Twenty years of Soviet Hockey: 1962 - 1982 (Index of player profiles in OP)

Discussion in 'All Time Draft' started by Sturminator, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Theokritos

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    Gennady Radayev (D, *1937)

    1961-62: top 10 defenceman

    Hockey handbook:
    "One of the strongest defencemen of Novosibirsk ever. Reliable and steady, good in the physical game, backed up his partners properly."
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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    Dmitry Kitayev (D, *1938)

    Hockey handbook:
    "Had a good pass and a fine understanding of the game. Brave and selfless in the battle."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "He was always full of ideas. He thought out wide-ranging and interesting combinations, but his acts on the ice didn't always do his thoughts justice: Kitayev's technique wasn't particularly high-end and he didn't have rocket speed… He didn't try to score goals. He understood his strengths and weaknesses and knew how to set up his game tactically. He had a subtle understanding of his position and that might be the reason why it was so difficult to beat him."
     
  3. Theokritos

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    Alexey Makarov (D, *1941)

    1962-63: top 10 defenceman
    1963-64: #9 defenceman
    1964-65: #10 defenceman
    1965-66: #9 defenceman
    1966-67: #7 defenceman
    1967-68: #8 defenceman
    1968-69: #4 right defenceman

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "Courageous and determined. Played with a chip on his shoulder. Willing and able to correct mistakes his partners made. Formed one of our strongest defensive pairings with Viktor Blinov from 1966-1968."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "An aggressive defenceman, dangerous for the opposing goalkeepers… His element was the fight, especially the fight in close quarters. In the most hopeless situation, he still didn't surrender the arms… His weak spot was probably his passing. Not that he wasn't able to play a precise pass, but it's more that his decisions weren't always smart."
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  4. Theokritos

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    Valery Kuzmin (D, *1941)

    1960-61: top 10 defenceman
    1961-62: top 10 defenceman
    1962-63: top 10 defencman
    1968-69: #5 left defenceman, 13th in Soviet Player of the Year voting
    1973-74: 14th in Soviet Player of the Year voting

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "Known for his thoroughness, commitment and tactical understanding. Excellent on the penalty kill. A resolute bodychecker."
    Starshinov (1971):
    "Kuzmin is a good defenceman. If he has any deficiencies, it's in his roughness and individuality. But he is a most useful player for the team, a hard worker who always sacrifices himself for victory. And it's not by chance that Kuzmin, who usually didn't care a lot for goals, scored crucial and much needed goals more than once. (...) He rushes under the puck and blocks it with his chest when the goal is in danger. (...) He does not think of himself outside the team. Even his misdoings, his violations [of the rules], his excessive fighting spirit on the ice are always reactions to blows, insults and pushes against his teammates, not Kuzmin himself."
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  5. Theokritos

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    Vyacheslav Zhidkov (D, *1943)

    1963-64: #6 defenceman
    1964-65: #7 defenceman
    1965-66: #8 defenceman

    Hockey handbook:
    "One of the strongest defencemen in the history of the club Torpedo Gorky. Was very well-developed physically and a fine bodychecker. Played a very reliable game."
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
  6. Theokritos

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    Yevgeny Zimin (RW, *1947)

    Soviet senior league:
    1964-1974, 1976-1977

    Soviet national team (major tournaments):
    1968 OG, 1969 WCh, 1971 WCh, 1972 OG, 1972 SS

    Domestic honours:
    1965-66: #3 right winger
    1966-67: #3 right winger
    1967-68: #2 right winger, 4th in Player of the Year voting
    1968-69: #4 right winger, 7th in Player of the Year voting
    1969-70: top 7 RW, 10th in Player of the Year voting
    1970-71: top 7 RW, 17th in Player of the Year voting

    General comments:

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "Nimble and fast, he built his game on fast passing and very skillful stickhandling."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "You never know what to expect from Zimin. More often than not: a brilliant and breath-taking game. But sometimes it seems as if he has completely forgotten how to play hockey. Then his speed and his fast reactions somehow disappear and his sharp and stealthy shots become easy to read and to block. And suddenly that fearless, cheerful and unstoppable Yevgeny makes a sour face and grumbles at his partners and the referees when in reality he should take offence at himself."
    Anatoly Tarasov (1971):
    "Yevgeny Zimin is without any doubt very talented. His fine technique is complemented by his explosive speed. True, unfortunately he is not very well oriented on the ice. In my opinion, his main weakness is that his judgment fails in some of the most critical moments. He often makes bad decisions: instead of going to the opponent and trying to beat him, Zimin wastes time in an empty space. He skates around instead of heading towards the goal right away. The coaches have repeatedly told him about these weaknesses, but Yevgeny doesn't listen to our remarks. Of course, Zimin is still a great player, but has he fully developed his talent?"

    Career:

    Yevgeny Zimin started his career with Lokomotiv Moscow. In 1964-1965, coach Anatoly Kostryukov promoted him to the senior team. By February 1965, Zimin had received a call-up to the B (=second) national team of the USSR. In the 1965 offseason, Zimin left Lokomotiv.

