to enjoy the games.
Why "trying"? I have our hockey legend Boris Majorov sitting one row down and talking no stop to his friend. He missed the goal Czechoslovakia scored on Canada just saying "not the first, not the last..." but in five minutes I was rewarded. His friend asked Majorov about Nedomancky. "He is playing with Detroit", - was the answer.

I have got this info confirmed in seven years only...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

RICHARD "THE TRAITOR" FARDA


Yes,yes,yes...This guy is Richard Farda, the 1972 World Champion from Czechoslovakia.
He was born on August 11, 1945 in Brno, played with Dukla Jihlava (serving army), then ZKL Brno. Richard represented this club and his home town in Czechoslovakia national team, became 1972 World champion (Prague), 1972 Olympic bronze medalist and Czechoslovakia champion of 1966.


Another Photo Of Richard Farda (11)

Nice and straight career, but till 1974 only. This year after 1974 World championship (Helsinki) he and his partner Vaclav Nedomansky defected to Canada becoming "the traitors" as was said by the main Czechoslovakia newspaper "Rude Pravo". This article was reprinted in the USSR by "Soviet Sport". The climax of the story was set by the Soviet main newspaper "Pravda", the Communist World leading Media, by publishing the article "Canadian Hockey Trade Items" describing how poor stupid guys (Farda and Nedomansky) were fooled by North Americans hockey capitalist-sharks and "had their careers ruined".

Ironical it proved to be truth saying on Farda case. He achieved nothing but some money playing for Toronto and Birmingham for 3 years (WHA). He has his career finished in couple of years playing in Switzerland.
His name was forbidden and almost forgotten for us for decades.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

DO YOU KNOW THIS GUY?




Do you know this player? He become well known in the ... Soviet Union literally overnight. The main soviet newspaper "Central Pravda" published the article devoted to him and his partner. The article was located outside of sports area and was named "Canadian Hockey Trade Items" ("канадский хоккейный товар")
So the hero of this publication and the man from my photos is...


JIRI HOLECEK "FORGETS" HIS JERSEY AT HIS DEBUT GAME




Look at this photo. 1966. It was one of the first games the legend goalie Jiri Holecek represented his country (maybe the very first, I am not sure). The friendly game between Czechoslovakia and Team Canada was played in Prague right before 1966 Lubliana's World Championship where Czechoslovakia finished second just one point behind of the Soviets and where Jiri started his fantastic international career officially.

But it's not the only and major reason I am publishing this photo from my famous (can I say it, Arthur?) archives. I clearly remember (no, no - not this game, I was 5 years old only!) I was kind of shocked in early 80s (or late 70s?) seen Sweden played dark blue jerseys instead of ever-yellow for first time in decade. My neighbour - the hockey fan veteran, said me - "Hmm, kid, you are too young to remember hockey of 50s.."
I am not "too young" anymore, but it's not an issue. The point is, look at this b/w photo again. Don't you think it's little bit strange having whole Czechoslovakia playing white and their goalie Holecek playing dark jersey?!
Maybe he has his white jersey forgotten (as the kids from my son's team doing more than often) to bring for his debut game? (Just kidding...)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BOBBY CLARKE - I WAS NO FIGHTER


Somehow I missed this article when it was published first in 2006. I found it suddenly when I did some search on different point. But it was so interesting that I decided to re-publish it today. Enjoy!

In Russia he is remembered as a hockey ruffian who broke Kharlamov's leg in 1972; in Northern America – as one of the greatest players in the NHL's history.


Bobby Clarke And Boris Mikhailov During 1975 Banquet

By Slava MALAMUD, Sport-Express author. 2006

Robert Earl (Bobby) Clarke

Born: August 13, 1949, in Flin Flon, province of Manitoba.
Centre forward. Played for the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers (1969-1984): 358 goals and 852 assists (1,210 points) in regular season; 42 goals and 77 assists (119 points) in play-offs.
Three-time winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player (1973, 1975 and 1976); twice a member of the NHL First Team (1975, 1976); eight-time NHL All Star; two-time Stanley Cup winner (1974, 1975).

Played in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union; member of Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup and 1982 World Championships. Played in the Challenge Cup against the Soviet Union for the NHL All-Stars. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. The recipient of the Order of Canada (the second grade - Officer of the Order). The President and the General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Who is he in reality, Bobby Clarke, the captain of the "Broad Street Bullies", the legend and symbol of the Philadelphia Flyers?

The truth is, as usual, somewhere in the middle. Clarke was a tough, fierce player, entirely faithful to his team. He was equally competent both in giving a smack in the mouth and putting the puck in the net. He was a superstar at a club that played anti-star hockey, but he became the leader, the inspiration and the soul of this, in all respects, terrible group. He is not ashamed of his deeds and he does not apologize for anything. Well then, who is he, Bobby Clarke? Judge for yourself. The ex-Bully and at present the General Manager of the Flyers gave an exclusive interview to our "SE" correspondent.

FLIN FLON

Undoubtedly, there is a better time for meeting with the NHL's club President than in the first post-lockout month. NHL club bosses simply do not have any days off nowadays. But the prospect of a lifetime first – a big interview for a Russian publication – was so attractive for Clarke that he immediately agreed to squeeze an hour from his working time, after one of the first Flyers practices of the new season.

It happened in the Orange-and-Blacks’ training arena in the town of Woorhees, New Jersey, near Philadelphia. Peter Forsberg and his crew shared the ice with some farm team players. A couple of girls practised figure skating on the adjacent rink. And on the second floor, moments after the Flyers media representative escorted me into an empty office, a man of medium height, wearing a baseball cap and shorts, came in, sat down in a chair under the portrait of Lindros (who is as everpresent in the building as Lenin was in Russia some time ago) and broadly smiled.

The details of his biography are widely known to North American fans. Everybody knows that he was born and raised in the far north, in the tiny Canadian town with a funny name of Flin Flon which is about ten hours by bus from the provincial centre, Winnipeg. But Bobby shrugs off the quaint and exotic in his biography.

- It’s just an ordinary mining town. Nothing special. I am sure, somewhere in the North of Russia there are towns exactly like this. There were a lot of lakes around and all the boys played hockey. In my time, several NHL players came out from there. I, however, didn’t even know much about the league. I was already playing junior hockey when the first TV’s arrived in our town. That's about all that could be said about Flin Flon.

The NHL knew enough about young Bobby but was not in a hurry to see him among its players. From his childhood Clarke suffered from diabetes, and the scouts were sure that it would prevent him from playing professional hockey.

- At that time people knew very little about the disease, - explains Clarke. – As far as I know, none of the clubs except Philadelphia even asked the doctors for any explanations. Everybody just decided that if there was something wrong with your health, then you are not NHL material. During the first training camps I had some seizures, but the team doctor worked out a special diet for me and since then everything was okay.

- What was the diet he came up with?

- I had to take a lot of glucose. Before a game I would drink a can of Coke or juice with five spoons of sugar. Did the same thing during the intermissions. I also always had some chocolate with me, just in case. The thing is, you inject insulin every morning, so you must eat enough to balance out its content in your blood. But when you play sports, you burn the calories and you need to improvise to bring the level back to normal. In general, we managed to work it out so that my disease did not affect the game at all.

Besides, I was lucky to complete my career without any major injuries. I had a broken finger, a sprained leg, lots of cuts on my face, that's pretty much all. It came from being the kind of player I was. But nothing really bad. Thankfully, I kept my knees and shoulders whole.

- But still you quit hockey at 34. According to modern standards, it's still a young age.

- But not back then, it wasn’t. Twenty years ago when a player got over 30, he was an old man. We had not been whipped into shape as the modern players are. We had very little offseason training. At that time there was no such thing as off-the-ice conditioning: we were only taught hockey. You took care of your own body on your own time. And, of course, none of today’s medical and fitness staff. But the workload during the season was very much the same, if not heavier. So, by the age of 30, most players were spent.

"THEY SCARED THE S*** OUT OF US"

Bobby Clarke is not only about that sixth game of the 1972 Series between Canada and the Soviet Union or Kharlamov's broken leg. The great Soviet forward himself many times referred to Clarke as a brilliant player. But still, that Series had made such an important impact on the career and reputation of Clarke that it naturally dominated our conversation. And is it not interesting to look at this mega-event through the eyes of one of its major personalities?

