September 14, 2014

1981 Canada Cup

Soviets Great Revenge; Canada Humiliated

The second Canada Cup was to have been played in 1980, but it was delayed one year because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The extra year allowed   the Soviet Union to prepare a young new regime to replace the old bloc. In were names like Tikhonov, Fetisov, Makarov, Kasatonov and Krutov, with Larionov not far behind. The Soviets brought over a lot of inexperienced yet potent youngsters to combat the world's best, however one mainstay was still seen on the Russian bench - Vladislav Tretiak. After failing to impress in the 1976 Canada Cup, there was no alternative for the Soviets than winning in 1981.

Canada would prove to be the best team in the round robin. Backed by a young Wayne Gretzky and established superstars like Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Guy Lafleur, the Canadians had an unparalleled offense. Team Canada went 4-0-1 to take first place and would face Team USA in the round robin.

The Soviets finished second best in the round robin which earned them a first round showdown with the Czechoslovakians. For the USSR it was payback time, as it was the CSSR that had bounced the Soviets from advancing in the 1976 Cup. The Soviets won 4-1.

That set up the much anticipated showdown between Canada and the Soviet Union. Not since the 1972 Summit Series had these two nations faced off on a scale of such magnitude. While many of the names had changed, the rivalry still existed.

However the 1981 tournament would have a decidedly different ending with the Soviets handing Canada its worst defeat in Canadian hockey history. The 1981 tournament, unlike all other Canada Cups, was a one game showdown - something which Canada obviously did not favor. The Canadians came into the game over confident has they had handled the USSR 7-3 in the round robin. It is speculated that Victor Tikhonov was playing possum with the Canadians in the 7-3 loss, as he was hiding what his team was truly capable of.

The final game was due largely in part to scoring hero Sergei Shepelev and goalie Vladislav Tretiak, both tournament all stars. Also named to the all star squad was Alexei Kasatonov of USSR, Arnold Kadlec of the CSSR and Gil Perreault and Mike Bossy of Canada

Results & Statistics

Round Robin Tournament
Sept 1 USA 3 Sweden 1 (Edmonton)
          CSSR 1 USSR 1 (Winnipeg)
          Canada 9 Finland 0 (Edmonton)
Sept 3  CSSR 7 Finland 1 (Edmonton)
           USSR 6 Sweden 3 (Winnipeg)
           Canada 8 USA 3 (Edmonton)
Sept 5 Sweden 5 Finland 0 (Winnipeg)
           USSR 4 USA 1 (Edmonton)
           CSSR 4 Canada 4 (Winnipeg)
Sept 7 Canada 4 Sweden 3 (Montreal)
          USSR 6 Finland 1 (Winnipeg)
          USA 6 CSSR 2 (Montreal)
Sept 9 Finland 4 USA 4 (Montreal)
          CSSR 7 Sweden 1 (Ottawa)
          Canada 7 USSR 3 (Montreal)

Semi Finals
Sept 11 USSR 4 CSSR 1 (Ottawa)
Sept 11 Canada 4 USA 1 (Montreal)

Sept 13 USSR 8 Canada 1 (Montreal)

In The Book:
In the book, each game is reviewed in great detail, complete with a well researched game summary and a full box score report!. 
Scoring Leaders
Goalie Leaders

All Star Teams
G - Vladislav Tretiak, USSR
D - Arnold Kadlec, CSSR
D - Alexei Kasatonov, USSR
F - Gilbert Perreault, CAN
F - Mike Bossy, CAN
F - Sergei Shepelev, USSR
Tournament MVP
Vladislav Tretiak - USSR


Unknown said...

Problem one was the worst goalie match up possible for the event Liut vs. Tretiak. Losing 8-1 despite outshooting the opposition? Just to think we had Billy Smith, a Stanley Cup winner twice available. Not that it would mean a win, it would have narrowed that gap in goal.

Problem two was Duguay and Gillies on the team instead of Sittler and McDonald. Who made that selection?

Anonymous said...

I think everybody should just admit the Soviet Union had the Best Team in the World!