    Yevgeny Zimin (2014):
    "I was ashamed to leave Lokomotiv, the players and coaches who had done a lot for me. There was a frank conversation with the veterans. To my surprise, they were not against my transition. I remember their arguments almost word for word. They said: You have the prerequisites to become a great player. But unfortunately in our hockey the situation is such that most players on the national team are from CSKA, Dinamo and even Spartak. The way to the national team is thornier from other clubs. And you certainly dream of the national team."

    Note: Quoted after Fyodor Razzakov.

    Despite being pursued by CSKA and Dinamo Moscow, he went to Spartak Moscow under Vsevolod Bobrov where he formed a youth line with Alexander Yakushev (18) at center and Viktor Yaroslavtsev (20) at left wing. He earned his first call-up to the Soviet national team and at the end of the season the Soviet hockey federation ranked him 3rd among Soviet right wingers (behind Loktev and Vikulov). In 1966-1967, Zimin replaced Yevgeny Mayorov on the first line of Spartak Moscow. Initially, his new linemates Vyacheslav Starshinov (at center) and Boris Mayorov (at left wing) weren't happy about the change:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "He's a player with god-given talent. Speed, wits, grit, technique – nature has given him all these gifts and many others in abundance. But together with them, nature also gave him a solid dose of self-confidence and conceit. For him, the rink was the place where he and only he, Yevgeny Zimin, should sweep around the opponent, score goals and reap the applause. He was only interested in his linemates in so far as they could assist him in that endevour. He didn't understand the collective game and didn't embrace it. (...) We needled him, we didn't mince our words, we quarreled with him on the ice, on the bench and in training. He was bitter, snapped and asked to be put on another line. But on the one hand, coach Bobrov was on our side as he understood that we were right. And on the other hand, Yevgeny was a stubborn but also a clever guy. Capable of grasping everything on the fly, he quickly absorbed our lessons, even if not without resistance. (...) By the middle of the season, our trio started to click."
    Yevgeny Zimin (2018):
    "...Starshinov and Mayorov taught me how to play. I used to hang on the puck to the last moment."

    By December 1966, the trio worked well enough as a unit for Zimin to be called up when the Soviet national team toured Canada and to hope for a spot on the 1967 World Championship roster. However, Chernyshov and Tarasov weren't as pleased as Boris Mayorov was with the youngster:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "Zimin had already become a real collective player. He didn't keep the puck too long, he didn't try to do everything on his own, he learned to find his partners in any situation and to adapt to their intentions. To this day I cannot understand why, but it was this game that arouse the discontent of the national coaches. They accused Zimin – a man of desperate courage and someone easily offended – of being a coward. For that reason, they said, he does not take the game on himself but tries to get rid of the puck so quickly. (...) From that moment, hockey stopped to exist for Zimin. Now everything he did on the ice was about demonstrating his selfless courage. He jumped into the trouble, tried to break through to the goal all on his own and got involved in all kinds of brawls. He earned bruises, bumps and a reputation as a fighter and a violator of the rules. He spent more and more time in the penalty box. The game of our troika became unsettled, our performance in the last games in Canada was poor. Yevgeny wasn't taken to [the 1967 World Championship in] Vienna."

    With Spartak Moscow, Zimin continued to play on a line with Starshinov and Boris Mayorov. He scored 34 goals in the domestic league and contributed to Spartak winning the Soviet championship. At the end of the season, the Soviet hockey federation again ranked him 3rd among the Soviet right wingers.

    In 1967-1968, CSKA regained the upper hand in the Soviet league. However, Zimin managed to cement his place on the Spartak first line and to earn a recall to the Soviet national team. He made the roster for the 1968 Olympics, but his performance in the first two games was a disappointment.

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "Veniamin Alexandrov was sitting on the bench, ready to replace him at any time. I know myself how difficult and unpleasant it is to play when with the feeling that replacement is right around the corner. Yevgeny was nervous and messed up. In the end he was really benched instead of Alexandrov."

    Sitting out the next for games, Zimin finally got a second chance when Alexandrov suffered an injury in the match against Sweden.

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "That's when our young partner played really well. Finally his mind wasn't burdened anymore with thoughts of being replaced. Now we got to see the same Zimin we were used to from Spartak: daring and at the same time shrewd, headlong and still cunning, greedy for the puck but with a measure and with his partners in mind."

    At the end of the season, Zimin was ranked 2nd among Soviet right wingers by the hockey federation and he finished 4th in Best Player of the Season voting (behind Firsov, Starshinov and Konovalenko).

    In 1968-1969, Zimin had a weak start into the domestic season and lost his spot on the national team:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "He didn't start well that season. The diagnosis of the national coaches: Laziness, reluctance to train, weak will. Measure of treatment: Deducation from the national team. Believe me: If there is anything you cannot blame Zimin for, it's for lack of will and for laziness."

