January 22, 2007

1979 Challenge Cup - Soviets Made Changes To End NHL's Ice Reign

Norm MacLean wrote a fine article for The Hockey News, nicely covering the Soviet's surprise goaltender, Vladimir Myshkin.
The development of Myshkin as a challenger for Tretiak is another big plus. Tretiak played the first two games, but Tikhonov had planned to play Myshkin in either game two or three. When the Soviets lost the first game, he stuck with Tretiak, but after the momentum shifted his way, he took the final gamble with the blonde, five-foot-seven, 157 pound, 23 year old rookie.

"I was eager to show that I could stop the NHL," said the goalie. "When Tikhonov told me I was going to play at the morning practice (before the final game) I was very excited. But, I think the NHL didn't shoot as much as I expected and they were not too accurate. I just tried to stop the puck when it came near the goal - and I didn't realize the crowd was yelling for me."
The experiment was successful, and the Soviets would try something similar in the 1980 Olympics. Unfortunately they would not find similar results. Instead they unthinkably lost to a bunch of US college kids in the game simply known as "The Miracle On Ice."

Full 1979 The Hockey News article

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