- "No doubt, the Soviet players were much better prepared physically than us," recalls Clarke. "Another thing that played against us was probably the arrogance. There was not a player in our team wou doubted we’d win easily. And, of course, we were quicky proven to be wrong, as our opponent turned out to be just as good as we were… This is probably the main lesson everyone learned in that series: there was no considerable difference between us. We were all just hockey players, similar to each other in many ways. This is why I think this series was the greatest event in the history of hockey. Canada won, but both teams became famous.

- Please, describe your attitude to your opponent before the Series began.

- I did not think about them at all. I had plenty other problems to occupy myself with. I happened to be the last player who was named to the team, so in order to get any playing time, I had go all out in practices during the camp. So I made the fourth line with Henderson and Ellis, who also were lucky to be on the team at all. But that team had some players who could do nothing and still make the lineup. The three of us had to die on the ice to prove that we were worthy. And in the end, those guys who didn’t try hard paid the price: they weren’t as ready as they should’ve been.

- You probably mean Phil Esposito, do you not?

- Yes, you're right. He was one of them. But yo be fair to Phil, as the series went on he just got better and better until he had reached his normal level. But many of them still played to half of their ability. Also, some did not have enough time to recover from the last season or from injuries and were not able to play at all. Like Bobby Orr, for instance.

- What did you know about the Soviets?

- Nothing. We started the game without knowing a thing about our opponent. I don’t know, maybe a couple of notes from someone, or maybe someone saw them a couple of times a long time ago – that was about all we had on the Russians. This sounds strange but nobody cared about the opponent. Until we saw them in action, we could not imagine how strong their team was.

- So you did not know a thing about your opponent, you did not even think about coming off second-best … Then how did you motivate yourself? Or was there not any motivation at all because you did not expect this event to become important?

- Well, for us it just was a series of exhibition games. Four games against the Russians in Canada, two games in Sweden, four more in Russia and one more in Czechoslovakia on the way back. Just preseason stuff, you know. I personally could not imagine that it was going to be such an important milestone in the history of hockey. Only after the first game when we had our asses kicked, we started thinking about how to pull ourselves together take it seriously. Luckily, we were able to do it, just in time.

- Could you describe your feelings during the first game?

- I thin, most of us had the s--- scared out of us. After the first period we realized that we could not keep up with the Russians. The players just know these things intuitively. We understood that they were a better team than us that day. By the middle of the second period it became clear that it could get real ugly. After the end of the Canadian part of the Series all the emotions we felt sort of transformed into pure anger. Anger at ourselves. We did not play the way we were able and that drove me nuts.

- Do you remember the famous speach by Phil Esposito when he was interviewed after the fourth game in which he ripped the Canadian fans for booing? Did you share his point of view?

- No, I did not. He is one of the most emotional and outspoken people to ever play in the NHL. I kept my anger inside and I was angry at myself and the team. The fans had every right to boo because we deserved it. The fact that we did not imagine the strength of the Soviet team and that we were poorly prepared – all of that was just an excuse. We had nobody to blame but ourselves.



- So what had happened to your team in Moscow? The break in the action hardly explains the change in fortunes, as you lost your fifth game too.

- During the Canadian series we were just in a terrible shape. After the terrible loss in Montreal, we won in Toronto, but we played on pure emotions. And in Winnipeg we managed to scrape up a tie that way. But you can’t play just on emotions alone forever: in the long run you just exhaust yourself. That was exactly what happened in Vancouver. But after we had had a little rest in Sweden we got into a much better shape. Our team work was better, our speed was better, our passing was better too. In Moscow we were a team, a team that was capable of playing the full 60 minutes. But the fact that the games were stuill close, well, that’s just a credit to the Russians.

"LIQUIDATION" OF KHARLAMOV

- So we have reached the episode with Kharlamov in the sixth game of the Series. The first thing I would like to ask you: did you know his leg was sore before you hit him?

- No, I had no idea. You see, there’s been so much crap written about this. It was not something planned. My line played against Kharlamov during the whole series and we played well. He scored in the first games but then we managed to hold him back. - Bobby, that is not exactly so. For instance, he assisted Vikulov who scored the winning goal in game five. Moreover, if I am not mistaken, Kharlamov had intercepted your pass when doing this.

- Is that right? Maybe. I don't remember it very well. But on the whole we controlled him well. As for the episode you've mentioned, we were going for the puck together, he pushed me with the stick, then turned around and skated away. I caught up with him and hit him on the leg, not thinking at all where and how I hit.

- You speak about it as if it were a perefectly normal thing.

- For us it was normal. The thing is that we, Canadians, are used to fighting as an integral part of hockey. When you have “misunderstandings” like this, they are often solved with the fists. Soviet hockey had no fights so the players used other methods to get the point accross. Like a little bit of “stick work” here and there, you know. And I personally don't mind this. I am a tough player and I respect toughness in others. But if I am poked with a stick I will do the same. We just had to adapt to the new ways of doing things, that’s all.

- But still, honestly, you were not seeking revenge on Kharlamov for the ending of the fifth game?

- Like I said, I do not remember what happened there in the fifth game (Smiling). I am sure I remembered then, but I can not say anything now.

- And how about the fact that assistant coach John Ferguson allegedly ordered you to take Kharlamov out?

- Well, John later said that he said something like this but to tell you the truth, I don't remember that. But, knowing Ferguson, I don’t doubt that it that he could have said it. And if he did, I would have listened to him, by the way. But I don’t think he ever said anything to me personally. Probably, he just said something like: "Someone’s gotta do something about this guy".

- Taking into account this episode and several others from the Moscow series would it be fair to say that you achieved such a turnaround in the Series just because you intimidated your opponent?

- No, there were other factors involved. In Moscow we played much better than in Canada. We were almost equal to the Soviet team physically by then, we passed much better, we shot the puck much better, we became faster and played better on defence. Besides, when you have nothing to loose, it is easier to play. And after the fifth game we had nothing to loose.

- A lot was said and written about refereeing in Moscow.

- Yes, there were plenty of strange calls. It seems to me that all the background political crap from both sides had a big effect on the Series. I think this stuff should never be allowed to influence sports, but somehow it always happens anyway.

- How would you comment on the episode in the eighth game when after a questionable penalty, Parise had threatened the referee with the fragment of his stick?

- I don't think that Parise could have hit him. Jean-Paul has always been a good, honest, straight-shooting guy. He could have never injured anybody on purpose. But the refereeing in the beginning of the eighth game was just horrible, and I am sure that the referee drove Jean insane in the end. I am glad that he just raised the stick but did not hit him, and I remember I was very much surprised. Someone like me, you could expect to do it but not Jean.

IT WAS VERY CLEAN

- What was your impression of Moscow in the 1972?

- I liked it very much. I remember it was very clean and quiet, people were very friendly.

- Weren't you afraid that you would be followed?

- I know what some of our players said (no doubt, Clarke means Phil Esposito – S.M.) but even if there was something like this, it did not worry me. I came to Moscow to play hockey, and I never cared about politics and s--- like that.

- But at that time both America and the USSR considered the Series as an important political event, as the war of the worlds. Did it not touch on you at all?

- I remember how the Series was presented. It was at the height of the cold war, after all, so I heard stories about the battle between communism and democracy and all that stuff. But for me it was a matchup of hockey players. I don’t know what motivated others, but for me hockey and the will to win were always enough.

- What, in your opinion, was the main advantage of the Canadian team?

- I believe that the strength of the Soviet team lay in good teamwork. The Russians could play very well with each other within their five-men units. As soon as we managed to break their lines up a little, they couldn’t do as well any longer. They could not re-adjust and play differently.

- How did you do it?

- How? Just by playing the Canadian way: we ran the s--- out of them and plastered them all over the boards. During the first games we weren't as fast as they were, but as we got into a better shape we were blocking passes and taking them from their favourite spots. This is the Canadian style which is comfortable for us.

Of course, after this series we learned a lot from the Russians, but it seems to me that European hockey got more from us than vice versa.