    By February 1969, Zimin formed a new line with Shadrin (at center) and Martynyuk (at left wing), both with Spartak and the second national team of the USSR.

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "By that time Yevgeny had not yet reached his best form. He was temporarily withdrawn from the first national team and at Spartak he didn't play on our line but on the second line. He tried very hard, as if he wanted to prove the coaches of the national team were wrong... He was just finding his game that season."

    Touring Canada with the second national team from February-March, Zimin finally pulled together a convincing performance. At the last minute, he was called to the first national team for the 1969 World Championship and was reunited with Starshinov (with Mishakov and Alexander Yakushev taking turns at left wing).

    I haven't found an account of Zimin's performance at the World Championship, but fact of the matter is that he only had 1 goals and 2 assists in 10 games. However, helping Spartak Moscow to win the domestic championship over CSKA again, he was still ranked 4th among Soviet right wingers by the hockey federation and finished 7th in Best Player of the Season voting.

    Unfortunately my main source, Boris Mayorov, one goes up to 1970, so it's difficult to get an insight on the following years of Zimin's career. In 1969-1970, he continued to play on the Starshinov line with Spartak, but was dropped from the Soviet national team after December 1969. He didn't play at the 1970 World Championship. In Best Player of the Season voting, he finished 10th that season.

    In 1970-1971, Zimin regained his spot on the national team. At the 1971 World Championship, he saw ice time in 4 games out of 10. He scored 1 goal and 1 assist.

    In the 1971 offseason, it was discovered that Zimin had Tachycardia. For the remainder of his career, he had to take medication.

    In 1971-1972, Zimin was part of the Soviet national team at the 1972 Olympics, but was only used in one game. After his former club coach Bobrov had become the new head coach of the Soviet national team midway through the season, Zimin was dropped from the Soviet national team. He didn't make the roster for the 1972 World Championship.

    In 1972-1973, he was recalled to the national team for the Summit Series against Team Canada. Playing on a line with Vladimir Shadrin (at center) and Alexander Yakushev (at left wing), he scored 2 goals in the first game of the series. After the second game, Zimin experienced stomachache and returned to Moscow on directive of team doctor Oleg Belakovsky. It was discovered that he had appendictis. He wasn't able to play again until December 1972. After his return, he was put on a line with center Viktor Shalimov at Spartak.

    1973-1974 was Zimin's last season with Spartak Moscow. He played on a line with Shalimov again, both with Spartak and with the Soviet B national team that toured Canada.

    In 1974 Zimin, who had escaped conscription thanks to a chronic shoulder injury, was drafted into the Soviet army due to a decree that those who had not yet served could still be drafted until their 27th birthday. Since he wasn't of interest to CSKA at that stage of his career anymore, Zimin was headed towards the second army team, SKA Leningrad under Nikolay Puchkov, but the military bureaucracy put a spoke in his wheel. To his shock, Zimin was forced to serve in the Moscow military district and thus spend the next two seasons (1974-1975 and 1975-1976) with the regional army club SKA MVO Lipetsk in the second tier of the Soviet league.

    Yevgeny Zimin (2018):
    "I lost two years of my life there. It cost me everything: my game tone, my interest in hockey, my faith in justice. Psychologically, I was simply crushed."

    Having completed his service in 1976, Zimin attempted a comeback at Spartak Moscow, but was rejected by Spartak coach Nikolay Karpov.

    Yevgeny Zimin (2018):
    "He trusted rumours that I had constantly violated the regime at SKA MVO. Of course, I'm not an angel, I did allow myself some [alcohol]. But I knew the measure."

    Eventually Zimin was signed by Krylya Sovietov Moscow and spent another season in the Soviet senior league before he ended his career in 1977.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
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  7. Theokritos

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    Alexander Yakushev (LW, *1947)

    Soviet senior league:
    1964-1980

    Soviet national team:
    1967 WCh, 1969 WCh, 1970 WCh, all major tournaments from 1972-1977, 1979 WCh

    Soviet recognition:
    1964-65: #5 center
    1966-67: #4 left winger
    1967-68: #4 left winger
    1968-69: #4 right winger, 6th in Best Player voting
    1969-70: top 5 left winger
    1970-71: top 6 left winger
    1971-72: 4th in Best Player voting
    1972-73: top 3 left winger, 3rd in Best Player voting
    1973-74: top 18 forward, 6th in Best Player voting
    1974-75: top 18 forward, 3rd in Best Player voting
    1975-76: top 22 forward, 5th in Best Player voting
    1976-77: top 22 forward
    1977-78: top 18 forward
    1978-79: 10th in Best Player voting

    International honours:
    1974 WCh All-star
    1975 WCh All-star & Best Forward

    General comments:

