January 22, 2007

Rendez Vous '87 - Playing Soviets Important Means of Improving

The following article was written by Frank Orr, and published in The Hockey News back on February 13th, 1987.
The Russians are coming and once again, North American hockey will be placed under the only microscope where it can be examined closely for flaws, cracks in the temper of its steel and fissures in its philosophies.

Of course, all the old arguments are possible about the futility of confrontations such as the two-game series in Rendez-Vous '87 when the NHL's best will have two practices as a team to go against the national side of the Soviet Union, which has been training as a unit for who knows how long? The core of the comrades' roster has been together several years.

There are the old political arguments that can be hauled out, too, about how the Soviet hockey team represents a bad society, all that Harold Ballard crap, that if they don't get out of Afghanistan, then they shouldn't be allowed in Quebec.

But the NHL-Soviet match ups are a must, even though there is really no best time for the pros to play them. If the NHL never faces the Soviets, the chance for growth in the game is limited greatly. The NHL needs to place itself in the Russian wringer to find where its flaws are.
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