- And how did it show?

- Just look at the modern international tournaments. It used to be that when two national teams would get out on the ice, you could see the difference in styles immediately. Now everybody plays the same type hockey. And it’s the North American type. In our time Soviet players never dumped the puck into the zone. They would rather turn around at the blue line and pass backwards to start a play all over again. Now they do it our way more often. I think that after 1972 the Russians learned that it’s more effective to get the puck into the opposite end and play physical hockey there. And we learned to pass better and improved our conditioning.



- Does that mean that Canadian hockey of the time was strictly the simple “dump and chase”?

- No, it’s not about simplicity. The Canadians always played "North to South" that is vertically, from one goal to the other. We’d get the puck and we’d always try to find the shortest way to the opponent's goal. Our hockey was much more direct and aggressive. In Europe they played "East to West", horizontally, between the boards. Soviet players would try to hold the puck longer, pass it to each other, move it between the blue lines. That's not for us. We would take the blue line by storm, if it was possible to stickhandle or pass across it, we’d do it, but if it wasn’t – dump and run. The difference here is not in the complexity but in the direction and speed.

THE GRACEFUL YAKUSHEV

- Don't you think it was a symbolic thing that the final result of the Series was determined by your line which consisted of relatively non-star players? As by that time you were not a star yet.

- I wouldn’t single us out. Of course, Paul Henderson scored the winning goals in the last three games, but it was not my line that won the Series, it was the team. Someone had to stop the Russians from scoring, someone had to score other goals. Without them, Henderson's goals would have meant nothing. Paul has deserved his hero status, but in hockey it’s teams that win.

- Were Soviet players more skilled one-on-ne?

- I would not say so, although there were plenty of great players. Kharlamov was an incredible player and he could play physically too. What he was doing with the puck was just unbelievably beautiful. But when I played against Maltsev, I thought to myself that he was the best forward I had ever met on the ice. And I still think so now. He was great in everything – from controlling the puck to face-offs to physical play. And Yakushev! I would say he was the best player of the Series in both teams. Towards the end I looked at him and thought about the great Jean Beliveau, Alexander resembled him so much. He had that special grace, that Jean had. He is one those you could envy in a good way. Everyone would like to play like him: clean, beautiful, presise, strong and always with this one-of-a-kind grace.

- The Series was supposed to prove something. Either that the Canadians were still stronger than the rest of the world or that the Soviet team had overtaken them. As a result, what, in your opinion, did it prove?

- That the best Soviet hockey players are as good as the best NHL players. A one-goal victory in the last game of the series does not really prove a lot. Since then, I think, we’ve stopped considering ourselves to be head and shoulders abouve the rest. However, we are still number one in the world. See for yourself: Canada has a very small population compared to Russia, so Russia should produce more first-rate players, but this just doesn’t happen. Canada has been winning everything in international competition lately. As a general manager, am surprised we can’t find more great players in Russia, Finland, Sweden. Yes, sometimes you come across a Malkin or an Ovechkin but beyond them there is nothing. I don't get it.

- Can it be said that your status of a superstar first became firmly established during the Summit Series?

- Sure. I'd played in the League for only three years then, and being a part of the series really gave me a big push in my development. Probably, as a player in 1972 I skipped ahead about 2 years.

THERE WERE NO COWARDS IN CSKA…

At present Bobby Clarke's smile looks like an excellent advertisement of American dentistry. His pristinely white smile features not so much as a single natural upper tooth. In times gone by, Bobby's toothless grin was his trademark. And not only his, but in fact it was the trademark of his whole team, the great and terrible Philadelphia Flyers, the "Broad Street Bullies". This semi-mythical embodiment of the worst NHL stereotypes, as described by Vladimir Vysotsky in his song Professionals, can be thought of in many ways. But there is no doubt that the Bullies were an outstanding and a unique phenomenon, and the businesslike hockey administrator who was sitting right in front of me was the leader of that crew.

- We just caught a glimpse of the Broad Street Bullies in 1976 during the scandalously famous game with CSKA, but it was quite enough. Soviet fans who were unaccustomed to such competitive behaviour expressed their indignation at your playing style, but I know that in North America the opinion about that Philadelphia team was a long cry from unanimous.

- I believe that this was a team that anyone would want to be a part of. Yes, there were fans from other cities who hated us, but this was more out of envy than anything else. Maybe we fought more often than some would’ve liked, but that was just a good team-oriented mindset we had. Is there a fan who wouldn't want a team like this to root for? We went to fight together, and we were ready to fight for each other. Unfortunately, there aren’t any teams like that in today’s hockey.

- Does that mean that you would not mind seeing "The Hammer" Schultz and "The Hound Dog" Kelly play in today's NHL?

- I think that such players are also needed. And they are still around. There are lots of them grown in Canada but thye have a much tougher time breaking into the league now.

- You, in spite of your impressive statistics and three Hart Memorial Trophies, are mainly remembered as a tough player, a fighter.

- I played the way I thought was right. My motto was: "Give everything to the team". To some extent, my individual trophies are a result of playing for a very good team. For me it was very important to realize that I was a team player, one of the guys; on the ice, in a fight, and after the game when we went out for a beer with the rest of the guys.

- By the way, everybody knows how tough you were while playing. Were you as good in fights?

- No, I couldn’t fight worth a damn. I tried especially when I was young but I quit it pretty soon. Now, playing good tough hockey is a different matter.

- Including stickwork?..

- Including that. That’s the game. Once I told a reporter, who asked about my episode with Kharlamov, that I would have still been in Flin Flon hadn't I learned how to lay a two-hander once in a while. I could hit them on the leg, but don't forget that they did the same things to me. I am all for fairness, so the players who play tough hockey have to be prepared to get the same thing back. And I was ready for that.

- Do you remember the game against CSKA in 1976 when the Soviet team left the ice?

- That was very bad for Soviet hockey. It made it look as if the Russians were afraid of us. But I know it was not like that at all. The Russian guys were not cowards. I played against them before, they were real men, real tough sons of bitches. It was some other people that decided to take them off the ice. I am sure that was done against their will. If someone were to do this to me, I’d rip their throat out. Nobody ever has a right to make me out a coward. Besides, that game wasn’t all that dirty. Philadelphia played tough but it’s allowed in the game of hockey.

- The incident happened after a Philadelphia player punched a CSKA player in the head.

- I don’t think it’s what happened. I looked to me like Van Impe checked Kharlamov, nothing more. Even if he had punched him – so what? Kharlamov was not afraid of punches, so why take him from the ice by his hand like he was a child?

- Don't you agree that you would try to intimidate your opponents?

- You can intimidate only those who allow themselves to be intimidated. We just played our game, the way we usually played. The other teams tried to follow the CSKA style and got there asses kicked. We weren’t about to do that.

- Before the game with CSKA you said: "They'll try to play brain games, but this does not work with us. There are 20 guys in our team and none of them have any brains."

- To tell the truth, I don't remember that. Although I could have definitely said out something like that.



I AM NOT A RUSSOPHOBE

- Who out of the Soviet players you met impressed you the most and what could they, in your opinion, achieve in the NHL?

- Of course, Tretiak was one of the best goalies. Kharlamov and Yakushev could have won a Hart trophy each – that goes without saying. Petrov and Maltsev would have become NHL stars. The rest of the players of the 1972 team would have at least made the league. Naturally, the NHL hockey was a little bit different from the one the guys were used to, but I am certain, they would have adapted. Like I said, these guys feared nothing.

- Then may I remind you of another sentence? "I hate these sons of bitches. They don't like anything, they always complain of something and whine all the time".

- Yes, I said this before the game against CSKA. Of course, that was silly and I am ashamed of this now. After all, we had no problems with CSKA players outside the ice, we even became friends as far as it was possible in those times. I invited Tretiak to my place, had him meet my family. Why have I said that? Well, I was always good at playing mad. It was very difficult for me to be on the ice against somebody I liked. It was necessary to develop hatred against an opponent. So these words had no personal feelings for the Soviet players.

- It was said by some that you, as a general manager, didn’t much approve of Russian players and Europeans in general. The Flyers for a while were one of the most “North American” teams in the league.