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "One of the best left wingers in the history of world hockey. High speed and amazing agility on his skates. Has a strong and accurate shot from any distance. Exceptionally demanding of himself in the game and in training."
    Anatoly Tarasov (1968):
    "During the years we have been in touch with Alexander, the coaches of the national team have never encountered him moody or lazy. He's a smart and decent guy, a bit shy, surprisingly soft and considerate. He listens to the comments of his coaches and the advise of his comrades. He is very demaning of himself and I'm inclined to believe he will become a player of enormous calibre."
    Anatoly Tarasov (1987):
    "Alexander scored goals in a peculiar and elegant manner, with his great reach, weaving intricate patterns on the ice which only Yakushev could understand. What is interesting is that the puck seemed to be glued to his stick - is this not evidence of the highest level of technique?!
    When Alexander skated up ice with those long strides, his eye was fixed firmly on his opponent. Should that opponent bite on a feint, Yakushev, changing gears, could beat practically anyone.
    Yakushev did not, however, like to defend, but in my opinion no one could exploit this weakness - everyone was generally too concerned trying to stop Alexander from attacking.
    Despite all the checking schemes of his opponents, he always scored goals. And, when finishing in the high-traffic areas, Alexander Yakushev transformed from a refined and intelligent player into a scrappy fighter, ruthless to himself."

    Note: I used the existing translation provided by Sturminator.
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "His main passion is to score goals. He's fervently striving ahead towards the opponent's net. Both in training and in the game he constantly looks for an opportunity to strike the goal. He doesn't need to hide his intentions, he is so unique that you need to invent special methods of defending against him. (...)
    Yakushev is a pronounced soloist. He knows and understands a lot about the game. But not everything. Notice how rarely he parts with the puck voluntarily. Notice how rarely he judges the situation correctly when it comes to not going forward himself but sending the partners forward. Goals are rarely scored after a pass by him. He doesn't even strive for it. He's aimed at the goal. And it's difficult for him to understand and appreciate the not-so-obvious work his partners are doing to create good scoring opportunities for him. He doesn't do that work himself. He does not yet have the very important skill to remain in the shadows and work there to bring his partners into the light."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971) on the line Yakushev – Shadrin – Martynyuk:
    "Sasha Yakushev, one of the most original masters of our hockey, was the strongest player on that line. That's true. But this doesn't mean every attack should have ended with a shot by him. Each of the five players on that unit is a very strong player. Each of them could have taken over the tasks that were often shifted to Yakushev. That's primitive tactics. They made it much easier for the opponent to defend against that line."

    Development:

    Alexander Yakushev was discovered by Spartak Moscow youth coach Alexander Igmunov. In April 1964, he was first called up to the senior team by head coach Vsevolod Bobrov. In 1964-1965, he made huge strides: he became a regular on the senior team and by December 1964 he was touring the USA with the Soviet B national team. At that early stage of his career, Yakushev still played as a center forward. At the end of the season, he was ranked 5th among Soviet centers by the hockey federation. In 1965-1966, he centered a line with Viktor Yaroslavtsev at left wing and Yeveny Zimin at right wing. In November 1965, the trio received a call-up to the Soviet national team for a game against Czechoslovakia.

    In 1966, Bobrov moved Yakushev to left wing and Yaroslavtsev to right wing. They now formed a line centered by Vladimir Shadrin (18). Yakushev was called up to the Soviet national team again and even used as a spare at the 1967 World Championship. At the end of the 1966-1967 season, the Soviet hockey federation ranked him 4th among Soviet left wingers. However, the high hopes for the Yakushev – Shadrin – Yaroslavtsev trio didn't materialize in the two seasons they spent together:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "They were long held in high expectations, so long that some already began to talk: 'How much can you promise? Isn't it time to deliver?' But the Spartak team decided to have patience and wait. But they didn't make progress."
    Young Vladimir Shadrin was widely viewed as the weak link on the line in contrast to the more established Yakushev and Yaroslavtsev. The latter on his part drew the ire of national coaches Chernyshov and Tarasov for a lack of work ethic and willingness to learn and was dropped from the national team. Meanwhile Yakushev managed to retain his place on the national team for their tour of North America that winter, but in January 1968 he suffered an injury that put him out of consideration for the 1968 Olympics:

    Anatoly Tarasov (1968):
    "Alexander is a humble and hardworking athlete. Very hardworking, in contrast to Viktor [Yaroslavtsev]. And he's very talented. Arkady Chernyshov and I were very upset when he suffered a serious injury at the end of 1967 during our tour of Canada and was deprived of the opportunity to go to Grenoble. He could have strengthened our team significantly and who knows how our third line would have looked if he didn't get injured."
    At the end of the season Yakushev was again ranked 4th among Soviet left wingers by the Soviet hockey federation.

    Early in the 1968-1969 season, Spartak coach Nikolay Karpov replaced Yaroslavtsev with Alexander Martynyuk at right wing on the line with Yakushev and Shadrin. The new troika immediately clicked:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "It didn't take long before it became clear to everyone: the prospect troika turned into a top troika, capable of playing against and defeating any opponent."
    As Spartak's second line behind Mayorov – Starshinov – Zimin, the line of Yakushev – Shadrin – Martynyuk contributed to the club's domestic championship that season. Yakushev became top scorer in the league with 50 goals and earned a recall to the Soviet national team. At the 1969 World Championship, he played on a line with Starshinov (C) and Zimin (RW), but he only managed to score 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 games.

