September 21, 2012
Catching Up With The Past: Yaking It Up With Yak
Many of the Team Canada '72 players will tell you the big and elegant Alexander Yakushev was the Soviet's best player. Because of his size and skill, he - not Kharlamov or Mikhailov - was the one many thought could have stepped in and thrived in the NHL in the 1970s
Matthew Fisher recently caught up with Yakushev in Russia and conducted this excellent interview. Here's a snippet:
As the Soviet team had won two of the four games in Canada by the time the series resumed in Moscow on Sept. 22, the Canadian team’s prospects seemed doomed.
“We were absolutely sure at this point that we would be victorious because all we had to do was win one of the last three games,” Yakushev said. “But I must pay tribute to the Canadians. They were one step from the abyss. If they had fallen in, it would have been a shame and tragedy for them and their fans. This was their most difficult moment, but they found a moral and psychological purpose. They displayed what is the best feature of Canadian hockey. They fought every game until the last second. It was not by chance that they won that last game only 34 seconds from the end. It says a lot about the Canadian character.”
Here's the full interview. It is a real treat as Yakushev has traditionally been very quiet at least towards North American audiences.