- Really? We were the first NHL club to draft a Russian player. And who has drafted the Stastny brothers? As far as I am personally concerned you can ask any Russian player who played in Philadelphia if Bobby Clarke cares about his nationality.

- What is your opinion about the fact that Russia has not signed the agreement with the IIHF and the NHL?

- For the players, especially for those who want to play in the NHL, it's bad. But at the same time I can understand the Russians. I would not like to have my players taken away because of an agreement that was written by someone other than me.

At the same time I don't think that the NHL will seriously suffer from the Russian decision. In fact, there aren’t that many great players coming in from Russia. There are several real stars and plenty of third and fourth liners. If we are lucky to attract the best over here then everything is going to be all right. As for the average players, there are many more of them in Canada, and they are better anyway. So I'll think twice before I draft a Russian. Of course if he is a Malkin or an Ovechkin, you’ve got to take those guys.

- What do you think about the change if the rules? The red-line rule, for instance?

- I think it’s bulls... I like hockey the way it is. It's quite funny because the red line rule was introduced to increase the scoring. Now it's being removed for the same reason. So what’s gonna be the result? Nothing. Maybe there will be more teams using the trap. I do like the return of the old offside rule, and the decreasing of the goalie equipment, though.

- How about the clutching and grabbing crackdown?

- Nonsense. I am in full agreement with Scott Niedermayer. He has said that there is no clutching and grabbing at all. NHL defensemen today see the ice so well and position themselves so well that forwards have no place to go. I don’t see why we need to crack down on anything. The guys a playing a good, contact sport. Let them hit each other, let them use the boards. Who said that a 5-3 game is better than a 3-1 game? Scoring is just a part of hockey. If there is no physical play, it is not hockey.

2006. Sport-Express

Monday, September 21, 2009

PRAGUE 1974. LONDON LIONS


Sure, Arthur
Your answer is correct as usual. The photo was taken in Prague in 1974 during friendly game between Czechoslovakia and London Lions.
The goalie is Leif "Honken" Holmqvist whose photo from 1975 World Championship I am publishing right now.



By the way, do you have any ideas why he and Ulf Sterner were so popular in the Soviet Union during our early childhood? We actually played our own battles as "Holmqvist" and "Sterner" among our "Firsov", "Ragulin" and "Zinger" long-long time ago...

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS ANISIMOV GOAL?

CAN YOU NAME THIS TEAM?




Ok, how is about this one? Our old friend Vladimir Martinec is here again. Team Czechoslovakia is playing, that is obvious. But who are they playing against? I guess, the goalie should give you a hint...Go ahead!

SO, THE ANSWERS ARE:


First photo - Jiri Kochta,

Second photo - Gunnar Larsson and "Lill-Strimma" Svedberg

Regards

Sunday, September 20, 2009

KEN DRYDEN, SERGE SAVARD AND...


As you know, there was one game only within 1972 summit Team Canada faced Czechoslovakia. Probably, this is a reason were are not too many photos from this game around the Globe.



This one I published today is one of them. Ken Dryden and Serge Savard are trying to stop Czech forward while ref Rudolf Bata is watching the game. But who is this Czech player? Can you name him?

Click on photo to get it enlarge.

THE NEXT PHOTO is for you, TOMMY.



It's not big deal to identify Vladimir Martinec on this photo. Can you name two Swedes?

CZECHOSLOVAKIA TEAM PHOTO


OK, so here is the list of players depicted 23 years ago:

Standing (top) row from left to right:

Andrst (federation chairman), Bubla, Fairezl (team official), M.Stastny, P.Statsny, coach Gut, Novy, Kaberle, Dvorak, Pouzar, doctor Trefny, B.Stastny, Cernik, E.Novak, Chalupa, trainer Krizek

"One knee" (bottom) row from left to right:

J.Novak, Kajkl, Holecek, Pospisil, J.Holik, Machac, Dzurilla, Hlinka, Martinec, coach Starsi

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CZECHOSLOVAKIA. 1976 WORLD CHAMPIONS TEAM PHOTO




This is the CZECHOSLOVAKIA TEAM photo from my archive. On this one they are celebrating the victory of 1976 World championship which was held in Katowice, Poland

This team became famous every where, even in Canada - in four months from this moment almost the same guys represented Czechoslovakia at 1976 first Canada Cup, went up to the finals where were overpowered by Canadian star team.

Nice, but the question is - how many players from this photo can you recognize and name them?
Go ahead! Click on photo to get it enlarged.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

VLADISLAV TRETIAK - ALEXANDROV SET NO SURPRIZE FOR ME. JANUARY 1976



Boris Alexandrov Is Congratulated By Boris Mikhailov And Vladimir Petrov After Scoring a Goal Against Rangers On December 28, 1975

After the 1975-76 Series when CSKA has faced the NHL for the first time the new name attracted all attention - the youngster Boris Alexandrov has caught everyones admiration and passion.
Vladislav Tretiak was asked if Alexandrov's brilliant play during those games was any surprize for him.
"Not at all", was the answer, "for more than two years Boris is scoring me more goals than Kharlamov during CSKA practices..."

Today I would like to remind you this fantastic player whose achivments reeflected his abilities for maybe 10%...

REMEMBERING BORIS ALEXANDROV


"Dumbasses like me don't defect to other countries!"


Boris Alexandrov. Red Army and Soviet National Team

Despite the slender build, Boris Alexandrov, not only scored a lot of goals to Canadians, but firmly fight them back every possible time.
What makes us proud of our country? One and only answer cannot be provided. Someone contemplating, looking at the green birch trees, someone's heart stops, when the heavy tanks are roaring thruogh the Red Square, and some remembering the ballet and the cosmos, where we always were the first, and for tens of millions of citizens our hockey remains as our greatest proud.
The greatest athletes of the world, receiving miserable wages, magicians of the puck, easily interacting with Brezhnev and Gagarin, but often lived in one-room closet, people unusually gifted physically, who by age of thirty had this seemingly endless resource drained to the bottom, national heros across the country, through two or three years turning into a chronic alcoholics, people with disabilities who die sometimes just before retirement, but also not passing forty years mark...
After a career they were forgotten firmly and permanently. Someone was able to become a coach, someone friends were able to help to get a job at a prestigious car service, but someone went up to play hockey till fifty in the lower leagues, or for veterans, earning a penny, but knowing that nothing else he could do himself feed him. It’s a different fate of the once greats. But why is "once"? For us, they are great. After all, there is no such thing as “former” Olympic champions...
In the spring of 1996 along with a photographer Anatoly Belyasov I was sitting in a cozy apartment of one of the most beloved hockey players of our country, Boris Alexandrov. His stocky figure exuded calm and confidence. A huge black Labrador dog, manipulative calmed down and was lying at the feet of the master.
We drank tea and were talking slowly, remembering the old days. Boris smiled, glancing out the window at the Tushino (the Moscow suburb – A.N) new buildings, the church at Volokolamka and nature awakens across the “Koltsevaja” Highway. And none of us could have known that seeing each other we had last time and it was his interview would also be the last – this interview was destined to go to print after almost seven years after meeting, after the tragic death of this great player last year.
In two days Boris left to Ust-Kamenogorsk, where I received a fax from him short: "Excellent! You can print ". But it so happened that I left print company, which was prepared to print this interview, went to the civil service, and the text stayed in my old notebook for all these years...
After the death of Boris, I began looking for it, but never found - while repairing a computer was "cleaned". But quite by accident, going through my archives, I came across a dozen of the old floppies. Stuck the first one into my computer and found ... seemingly lost files!