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "What happened to Yakushev? Fact of the matter is, nothing happened to him. Yakushev remained Yakushev. But at Spartak Moscow, he was treated as a player with an ability to score goals in certain situations and they created these situations for him. Yakushev's defensive work only went that far. Others did the work for him. So he always had his hands untied for a counterattack. When our players won possession of the puck, they knew: Yakushev is already speeding ahead and ready to receive a pass somewhere in the middle of the ice. And they sent him the puck. That's the situation Yakushev is particularly dangerous in: on the move, with the puck, in a wide area of operation. It's difficult to stop him there.
    In the national team it was different. Here he had to do the same work as everybody else and therefore couldn't take advantage. When he sensed the moment was right and prepared to rush for a breakthrough, the cry from the coaches was heared: 'Cover your man!' And he skated back. His linemates weren't tasked to play for Yakushev and they weren't used to play with him."
    Nevertheless, his domestic scoring resume earned Yakushev a 6th place in Best Player of the Season voting. Meanwhile, the Soviet hockey federation once again ranked him 4th among left wingers.

    In 1969-1970, Yakushev was part of the Soviet national team again. At the 1970 World Championship, he was a scratch for the first half of the tournament, but after the USSR had been defeated 2-4 by Sweden in Game 5 he was put on a line with Starshinov (at center) and Maltsev (at right wing). He scored 3 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1970):
    "It's nice that Yakushev played well. I think he will get a permanent spot on the first team next year."
    However, Yakushev went on to miss the 1971 World Championship. He was dropped from the national team a few days before the tournament despite being healthy. The reasons are unclear, especially since his two club linemates Shadrin and Martynyuk were both selected. But in 1971-1972, Yakushev returned to the Soviet national team and he was a regular throughout the next couple of years.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
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  8. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Viktor Yaroslavtsev (F, *1945)

    Soviet senior league:
    1962-1973

    Soviet national team:
    1967 World Championship

    Soviet recognition:

    1963-1964: #5 left winger
    1965-1966: #7 left winger
    1966-1967: #2 right winger
    1967-1968: #5 right winger

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "A fast and energetic player who constantly aimed at the goal."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "Yaroslavtsev has excellent technique, but at times it seems as if he can't use it at high speed. While players such as Kharlamov, Zimin, Maltsev and [Igor] Grigoryev manage to combine speed and technique, as is required in hockey today."
    Anatoly Tarasov (1971):
    "In my opinion the undoubtedly talented Spartak forward Viktor Yaroslavtsev is the most stunning and sad example of a ruined talent. Of course, he has reached considerable heights, he even was a member of the national team and became world champion with his fellow national players [in 1967] (...) And yet I think Viktor has given our hockey, our national team and his club Spartak less than he could have. Much less. It's hurting and annoying: a great talent has faded.
    Yaroslavtsev is 26 now and it can already be said with certainty that we didn't get an outstanding player (like Boris Mayorov or Vikulov) out of him, for he happens to be lazy. Viktor is moody and egoistic. There were even cases during team meetings when Yaroslavtsev tried to blame his own mistakes on his linemates. (...) In March 1967, at the World Championship in Vienna, Viktor behaved in the following manner. You probably remember that during the tournament, especially in the first few games, the Spartak line didn't get going. Trying to find the best option, we had Alexander Yakushev and Viktor Yaroslavtsev alternating on the line with Mayorov and Starshinov. And when the unit didn't perform, Viktor – both during the game and in the post-game analysis – argued vehemently that the reasons for the bad performance lied in the shortcomings of such masters as Boris Mayorov and Vyacheslav Starshinov. In conversations with the coaches, Viktor blamed his partners and was capable of being bewilderingly immodest."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "In 1967 Viktor was already a member of the national team. Afterwards his star somehow and imperceptibly turned dim. It's not as if he played worse than before. He played on the same level he had played as a member of the national team, but back then it was good and now it wasn't good enough anymore. As the game changes, the player needs to grow with it."
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
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  9. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Alexander Martynyuk (F, *1945)

    Soviet senior league:
    1964-1976

    Soviet national team:

    1971 WCh, 1973 WCh

    Soviet recognition:
    1968-1969: #5 left winger
    1969-1970: top 7 right winger
    1970-1971: top 7 right winger, 15th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1972-1973: top 3 right winger

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "Immensely cunning and agile forward. Has a strong, wicked and unexpected shot. Often manages to outplay the defencemen individually."
    Boris Mayorov (1970) on Bobrov as Spartak coach:
    "His eye for talent is astonishing. He brought Yevgeny Zimin (18), Vladimir Migunko (18) and Alexander Martynyuk (21) to Spartak. If the first two were already much talked about as promising players when they played for Lokomotiv Moscow, no-one paid attention to Martynyuk of Krylya Sovietov Moscow. He was a real find by Bobrov."
    Starshinov (1971):
    "He has great speed and excellent technique. But he will not rush headlong into the close quarters, as Zimin wold have done without hesitation. He probably thinks: 'I have other trump cards. I'm a fast and good skater, why should I skate into a blow?' (...) Martynyuk often puts the puck into an empty net. That's because he almost always tricks the goaltender so that he falls for another of Sasha's cunning ploys and leaves his post. It looks as if the goaltender is helping Martynyuk to score. (...) He always remains himself, a clever and shifty player. A sharp move, a dangerous pass, a clever goal."
     
