September 11, 2012

Catching Up With The Past: Canada Cup '87 Edition

Gretzky Talks About Lemieux In '87 Canada Cup Win

From Pierre Lebrun at ESPNA key decision midway through the tournament was to put Gretzky and Lemieux on the same line. Everyone remembers the magic the world’s two greatest players delivered in the three-game finals, but it didn’t come immediately after they were put together. 

"The reality was, we thought the game the exact same way," Gretzky said. "The first couple of games we played together, we found ourselves standing beside each other in open areas in the offensive zone; that’s where we both naturally would go. But when you’re playing against great competition, that’s not the thing you want to do, have two guys in the same spot. So it took us a little bit." 

If fact, Gretzky remembers a 2-on-1 break with Lemieux that highlighted their initial issues. 

"I gave him a pass and he passed it back to me and we didn’t score," Gretzky said. "I remember saying to Mario, 'You have a much heavier shot; you’re a much better goal scorer than I am. Make sure you get the shot.' And, of course, that’s what happened in Game 3 when we had the 3-on-1 and he took the [winning] shot. So I always remember distinctly telling him, 'Hey, don’t give it back to me.' In that third game when I gave it to him, I knew I wasn’t getting it back." 

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Magic of Gretzky and Lemieux Still Resonates 25 Years Later

From Ian Mendes of Postmedia NewsFor people older than me, they remember being huddled around a TV set in school to watch the drama of Paul Henderson's clincher unfold in 1972. Meanwhile, a good chunk of the younger generation will tell grandchildren about watching Sidney Crosby's golden goal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on their iPhone or other wireless mobile device.

As for my generation, we had Mario Lemieux's goal in the 1987 Canada Cup. Twenty-five years ago tonight, the 1987 Canada Cup final started with Game 1 between Team Canada and the Soviet Union at the Montreal Forum.

For three nights in September, the superpowers played some of the best hockey we've ever witnessed, with each game culminating in a dramatic 6-5 final score. Lemieux's heroics in the dying moments of Game 3 secured victory for Canada.

It was the only time we ever got to see Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux play together on the same team.

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