Boris Alexandrov. Izvestia Prize 1976. Photo by Nikale1

- Tell me, Boris, when you were in 1972, watching on TV the first games the USSR played against team NHL, did you think that after several years the kids of Ust-Kamenogorsk would just admire your game against Montreal and Philadelphia?
- Not that I thought, I was just hoping to play against Canadian professionals. There already one already a well-known player in Ust-Kamenogorsk - Eugene Paladiev (Spartak Moscow and Soviet national team defender, 1972 series participant – A.N), so that everyone understood that the road to great hockey for us is not that closed. One needed only to get to a decent team.
- But it was crazy competition among the forwards in CSKA. Mikhailov and Petrov and Kharlamov, and Firsov with Vikulov, and other stars all played that time for Red Army...
- In March 1973 CSKA came to us for two friendly games, though without the major players, the national team members in the roster. I played not too bad against them, scored, I guess three goals. In general, after some time came Anatoly Firsov, who was the playing coach of CSKA Moscow, talked with my parents, and in August 1973 I found myself in Moscow. I played for the main CSKA and, when the schedule allowed, for the youth CSKA team as well. In 1974-1975 I began to play for the Soviet Junior team, participated in two World Championships.
- You go out on the ice in the main Soviet league 22 years ago. Now in 1996 you are doing it for the Ust-Kamenogorsk Torpedo. When was it easier to play?
- Now the level of hockey is greatly fallen. And of course, the veterans - Vasily Pervukhin, Alexander Kozhevnikov, and me – we all feel pretty calm. In addition, when I started to play most teams played three lines. Now every team is playing four lines, one cannot even be too tired after the game. In the past, players approaching the thirty years mark accumulated fatigue from hockey.
- But you know, Boris, I am quite sure that in case Larionov stayed in Russia he wouldn’t play any hockey now...
- But the NHL – is a different matter. The people there are playing for a lot of money, they want to extend their hockey career, earn a little more for the rest of their life. And we, once again I say, were much more tired by that age. I now think of my youth: we have never been at home. It was permanent camp at Archangelsky, no family, no friends, nobody. Viktor Tikhonov used to keep us for nine months on the base itself, and by the way, lived with us all this time. And from this one gets tired most of all - the same room, same person, same talk about hockey ...
- And every vocation out of camp turned into a full-drunkenness, everything that is said, were out of any “border”. Right?
- For me, just sitting at the training camp was a torture. I'm kind of funny and emotional man, so when the suppressed emotions were given way out... someone did it quietly, drank a glass almost under his pillow, then trembled - just hoping the coach would not smell the alcohol, about my “actions” at that time everybody knew. Usually, after the hard game, unmarried young players from CSKA Moscow, met in the restaurant on the air terminal, it only began where, and then we moved to the "Belgrad" (famous Moscow restaurant – A.N)and had all this “celebrations” finished where...
- And What about other restaurants, "Beijing" for instance? Did not you attend it?
- No, "Beijing" - it was a Dynamo restaurant (meaning this one was common for Moscow Dynamo hockey players – A.N). Spartak after the winning game can be found in Aragvi (another famous Moscow restaurant – A.N). So our leisure all was organized about the same: win, drank, walked, fall asleep, and – back to the camp.
- How it was from the coaches view?
- It varies. Konstantin Loktev, for example, didn’t not welcome such "rest", then, at least, understood that players needed it, and did not not punished for such things. For him playing hockey was more important, not what one does off-ice. But Viktor Vasiljevich (Tikhonov – A.N) had different attitude ...
- And how these fairly decent dose of alcohol affect the physical condition?
- When you young, it did not affect you. We do not drink hard drinks, mostly champagne. When the organism is young, trained, you go out the next day to workout, run, sweating ... To play the game in two days in general you are a hundred percent ready. But such "alcoholic" days we were given infrequently, two or three times a month. The rest of the time we were just sitting at the camps – no way out.
- But at the training camps you all also drank as well...
- Sometimes, but rarely. If someone had a birthday, we drove into the woods; birthday boy took out of the trunk a few bottles of champagne. We all drank and one got congratulated ...


Boris Alexandron And Mats Waltin

- This summer, when in the same Archangelsky camp, I spoke with Tikhonov, I saw this picture: young players from CSKA Moscow (the eldest - 23 years), went out after training, smoke, and Tikhonov, pretends not to notice ...
- Before he could any star just get "buried" for such thing. Great many players finished to play ahead of time just because of Tikhonov! Sasha (Alexander – A.N)Gusev (CSKA and Soviet national team defender –A.N) Tikhonov removed from the team too early, and Mikhailov-Petrov-Kharlamov line was ruined by his own hands. Tarasov created, but Tikhonov destroyed (Red Army team – A.N). When he arrived, they were already great hockey players, so knowledgeable and able to do everything in hockey, to the same they were self-willed people, so Tikhonov “finished” them one by one and removed ...
- You too? For in due time about your transfer to the SKA MVO (despite the fact that you were one of the best scorers in the league) passed around so many rumours ...
- Well, you know, rumours are rumours, but in reality it was so - in 1979 we played in Leningrad back-to-back games with SKA. We had one game played already. I stood on the steps of the hotel and talking to my girlfriend who was from Leningrad - a figure skater Marina Leonidova (famous Soviet ex-figure skater – A.N). Time was - fifteen minutes past eleven. Tikhonov arrives: Oh, so-so, tomorrow game, and you're standing here with a prostitute ... Well, I replied in the same spirit, were not in very decent shape. In general, the next day it was the team meeting - I was sent to Moscow as result. I was offended, didn’t go back to Moscow, and remained in Leningrad for another four days. And when I returned to Moscow, I found out that I already belong to SKA MVO...


Boris Alexandrov. Spartak Moscow. Photo by Nikale1 1981

- How did you manage to escape from the army to Spartak?
- Of course, from CSKA Moscow, with such fans as Brezhnev, Ustinov (the minister of defence – A.N), I would not be able to get away, but from SKA MVO was easier (Just a comment for the non ex-Soviet readers – SKA MVO at this time was the second Soviet league team which can be regarded as CSKA farm club if not less – that made Alexandrov’s escape possible as moving him down to this team indicated the finish of his career as a top player - A.N). But Boris Pavlovich Kulagin, coach of Spartak, had to work hard to get me. There were government members Spartak supporters as well so the special decision has been made and I was released peacefully.
- Boris, despite your slender build, you had the reputation of one of the toughest players in our hockey. You even called in CSKA Cassius Clay (that was ironically – A.N)...
- The nickname I was given by Zhenya (Evgeny – A.N) Mishakov (Read Army and Soviet national team forward – A.N). We played a tournament in 1973 where there were constant skirmishes, fights, someone I have sent to knockout like a boxer so that's how I got a nickname.
- Have you done any boxing specifically?
- I was engaged with soccer, and gymnastics, and boxing - all quite seriously. Anyway, I have my boxer blow set right.
- Due to this, you could knock down the huge Canadians?
- Well, first of all, I had a very good skating, I stand on skates excellent (It is what, in my opinion, Crosby doing perfectly, but not Malkin – sorry for off-point comment - A.N), I felt the distance. Secondly, I felt, when nobody was waiting my hit or body check. There were times to count, where the player is about to pass, has his head bowed, I met him - and got him flying easily.