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  10. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Note: Thanks to @Caser for his help with translating a difficult part.

    Vladimir Shadrin (C, *1948)

    Soviet senior league:
    1965-1979

    Soviet national team (major tournaments):
    All WChs from 1970-1977, 1972 and 1976 OG, 1972 and 1974 SS

    Soviet honours:
    1966-1967: #7 center
    1968-1969: #4 center, 13th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1969-1970: top 7 center, 10th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1970-1971: top 7 center, 6th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1972-1973: top 3 center, 8th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1973-1974: top 18 forward
    1974-1975: top 18 forward, 12th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1975-1976: top 22 forward, 6th in Best Player of the Year voting
    1976-1977: top 22 forward, 14th in Best Player of the Year voting

    General comments:

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "The unique motor of the famous Spartak troika. He has a precise and timely pass and a strong and accurate shot. Is able to play an active physical game throughout the match. Capable of shouldering the defensive work for his partners. Often on the ice to kill penalties, both with the national team and his club team."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "He went his own uncharted path, managing to turn his weaknesses almost into strengths. That's what makes it so difficult to play against Shadrin: he doesn't resemble anyone."
    Anatoly Tarasov (1987):
    "Vladimir didn't have an outstanding built at all. His physique wasn't notable. Nevertheless, he was an extremely useful player for Spartak Moscow and our national team. What is the secret of Shadrin's success? First of all, we cannot fail to mention his brilliantly developed sense of the pass. He provided his partners with the puck in a cunning, skillful and, most importantly, timely manner – in time with their speedy maneuvers. He made good use of the puck, from his stick it rarely went to the opponent instead of a partner.
    Although it's impossible to say he didn't have a perfect passing technique, his other techniques – his scoring touch, stickhandling and checking – were only developed as well as was necessary for a master, but not beyond that."
    Gennady Radchuk (1970):
    "Vladimir Shadrin is a master of the passing game."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "I really appreciate him as a center forward – as the organizer of the attacks of his line and the destroyer of opposing attacks."

    Reliability and industriousness:

    Anatoly Tarasov (1987):
    "Shadrin played a game without inconsistencies and blunders. (...) The coaches have always valued Vladimir Shadrin for his self-discipline and his understanding of the center role. The tasks he was given by the coaches were carried out with pleasure and pride. But he didn't just carry them out, he carried them out exemplarily. This quality is extremely important in modern hockey, in matches against opponents that are strong and almost on par. It helps the coaches to plan victory. Vladimir Shadrin was distinguished by such conscientiousness..."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "His wingers are also successful because they know that Vladimir does not shy away from the rough work. Vladimir Shadrin is a star that doesn't dazzle with his brilliance, but for Spartak he is irreplacable."
    Vsevolod Bobrov:
    "He's reliable in everything: in life and on the hockey rink."

    Note: Quoted after Olga Burbentsova (2010).
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "His dedication and perseverance do not immediately attract attention. (...) He's strong and passionate and devoid of any desire to play just for show. (...) Vladimir always fights to the end. He is extremely reliable. (...) I have never seen him lose his temper."

    Defensive play:

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "It's no fun playing against Vladimir in our training games. You seem to have beaten him and walked around him... but no! In some incomprehensible way he always manages to hook and raise your stick, make an incredible move around you and be in your way again."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971) on 3 against 5 situations:
    "Among those who Spartak Moscow recently entrusts the difficult role of defending in the endless seconds when we're down to three men, most often Vladimir Shadrin appears."

    Skating:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "Vladimir Shadrin is a splendid player. But others have a headstart on him because he didn't learn how to skate properly as a kid. He doesn't skate as fast as he could and he struggles too much with the ice. But he has an iron will and a hard-working character. He has managed to develop other qualities in himself to the point that they sort of overcame his shortcomings."
    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "It takes him a lot of energy to reach speed, but he manages."

