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.


general borschevsky said...

Awesome post Norte.

Greener said...

Can you imagine the arrogance of the Russians? Not feeling they "needed" to play Tretiak? It'd be like if Canada pulled Brodeur in favor of his back-up, Pokey Reddick.

A Concerned Citizen said...

It's ironic I was thinking about this last night and stumbled across this article today. Have to say, I disagree. What made me think of Mishkin/Tretiak was seeing Nabokov start the second period and give up those horrible goals. My conclusion is:

Tretiak let in two bad goals in the first period. That's not up for debate.

Coaches often will start another goalie at the beginning of the next period to "shake up" the team. Last night the announcers perfectly illustrated the point when Bryzgalov finally came in and the Russians immediately showed signs of life. The damage had already been done, however.

So who's to say that Tretiak would not have let in more bad goals had he started the next period? Mishkin shut out the US in the second, and the Russians actually led going into the third period.

I despise the "woulda shoulda coulda" of sports analysis. IF he had done this, it would not have happened. Well, it did happen. It could very well have been that the US scored five more on Tretiak rather than the two they eventually got past Mishkin. Until we find a gateway to the alternate universe where Tretiak was not pulled, we'll never know.

Norte said...

Hey Habsfan1993...thanks for stopping by and thanks for taking the time to leave a message. Always appreciate the bleu, blanc et rouge.
Like most Habs fans you are completely wrong.

Canada last night and the 1980 American team are two very different creatures. One gets a feeling that nobody (not even your beloved #33 at the top of his game) was going to stop us.
Apart from the #20 on their backs...Nabokov and Tretiak are very different goalies. and when a player as truly remarkable as Tretiak says that he would never have allowed those goals in the third I believe him.
The bigger point is this...the Russian team played nervously in front of Mishkin...a way they never would have played in front of Tretiak.

Norte said...

Good to see you as always El General
and you as well Greener

Vlad said...

He's really great goalkeeper

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