Boris Alexandrov. Torpedo Head Coach

- Recently on TV two decades ago game CSKA vs. Canadiens was shown again, which is still widely considered the most beautiful game of modern hockey. During this game you did not only sent Canadians “flying” (Hm..?! – A.N), but also scored the decisive goal, equalized the game...
- Till that time I just turned twenty years old, but I had no fear of the Canadians at all. On the contrary, I wanted to bet with them, to score against them. Here we are with you remembered the games of 1972. Me, up to tears, it was sad for hockey players, who were beaten, but they did not respond. And then I already decided to take revenge for them avenged. I did revenge: I have got the Canadians beaten, I scored against them, depriving the sweetest victory in the historic match. Imagine how they would be proud if this game finished with a score of 3:2. But I did not give them to do so.
- Were you offered to stay in Canada, U.S., play in the NHL?
- Of course, I was offered. But we were so “watched”, we were "herded" what we failed even talk about this with anyone. Even if a few words had been shared with someone of the emigrants, one had already been taken for bad memo ... When we played The World Junior Champ in Winnipeg, I was offered to stay in Canada. Then after the game with "Montreal" I was offered to sign a decent contract.
- And did you really have no desire to stay?
- No, I didn’t. There were times when we stayed in Canada and have played for a month; we were already waiting for the last few days to fly back home. I still thinks that Dumbasses like me(“раздолбаи” in Russian version – A.N), do not stay in other countries, it was possible for “quiet” person ... And I could not imagine myself out of Russia.
- But you still got to Italy.
- It was during the Soviet restructuring (Gorbachev “perestroika” – A.N). At that time I was a leader among the highest scorers in the elite league, scored 33 points while playing in Ust-Kamenogorsk during the first phase of the championship. That was the reason the special personal contract came to me from Milan. I played in Italy 28 games and scored 33 goals. But I was forced to leave Italy just next year. In Italy hockey a Canadian lobby was very strong. There were quite a lot of Italian-Canadians, who played in Canada. All their contracts were twice of our cost. They had everything done to get rid of the other foreigners. If we lost, then everything was normal, but if you start winning, then you should never get a pass from them. You almost have to take the puck by force from your partner, to cross entire rink and to score. So they changed me to a Canadian of Italian origin ...
- So, Boris, you're finished playing, absolutely stopped any drinking, took possession of a lucrative service station, bought a silver Chevrolet and got yourself “bourgeoisified” and finally calmed down. And what possessed you after two years of quiet life to return to hockey as a player?
- I was invited to play for the national team of Kazakhstan at the 1994 World Cup. I arrived to Ust-Kamenogorsk, practiced with the team. But to play for the national team did not happened. I had a Moscow residence permit (“Propiska” in Russian – it’s pointless even to try to explain the meaning of this institute to non ex-Soviets – A.N). But after that I remained with Ust-Kamenogorsk team. The normal conditions were created for me there; I played mostly in the "home" games, no special camps, I was scoring quietly somewhat... Well, Then I became part-time senior coach of Kazakhstan national team. And then appointment of the head coach of the Ust-Kamenogorsk Torpedo all of a sudden had fallen. In addition to being a coach, at any time I get on the ice, if I feel that the team without me lose ...



... With Torpedo (Ust-Kamenogorsk) and the national team of Kazakhstan Alexandrov has reached great achievements. Team under his direction performed at the Olympics in Nagano, 98 in group A and has taken 5-8-th place. In July 2002, Boris was suddenly removed from the club. It was some rumours talked about financial improprieties (though the head coach has nothing to do with money), discontent with some hockey players ...
It is clear that Boris was very upset. But the main thing is beyong it. If Boris remained with "Torpedo", he would hardly go out of Ust-Kamenogorsk to drive to Moscow through Chelyabinsk and Ufa, where his youngest son, Victor has played a small tournament with the capital's Spartak. On the evening on July 31 while driving by his wife's brother, Boris, the car went to overtake a bus, flew into the opposite lane and was faced with the "Volga" ...
Boris Alexandrov was 46 years old. A great hockey player he was buried in Moscow Mitinskoe cemetery.

Alex Bogomolov February 24, 2003

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

PRAGUE 1972. STANISLAV MIKITA


Today I would like to make a present to all my friends - 1972 Summit followers. This photo of Chicago legend STAN MIKITA, wearing CSSR jersey, was taken in Prague during the 1972 series when Canada faced Czechoslovakia team.

Stan Mikita was treated by fans as a national hero due to a number of reasons.
First of all he is Slovakian, he fled from communist regime, he was a NHL superstar and the last but not least he is a terrific hockey player.

Some years ago I have seen an interesting TV program about Stan. He told that at the beginning of his career he was tough if not rough player, getting a lot of fighting penalties etc.
One day he came home after the game and asked his 5-years-old daughter how she liked the Blackhawks game.
She told - A..aa, hmm..It was good...Dad, may I ask you one question?
-Sure, darling, go ahead!
-Why while your team was scoring a lot of goals you have spent almost half a game watching from the penalty box?
-Well, You know, a-hm...m-a
Mikita said: "I realized if 5-years old child can understand it, why didn't I?!" Since that day, Stan changed his play style....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

THIS GUY IS INGE HAMMARSTREM




Congratulations to Tommy - he is the one who gave us the right answer. This young player whos photo I have took from Sweden early 70s newspapper is INGE HAMMARSTREM

Inge played his first hockey games at the top national league level in 1963 for Timrå IK, at the age of 15. The 1968–69 season he left for Brynäs IF where he would win the Swedish Championship 4 times (1970, 1971, 1972 and later in 1980).

In 1973, Hammarström became the first player from Timrå IK ever to play in the NHL. He went on to spend five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and two for the St. Louis Blues.

His career ended in 1982, aged 35, after another three seasons with Brynäs IF.

Do you know that Inge has a son Mikael playing hockey as well?

Monday, September 14, 2009

WHO IS THIS SWEDE?




This is a photo from a Swedish newspaper of an youngster who became one of the best European forwards late 60s - early 70s.

He was on the first wave of the Sweden players who within the next 10 years became the third largest community in the NHL and WHA (after Canadians and Americans)
He played more than four hundred NHL games and scored more than hundred goals
He represented Sweden on 1972 Sapporo Olympics and 1976 Canada Cup.

After his playing career ended, he began working as a European-based hockey scout, including a stint with Central Scouting. From 1990 to 2008, he was the chief European scout for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Most famously, he is credited with being the scout who pushed the hardest for Philadelphia to select Peter Forsberg with the sixth overall pick of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. At the time, the pick was considered a surprise -- and a bit of a gamble. Forsberg had been ranked considerably lower by The Hockey News in its 1991 Draft Preview, and most observers expected the player to be taken late in the first round or early in the second round of the draft.

His name is...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

THE WORST ST. PETERSBURG HAS SEEN SINCE 1917 BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION



Coaches (second from left) Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, Alexander Yakushev, GM Alexei Kasatonov and the entire Russian team had to explain their failure to outraged media at the 2000 IIHF World Championship in St Petersburg.
PHOTO: Jukka Rautio/Europhoto


Star-studded Russia ends up all-time low at home in 2000. St Petersburg, Russia, May 14, 2000

It started really well. The best team that Russian hockey had assembled since the glorious Soviet days, ran over France 8-1 on opening day of the 2000 IIHF World Championship in St. Petersburg. This meant that a Soviet/Russian team had never lost a World Championship game at home, riding a streak of 36 consecutive games without a loss, dating back to 1957.

The Russian fans were sure that this team, loaded with NHL stars like Pavel Bure, Maxim Afinogenov, Alexey Yashin, Sergei Gonchar, Alexei Zhamnov, Alexei Zhitnik, Dmitri Mironov, Andrei Kovalenko and Valeri Kamensky, simply couldn’t fail. In total 14 NHLers came home to join the team that was on a mission to win the nation’s first World Championship gold since 1993.

But already in the next game the star-studded Russians were shut-out by USA, 3-0 and the unbeaten home streak that had lasted for 43 years, through four World Championship events, was over. What’s even worse – the loss to the Americans happened on May 1, traditionally a very important day for Russian people, symbolically significant as a day of celebration for workers across Europe. Another blow happened two days later when Switzerland rallied back from being 2-1-down to win 3-2, the first ever Swiss win against a Soviet or Russian team in a men’s hockey championship.

In just four days the fans’ sentiments had changed from joyous to furious. But there was still time for redemption. The sole win against France was enough for the Russian team to qualify for the next round. But things would only from bad to worse. In the opening game of the Qualifying Round, Russia lost to Latvia 3-2, in a game where the former Soviet goalie Arturs Irbe played the game of his life. For the hockey fans from Latvia, a former Soviet republic, this was the best day of their lives.

Now, after three consecutive losses, Team Russia’s qualifying for the quarterfinal was in serious jeopardy. They badly needed wins against both Belarus and Sweden. The game against Belarus (another former Soviet republic) on May 7 will probably forever be remembered as the lowest point in the country’s hockey history. Vladzimir Tsyplakov’s goal after twelve minutes was enough. A fundamentally demoralized team full of hockey millionaires could not overcome even this setback. The game ended 1-0 for Belarus and the fans at St. Petersburg Ice Palace booed their players mercilessly.

The team and head coach Alexander Yakushev were chopped into pieces by Russian media. “The worst St. Petersburg has seen since 1917” shouted one headline and another publication called the players “Hollywood stars, not athletes”. But the media wasn’t done. In an action that has no precedence in the world of team sports, the home media demanded that the entire team and coaching staff would show up at a press-conference to publicly apologize for the showing which was considered as a national embarrassment.