    Development:

    Vladimir Shadrin came up through the youth ranks of Spartak Moscow. An intelligent young man, he also graduated from the Physico-Mathematical College at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. After graduation he attended the Gubkin Moscow State University of Oil and Gas, even though Spartak coach Bobrov urged him to attend the Institute for Physical Culture which would have been easier to combine with a hockey career. Shadrin opted for the difficult way and attended University full-time while simultaneously playing senior hockey for Spartak Moscow in the Soviet elite league. From 1966 to 1968, he centered a line with Alexander Yakushev at left wing and Viktor Yaroslavtsev at right wing. The trio also got to play for the second national team of the USSR on the annual tours of Canada (December 1966 and December 1967) and both wingers, Yakushev and Yaroslavtsev, were called up to the 1967 World Championship. However, the high hopes for the troika didn't become reality as advertised and young Shadrin, the least-touted of the three, was the one who got the blame:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "Both wingers believed that Shadrin was to blame for everything: he was slow and didn't score enough goals. It was understandable: both Yaroslavtsev and Yakushev were older, more experienced and played for the national team. They looked at the inexperienced Shadrin as inferior in class."

    Everything changed in 1968 when Yaroslavtsev was replaced by Alexander Martynyuk. The Yakushev – Shadrin – Martynyuk trio worked very well and Shadrin's stance improved:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "The prospect troika turned into a top troika, capable of playing against and defeating any opponent. They demonstrated it soon. And the soul of that line was the 'slow' and 'ineffective' Vladimir Shadrin."

    The trio made a substantial contribution to Spartak's domestic championship in 1968-1969 and Alexander Yakushev became the top goal scorer in the league. The way the troika initially operated:

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "At Spartak Moscow, Yakushev was treated as a player with an ability to score goals in certain situations and they created these situations for him. His defensive work only went that far. The others did the work for him. So he always had his hands untied for a counterattack. When our players won possession of the puck, they knew: Yakushev is already speeding ahead and ready to receive a pass somewhere in the middle of the ice. And they sent him the puck."

    Therefore, Shadrin mostly contributed with his defensive work and his passing. However, he also drew criticism for passing too much and not scoring enough himself:

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "At Spartak he played next to very strong partners, Alexander Yakushev and Alexander Martynyuk (and before that, Viktor Yaroslavtsev had played in place of Martynyuk). These partners were technically stronger than Shadrin. And so he naively tried to compensate for his shortcomings by passing. (...) Sasha Yakushev, one of the most original masters of our hockey, was the strongest player on that line. That's true. But this doesn't mean every attack should have ended with a shot by him."

    It took Shadrin some time to learn to shoot more himself. Starshinov remarks that once Shadrin was removed from the usual setup with Yakushev and put on the first line for a shift (presumably switching to left wing; Starshinov played center and Zimin right winger), he immediately scored a goal.

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "The fact that Vladimir did not seek Yakushev but took the solution of the problem on himself played a positive role. I think if the same situation had occurred when Shadrin was on his usual line, he would have looked for Yakushev and passed him the puck. (...) Being an intelligent sportsman, Shadrin soon realized it wasn't his purpose to serve Yakushev and Martynyuk. He learned to take the game on himself. He stopped making a lot of superfluous and pointless passes that had made him look like he shifted the responsibility to others."

    Later Tarasov would remark on the Yakushev – Shadrin – Martynyuk line:

    Anatoly Tarasov (1974):
    "Vladimir Shadrin is the organizer, leader and the chief designer on that line."

    By December 1968, the trio was called up to the national team. However, only Yakushev ended up making the cut for the 1969 World Championship. Meanwhile Shadrin toured Canada with the second national team (on a line with Martynyuk and Zimin) in February-March 1969.

    In 1969-1970, Shadrin finally managed to gain a spot on the national team. He toured Canada with the national team and earned a ticket to the 1970 World Championship at Stockholm. There he only got to play in one game (11-0 vs Poland) and despite scoring 1 goal and 4 assists while centering Yakushev and Maltsev, his performance wasn't considered convincing.

    Gennady Radchuk (1970):
    "He also has his weaknesses and Vladimir himself is well aware of them: 'I still have shortcomings in athletic qualities. My aim is to be able to perform the entire game on the same string, to have endurance to play without signs of slacking.'"

    Apparently Shadrin proceeded to achieve this aim, as the later quotes (e.g. Tarasov 1987: "without inconsistencies etc") suggest. Hard training helped him overcome this weakness:

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1971):
    "In training he worked with methodical persistence. This slim graduate of the mathematical school engaged in weightlifting beyond all norms."

    From 1970-1971 on, Shadrin was a regular on the Soviet national team.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
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  11. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    KHARLAMOV – PETROV – MIKHAILOV

    (Heads-up: Follow-up posts will focus on the individual players of the trio.)

    Boris Mikhailov (*1944) played for Avangard Saratov [second tier] from 1962-1965 and for Lokomotiv Moscow from 1965-1967. Vladimir Petrov (*1947) played for Krylya Sovietov Moscow from 1965-1967. Both were brought to CSKA Moscow in 1967 after Spartak Moscow had snatched the domestic title away from the army club. Mikhailov replaced Konstantin Loktev (retired) on the famous line Alexandrov – Almetov – Loktev. Petrov managed to clinch the center spot on the same line after Almetov surprisingly quit hockey during the 1967-1968 season. Thus the new line Alexandrov – Petrov – Mikhailov was created.

