USSR national hockey team the world championship for the second time. The hockey players of the national team were looking forward to the 40th anniversary championship in Moscow.
USSR national hockey team. A blow to prestige
At the previous world championship, held in Czechoslovakia, Soviet hockey players took only second place. It was a blow to ambition and prestige. And therefore the players of the USSR national team were eager to take revenge in their hometown.
Fights in Prague with the Czechoslovakians (3: 3 and 3: 2 in favor of the hosts) were not just tense, they were often overshadowed by clashes, fights and mutual insults. The fault is politics – four years ago, in 1968, the Soviet army entered Czechoslovakia. The echo of those events thundered at hockey meetings …
The USSR national team, which was prepared by the duet – Vsevolod Bobrov and Boris Kulagin – represented a powerful force. Looking through the list of team players, you are amazed and admired that they are all very talented. Fans, of course, remember what goalkeeper Vladislav Tretyak, defenders Valery Vasilyev, Alexander Gusev, Vladimir Lutchenko, forwards Alexander Yakushev, Valery Kharlamov, Alexander Maltsev, Boris Mikhailov, Vladimir Petrov did on the court. Evgeny Zimin …
In the fall of the seventy-second, the Soviet team carried out a brilliant series against Canadian professionals, further strengthening their authority. The NHL scouts were ready to buy not just individual players, but the entire Soviet team! However, it was impossible to go overseas during the Iron Curtain.
Masters and luminaries
Our team was strong, but … could be even stronger. This was noted by the ex-mentor of the USSR national team Anatoly Tarasov: “The mistake of Bobrov’s coaching staff is the mechanical rejuvenation of the national team. Not every veteran has to leave hockey, and not every young, even promising, athlete is introduced to the main team. The main criterion is the level of skill, character, game culture. I think that Valery Vikulov and Anatoly Firsov were deprived of the right to play for the national team in vain ”.
It is characteristic that Tarasov criticized the national team in 1957. But – after the lost World Championship in Moscow. This time Anatoly Vladimirovich performed before the tournament. It is worth recalling that both great coaches – Tarasov and Bobrov – hated a friend. But that’s a different story.
The world champions – the Czechoslovakians, led by coaches Vladimir Kostka and Yaroslav Pitner, were not against the fact that not them, but the owners of the site were considered favorites. However, they probably hoped to spoil the mood of the owners. Moreover, they included top-class masters – goalkeeper Jiri Holechek, defender František Pospisil, strikers Vaclav Nedomansky, Boguslav Stiasny, Jiri and Jaroslav Holiki.
The Swedes also hoped to “profit”. And if they did not really count on gold medals, then winning silver awards seemed quite an achievable task. After all, there were enough luminaries in “Tre Kronur” – one Berje Salming was worth what! And there were also Lars-Erik Sheberg, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Sterner, Ulf Nilsson, Tord Lundstrom,
Where are the Canadians? Again, as in 1957, they did not come to Moscow. This time, not for political reasons, but because of disagreements with the International Ice Hockey Federation. Representatives of Canada boycotted the World Championships for seven whole years. Without the Maple Leaves, tournaments have largely lost both their sharpness and beauty.
As for the US national team, it was at that time – just imagine! – played in group “B”. But even there she did not become the strongest, losing to the GDR team.
The most important fan
Six European teams – the world championship tournament was only formally – had to hold a two-round tournament. It was opened on March 31 by the teams of Czechoslovakia and Poland. Nobody expected a stubborn struggle, and there could be no – teams of different levels met. The result of the meeting is 14: 1.
But this high result was surpassed on the same day. Our hockey players scored 17 goals in the game with the FRG team, conceding only one. Moreover, the German players have opened an account. And with this, they probably made the Soviet hockey players even more angry. The hat-trick was a success for three forwards at once – the captain of the national team Mikhailov, Yakushev and Maltsev. The spectators, who invariably filled the Palace of Sports, enthusiastically welcomed the start of the victorious relay race of the Soviet Union national team.
Already in the next round, the world champions, the hockey players of Czechoslovakia lost two points – in the game with Sweden they could not score a single goal against Christer Abrahamsson, and conceded two in their own. The defeat had such an effect on them that in the next game this strong team with great difficulty overcame the team from Germany – 4: 2.