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation had no other choice than yield to the demands and to subject the entire team to this humiliation, where many of the Russian scribes acted more as fans than as covering journalists. Some of the best players in the world sat there and the only thing that they could say was “we are sorry”.

The last game against Sweden proved meaningless. Despite a 4-2-win Russia finished 11th – between Norway and Italy. What was predicted as a revival of a once great national team on home ice, ended with an all-time low.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MATS NASLUND. SEVEN YEARS OLD FUTURE HOCKEY STAR



Mats Naslund. Moscow 1979

OK, with my little hint you got it right - the kid is Mats Naslund, the Swedish hockey legend and one of the Canadiens fans all-time favourites.
The story of this photo is interesting. It was published by TACC (Central Soviet Press Agency) after PRESSENSBILD before 1979 Moscow World championship. The description to the photo said:
" 12 years ago there was a hockey tournament for boy's teams. The 7-years old Mats Naslund was shining at this competition. During same days the Soviet national team played in Sweden capital and V. Starshinov presented the memorable stick to little Mats.
Now 19-years old Mats Naslund is participating at his very first World championship"


Mats Naslund. Before 1980 Olympics

Hockey Hall Of Fame

Forward Mats Naslund had already established himself as a bonafide star forward in the Swedish Elite League before joining the Montreal Canadiens for the 1982-83 season. Naslund had played with the powerful Brynas IF Gavle team and was one of the club's top offensive stars and was a key member of Team Sweden at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. Upon arriving in Montreal, the Canadiens immediately inserted Naslund into the starting lineup where he played eight years, missing just 23 games over that span, displaying incredible resiliency for a man of just 5'7" and 160 pounds.



Mats Naslund. Montreal Canadiens Years

Naslund's best personal offensive season in the NHL was in 1985-86 when he scored 43 goals and 110 points. The fantastic regular season was capped with an amazing Stanley Cup championship with a finals victory over the Calgary Flames. In 20 playoff games he produced 19 points and was a candidate for the Conn Smythe trophy, given to the MVP of the postseason.



Mats Naslund. Sweden National Team

At the age of 30, while still very much on top of his game, the three-time NHL all-star elected to leave the league and continue his hockey career in Europe. He also appeared in three Canada Cup tournaments in 1984, 1987 and 1991 and also suited up for Sweden in the 1992 and 1994 Olympics. At 35, Naslund signed a free-agent contract with the Boston Bruins in 1994-95, but appeared in just 34 games before deciding it was time to retire.



Mats Naslund. Norway. 1994 Olympics

Mats Naslund is one of Sweden's "Great Three" who, along with Hakan Loob and Tomas Jonsson, has won the national championship, the World Championship, Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup. The three played together on Sweden's national Tre Kronor and sometimes against each other in the NHL.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ARTHUR, WHO ARE THOSE TWO?




OK,ok... The big number 8 CCCP guy is ... Alexander Ovechkin...no,no,no. That's Soviet team captain, the Russian legendary warrior, the member of 1972 summit Vjacheslav Starshinov.
But who was the kid on this photo? I am sure you all know him perfectly. This is...

OK, let me put some hints:

1. The kid is Swede
2. He is not just "known", he is famous in Canada
3. He played at 1979 Moscow World championship
4. He played at 3 Olympics
5. Enought?

SO THIS HIGHLY "MEDALIZED" KID IS MARCEL DIONNE




Artur, you are right (as usual) - this kid on my photo is young Marcel Dionne.

Drummondville, Quebec native Marcel was born on 3 August 1951.
He played 18 NHL season, 1348 regulation games, scored 731 goals, registered 1040 assists (1771 points)

The Art Ross Trophy (1980) winner he was elected to the First All-Star Team twice (1977, 1980), twice to the Second All-Star Team Centre (1979, 1981), has won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1975, 1977) and the Lester B. Pearson Award (1979, 1980).

He is greatly respected by Russian fans for his scoring abilities, skills and gentleman behaviour on ice.

"There was an interview with Dionne by sport express and he was asked about the Soviet players he played against in the 1970s... amazingly, Marcel said there was this guy with the mustache, great skater played for the national team in the 1970s... he was a great player! guess who the guy was - B-A-L-D-E-R-I-S!

Arthur Chidlovski

Thursday, September 10, 2009

HELMUT BALDERIS:"ARTHUR, THATS TOO MUCH!"



"Really Arthur, buddy, do you think I am the best ever hockey player?! That's too much, my friend, maybe one of top three only... But I trust you, you know better"

To Arthur with love - Helmut The-Ever-Best Balderis

HOW IS IT ABOUT THIS PHOTO?




" Alex, do you have Russian players photos only? It's not enough for you they are Russians. You put the photos of 40s, 50s and 60s for your trivia! Give me a life, man!"
Your Admirer

OK, this letter (specially 'admirer') I have written myself. But I think the point can easy be true.

Look at this photo. The kid surrounded with hundreds of hockey trophies is pure Canadian. He is one of the greatest hockey players of the modern era. He has played his entire NHL career in the States. He is well known and high respected in Europe due to the number of his Canada national team performances. That's it. His name is...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

VSEVOLOD BOBROV. THIRTY YEARS AGO...




We have to live in fast and harsh world. Today's hero is nobody tomorrow. The one who was an idol of millions in few years is unknown soldier of our life battles.

On July 01, 2009 not too many people around the World realized it's 30 years from the sad day when the legend of the Soviet sport, probably the best ever sportsman who was born in Russia passed away.

His name was VSEVOLOD MIKHAILOVICH BOBROV.

I have seen no articles, no TV programs on his memory this day from Russia. One has to admit, without him we would have no Kharlamov, no Makarov, no Ovechkin. He was icebreaker to our hockey, to our sport after World War II.
I have missed this day too...Sorry, "Bober"...

BRENDAN MORRISON - ANOTHER BERTUZZI VICTIM


by Mike Vogel, Dump and Chase author and Nikale1


THE MORRISONS - NICE ADDITION TO THE CAPITALS FAMILY

Do you remember the Bertuzzi's hook from behind on Steve Moore? Silly question, just to start conversation. Sure you do. So how many victims did this stupid move bring as result? One (Moore who never played again)? Two (Moore and Bertuzzi, who never was himself after that)? Or four including Naslund and Morrison? I think the last version is correct. Markus never reached his level again forced to retire this year and Brendan disappeared from the hockey horizon for years.
This summer he moved to Capitals trying to get new life with young and ambitious Washington 'Ovechkinized' team to replace the significant hole that occurred after Fedorov and Kozlov departure to Russia and Nylander miserable last season performance.
Below is an article written by Mike Vogel the author of Dump and Chase excellent Capitals blog.

- Less than two months after he signed a one-year deal with the Capitals as an unrestricted free agent and just two weeks shy of his 34th birthday, center Brendan Morrison visited the District this week. Along with wife Erin, the newest Capital is house-hunting for a place for his family, which includes four children aged 7, 5, 4 and almost 1.

Morrison also took time out to have a workout at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and to spend some time chatting up the media. We had a chance to sit down with Morrison for a video interview which you'll see on Caps365 sometime next week. He spoke at length about winning the Hobey Baker Award, winning an NCAA championship at U. of Michigan, playing on the West Coast Express line with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, his lengthy consecutive-games-played streak, and more.

I've always found it interesting to look back on old scouting reports of young players years later to see how accurate those first impressions tended to be. Here's what the Central Scouting Bureau had to say about Morrison back in the summer of 1993, when he was drafted in the second round (39th overall) by the New Jersey Devils:

Personal Profile: Brendan is a student at Pentiction Secondary whose childhood hero was his dad, and who ranks Wayne Gretzky as his favorite NHLer because he's an "unselfish team player with great skills and a true ambassador of the game." Brendan has been awarded a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan, and hopes to both achieve a university degree and to start his own business one day. He lists the Kelowna Spartans of the BCJHL as his toughest hockey opponents. Away from the rink, he enjoys leisure sports such as golf and tennis, and he also likes to read about all types of sport.

