Monday, February 22


In honour of the 30th Anniversary of the 1980 Olympic hockey game between the U.S. and Soviet Union (I refuse to call it a Miracle because to paraphrase Don Novello, '...2 of them were card tricks') I would just like to say; everyone, and I mean everyone, knows the real reason they won.
Not Jim Craig standing on his head nor Jamie Farr in the crowd. It wasn't because of Herb Brooks and his abusive, confrontational coaching style. It happened because of what Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov called the biggest mistake of his life.
Владисла́в Алекса́ндрович Третья́к

Vladislav Aleksandrovich Tretiak
was voted by his own people as the Greatest Russian Hockey Player of the 20th Century. And along with teammate Valeri Kharlamov are the only non NHL players to be elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a First All-Star in the Soviet League consecutively each year from 1971 until 1984. Won 3 gold medals, 10 IIHF World Championships, recipient of the Order of Lenin.

One can only guess what Viktor Tikhonov was thinking then when he replaced Tretiak with Vladamir Mishkin. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, but I have heard Tretiak himself say that he (and clearly the whole Russian team) were furious that he was pulled (the 'greatest mistake of my life' as mentioned above). It was clearly the turning point of the game.
Tretiak has also stated that if it weren't for that mistake that he would have won a fourth gold medal. You have to believe him when he states that he would never have allowed the goals that Mishkin did in the third.

So in the end it is what it is. An enormous error is Olympic judgement, tantamount to Marc Crawford not playing Gretzky in the shoot-out. Or Mike Babcock not calling a time out late in the game.