Summit ’72 “Game 1 – Eyes Opened Wide”

Finally. The big night. The night we as proud Canadians will have our best hockey team teach a big honkin’ lesson to the Russkies, whom I feel sorry for because they’re going to get embarrassed and want to catch the next Aeroflot back to their mamas. Maybe we should let them score the odd goal.

The Russians and their fans back home are going to see how it’s really done. They’re going to be amazed by our skating and our big blasts and our hockey brains. They must be nervous, and I don’t blame them.

Pierre Trudeau drops the puck between Phil Esposito and Vladimir Vikulov, and of course our guy wins the faceoff handily. He’s suppose to win it, it’s protocol, but he’s done it with purpose, with pizzazz. No way that foreigner was going to get that puck. A statement made.

It’s the start of what should be a beautiful night, and when Esposito scores after just 30 seconds, and Paul Henderson then makes it 2-0 after only six minutes and change, it’s to be expected. Yes indeed. Maybe we’ll need a calculator to track the Canadian point-getters.

But something doesn’t seem right. The Russians seem to playing as well as the Canadians, sometimes better. Often better, in fact. It’s disturbing. Why isn’t Team Canada toying with this bunch? How come the other guys have the puck so much?

Suddenly, and not totally unexpected at this point – a Russian goal. Then another. Then a couple of out-of-this-world markers by some guy named Kharlamov, who makes us sit up and ask, who the &%^$# is that?

It’s now 4-3 for the visitors in the third, and like a hammer and sickle to our hearts, the Russians get another still, then another after that, and yes, another after that. Goaltender Ken Dryden looks as average as can be, and why is that? He’s one of the players who knows how the Russians play. And he’s been standing on his head as a Montreal Canadien. But he’s mostly sitting on his ass tonight, and when the siren goes, I see the Russians almost wiping their hands after a solid day’s work.

Such party poopers.

7-3 Russians. This isn’t supposed to happen.

5 thoughts on “Summit ’72 “Game 1 – Eyes Opened Wide””

  1. Dennis – this brings back many memories. I was in University and remember sitting around the SUB talking with friends prior to the start of the series, laughing about the impending slaughter. As you describe, the Russians were about to get the drubbing they so richly deserved. Now they would really see the difference between playing our amateurs and the best in the world.

    I also remember the stunned reaction to this first game. In about 40 minutes – the time it took for two periods – we went from smug know-it-alls to bewildered and bitter critics. I remember how many people turned on the Canadian ‘stars’ as if they had sucked us in to believing they were the best and/or they just weren’t trying hard enough or were out of shape. We had been mislead all these years by our ‘heroes’. It was a remarkeable turn of events and one I think has been good for our game. We can get pretty smug about our success as Canadians but I think it is forever tempered by the lessons we learned in 72.

  2. HDS – neither. I’m writing from memory and books and pretending that it’s 1972 now. Sort of gone back in time.

  3. Hi Vince. What a series it was. And for sure, we were smug and got taught a lesson. I wonder what it would have been like if we really would have slaughtered them.

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