Skip to main content

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


David Rahilly 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!

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M