Career Highlights: has been offered a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan.

Coach's Comments: Coach Garry Davidson says, "Above average skills with great offensive vision (read and react). Has improved his defensive game immensely in 1992-93."

Central Scouting Report: "Strong skater with balance and agility ... hard to knock off his skates ... excellent scorer with excellent selection of shots, hard and accurate ... clever around the net ... makes the big play ... very good passer, hits the open man ... fast, accurate passes to either side ... good stickhandling and puck control ... solid positional player ... can forecheck and backcheck ... uses size and strength to best advantage ... good stamina ... plays aggressively within the rules ... never gives up ... plays when hurt ... excellent team player ... a game breaker ... understands and adapts to the play."

Morrison was listed as being 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds in those days. He is still listed at 5-foot-11 but has thickened up to 181 pounds some 16 years later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

HOSTS WIN CZECH HOCKEY GAMES



Jiri Hudler, who hadn't played for the Czechs since 2004, scored five goals in the first Euro Hockey Tour event. Photo: Europhoto

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic – The first major men’s national team event of the season ended with a success for the Czech Republic, which won the first Euro Hockey Tour tournament on home ice.

The Euro Hockey Tour consists of four, round-robin tournaments during the four international breaks. The Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden play in the series. Last season, the Czechs finished in last place with three wins in twelve games, but they couldn’t be stopped last weekend in Karlovy Vary.

Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler led the team to a 2-0 victory against Finland on opening night, while Lukas Mensator earned a shutout with 29 saves.

The victory was even bigger against Sweden, 5-2. The Swedes didn’t make use of a 31-27 shots advantage. Josef Melichar, Jaroslav Bednar, Hudler, Josef Vasicek and Petr Kumstat scored the Czech goals.

A sell-out crowd of 5,682 attended the last game against last year’s tour winner Russia on Sunday. Petr Schastlivy opened the scoring for Russia on the power play at 5:10, but it was again Hudler, who scored the 1-1 goal at 17:30. He tied the game a second time at 57:21 and after Russia held a 2-1 lead for most of regulation. A shoot-out decided and the game-winning goal was scored by who else than Hudler, who played his only World Championship in 2003.

Russia finished the tournament in second place with a 3-2 win over Finland and two shoot-out losses. Finland was third with three points thanks to a lopsided 8-3 win against Sweden. The Swedes earned just two points from a 4-3 shoot-out victory against Russia.

It’s the first time since 2002 that the Czechs won an exhibition tournament, which came at the Euro Hockey Tour at Baltika Cup in Moscow. It was during the successful era between 1996 and 2005 when the Czechs won five World Championships and the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.

VIKTOR FEDOROV VISITED SPORT EXPRESS OFFICE



VIKTOR FEDOROV. "The honoured coach of Russia"

by SPORT-EXPRESS

Yesterday one of the most popular hockey experts Viktor Fedorov visited the Sport Express office.

The honoured coach of Russia and one of the most popular hockey experts, head of Fedorov dynasty Viktor Fedorov (WOW!!! - A.N) visited the Sport Express office to talk with our correspondent Igor Larin.

"First of all I would like to say that I am going to change image of Fedorov Sr. that Russin fans got used to", said Viktor.

"I had a critical point of view on several unpleasant events in NHL since this league formed long time go. Meanwhile Kontinental Hockey League makes its first steps and we need to help them and excuse for their mistakes".

"I came to Sport Express office from Magnitogorsk where I helped my sons Sergey and Fyodor to adapt to their new club. They have already rented a house and have settled down in Magnitogorsk. They are satisfied with everything".

"Fyodor and Sergey looked nice in the link with Chistov in the final match of Ramazan Cup against Traktor. Though Traktor with Andrey Nazarov in charge played very well against the Fedorov brothers".

"Actually we never paid too much attention to this kind of trial matches because only the season will show clubs’ real power".

"In KHL there are no less opponents than in NHL. I would lay special mention to defending champion AK Bars, and also to Dynamo, SKA and Atlant. Salavat Yulaev can boast strong roster which will be the main irritator for everyone".

"New leader of Salavat Yulaev Viktor Kozlov has been named the best forward of the Czech Hockey Games. I think that Washington Capitals managers should pay their attention to this fact after they experimented on him last season. Just imagine that this master played less than ten minutes during one game in the Capitals that made hockey experts surprised".

"NHL is business and their managers saw that salary limits didn’t allow the club offer Kozlov a worthy contract. That is why they did everything possible to change his statistics in the team. By the way Sergey Fedorov found himself in similar situation in Washington".

"He told us about his decision, listened to our point of view and decided to do as he wanted".

Let's leave along Viktor Fedorov controversial comments (as usual). But describe him as "The honoured coach of Russia and one of the most popular hockey experts" and "head of Fedorov dynasty" for me it's kind of shocking...
Alex 'Nikale1'

Monday, September 7, 2009

NIKOLAI DROZDETSKY - "HARD TO PRONOUNCE, IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP"




Yes, you got it, last day photo shows one of my all time favourite player Nikolai Drozdetsky. During 1981 Canada Cup when he became popular in Canada one of article headers said "Drozdetsky - hard to pronounce, impossible to stop". An excellent description of this player...

Nikolai Vladimirovich Drozdetsky (Jun 14, 1957, Kolpino - Nov 24, 1995, St. Petersburg) was a Russian ice hockey right winger, who competed for the USSR. He played for SKA Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) from 1974-1979, then for CSKA Moscow (Red Army team) from 1979 until part way through the 1986/87 season, when he played again for Leningrad, until 1989. He finished his career with Borås HC in Sweden from 1989-1995. He was named most valuable player of the Soviet elite league in 1984. He scored 252 goals in 503 league games and 64 goals in 109 international games with the Soviet national team.

Drozdetsky played on the Soviet national team in 1981, 1982, 1984, and 1985, which won the IIHF World Championships in 1981 and 1982, the Olympic Gold medal in 1984, the 1981 Canada Cup, and the 1981, 1982, and 1985 European championships. He led all goal scorers at the 1984 Olympics with ten goals in seven games, and also led the Soviet team with 12 points.

He died from complications of diabetes.

There is an excellent article about Nikolai here, unfortunately it's Russsian...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

HONOURS AT HOME FOR PATRIK ELIAS AND ZDENO CHARA

by iihf.com

Patrik Elias in the Czech Republic and Zdeno Chara in Slovakia received Player of the Year honours in their native countries prior to their return to their NHL teams.



New Jersey winger Elias was awarded the Golden Stick during the Czech award ceremony in Karlovy Vary on Saturday. A panel of coaches and journalists gave him 428 points, ending the four-year reign of Jaromir Jagr (Avangard Omsk), who was second with 357 points. Jan Marek (Metallurg Magnitogorsk) finished in third place with 334 points.

It was the first time that the 33-year-old was voted the best Czech player. Last season, Elias had 31 goals and 47 assists in 77 NHL games and became the New Jersey Devils’ all-time leading scorer. In 747 NHL games he notched 644 points (265 goals, 379 assists). The Devils are the only NHL club Elias has played for, winning two Stanley Cups. He also represented the Czech Republic in two Olympics and three World Championships winning bronze in Turin 2006.

“I immensely appreciate this, it’s my first individual award and a huge honour to be included among those legends who received the trophy in the past,” Elias said at the ceremony.



During the national team camp, Slovakia also had an award night, handing out Golden Pucks. Zdeno Chara, Boston’s towering defenceman, was voted Slovakia’s Player of the Year. It’s just the second time in history that a defenceman won the honour.

Chara contributed to Boston’s run in the Eastern Conference as the only team to allowed less than 200 goals. With 50 points he also contributed to the offence. His performance earned him the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s Best Defenceman.

MAYBE YOU CAN NAME HIM TOO?




OK, this is another photo from my endless collection (nobody honours me, let me do it myself!). This skeleton-style 16 years old kid had great future as a player in front of him. He was a member of one of the Soviet teams which is well remembered in Canada due to it's huge damage done here many years ago. I won't tell you any more but one fact - unfortunately he is not any longer with us...
HIS NAME IS...