October 27, 2010

Summit Series Redux?

I'm not much of a fan of the fanboy/wannabe reporters at Bleacher Report, but Mark Ritter wrote an interesting piece about a possible 1972 Summit Series redux in 2012.

I am a little skeptical as I can't find any mainstream media to corroborate his facts. But Ritter reports that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is getting behind a Russian Hockey Federation movement to recreate the 1972 Summit Series in 2012. The series would honour the 40th anniversary of the original series. Supposedly the IIHF supports the idea (although that really isn't overly significant), while the idea has been mentioned to the NHL.

There is no mention of the series logistics, other than 4 games would be played in Canada and 4 games in Russia, with sites speculated.

It's a good idea, but one big problem could be the NHL's collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is set to expire that summer. Could there be a labour stoppage to jeopardize all of this? If they treat this like the 2004 World Cup, the tournament will be equally as anti-climatic and overshadowed.

I love the idea. Canadian and Russian hockey fans would be all over it, even if it is in September. Those two countries are probably the only two that really care much about hockey at that time of year. The Russians would love to win that tournament, to avenge past losses and to set the mood for the Sochi Olympics. Hockey Canada would very much welcome the chance to work with the players, most of whom will comprise the 2014 Olympic team.

Of course the NHL needs to give approval. While the NHL is always happy to line their own pockets and to pit Crosby against Ovechkin, expect them to stay tight lipped about this. The looming CBA negotiations definitely threaten this whole tournament, as does the NHL's frosty relations with the Russian Hockey Federation.

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