    Meanwhile young Valery Kharlamov (*1948) was sent down to Zvezda Cherbakul [third tier], one of the subsidary army teams in the lower leagues. In March 1968 he was called up to CSKA, but initially used as a spare forward. In 1968-1969 he gained a spot on the third line (where he played with Alexander Smolin and Yury Blinov) before an injury to Veniamin Alexandrov prompted a line change in late October 1968. Kharlamov replaced Alexandrov and immediately clicked with his new linemates. The line Kharlamov – Petrov – Mikhailov was born.

    Boris Mayorov (1970):
    "Never in the history of our hockey has an entire troika of forwards had such an overwhelming takeoff. Within one season, three young guys became national team players, World Champions, honored masters of sports and recipients of national awards."
    Boris Mikhailov (2008):
    "It seems that even Tarasov didn't expect we would find a common language with Valery from the first minute of the game. The other CSKA players said they were pleasantly surprised that the three of us played together in harmony as if we had been training and playing together for ages."
    Valery Kharlamov (1977):
    "I played together with many masters, including some great ones, but with no-one else did I manage to have so much success. It were Vladimir Petrov and Boris Mikhailov who made me Kharlamov."
    Individual recognition the three players received during the first period they played together (October 1968 to April 1971):

    1968-1969:1969-1970:1970-1971:
    Kharlamov:4th in Best Player voting (51 points)5th in Best Player voting (20 points)4th in Best Player voting (61 points)
    Petrov:no votes8th in Best Player voting (2 points)13th in Best Player voting (3 points)
    Mikhailov:5th in Best Player voting (30 points)no votes9th in Best Player voting (5 points)
    In the 1971 offseason changes were made that led to the dissolution of the troika Kharlamov – Petrov – Mikhailov. Most notably, Anatoly Firsov moved from LW to center/halfback on the CSKA top line. The new lines were:

    Kharlamov – Firsov – Vikulov
    Yury Blinov – Petrov – Mikhailov​
    After the 1972 Olympics, Firsov was dropped from the Soviet national team. He continued playing with Kharlamov and Vikulov for CSKA, but at the national team level Kharlamov and Vikulov were now centered by Maltsev. This continued into the 1972-1973 season (including the 1972 Summit Series).

    Individual recognition Kharlamov, Petrov and Mikhailov received when they were apart:

    1971-1972:
    Kharlamov:2nd in Best Player voting
    Petrov:no votes
    Mikhailov:no votes
    It was only in December 1972 that the troika Kharlamov – Petrov – Mikhailov was brought back together at the national team. Subsequently the Soviet hockey federation urged CSKA to reunite the troika at the club too.

    Individual recognition during the second period they were together (December 1972 to April 1976):
    1972-1973:1973-1974:1974-1975:1975-1976:
    Kharlamov:1st in Best Player voting5th in Best Player voting2nd in Best Player voting2nd in Best Player voting
    Petrov:2nd in Best Player voting12th in Best Player voting4th in Best Player voting9th in Best Player voting
    Mikhailov:5th in Best Player voting2nd in Best Player voting5th in Best Player voting10th in Best Player voting
    In the 1976 offseason Kharlamov suffered career-threatening injuries in a car accident. He returned to the ice and the troika kept playing together for another five seasons.
    1976-1977:1977-1978:1978-1979:1979-1980:1980-1981:
    Kharlamov:8th in Best Player voting7th in Best Player voting3rd in Best Player of Europe voting7th in Best Player votingno votes
    Petrov:2nd in Best Player voting8th in Best Player voting6th in Best Player of Europe votingno votes5th in Best Player voting
    Mikhailov:3rd in Best Player voting1st in Best Player voting1st in Best Player of Europe voting3rd in Best Player votingno votes
    In the 1981 offseason Kharlamov was involved in another car accident. This time the accident was fatal.

    An interesting quote on the differences between the troikas Kharlamov – Petrov – Mikhailov and Firsov – Polupanov – Vikulov:

    Anatoly Firsov (1973):
    "Have you kept an eye on the Petrov line? An attack fails, the opponent wins the puck in his own zone – but he cannot start a counterattack. Mikhailov, Petrov and Kharlamov cover all the slightest gaps through which the puck could slip out of the zone of the opponent. All three are distinguished by great tenacity, but, most importantly, they play and they strangle the opponent not due to muscular energy but primarily through their agile minds, their deep and fine understanding of the game. They guard the boards and cover for each other reliably. When our line lost the puck, Polupanov rarely fought for it in the opposing zone. Instead he hurried to pull back, even though Vikulov and I were capable defensively and would have covered for him. But on the Petrov troika, whoever is closest to the puck fights for it immediately, regardless of his position, center forward or wingers.
    There is another difference. Valery, Vladimir and Boris are more focused on the goal, they shoot from any position, hoping that the partner will go on to put the puck in the net and disturb the goaltender. Our line was trying to take the safe route, shoot from the close slot and beat the opponent cleanly."
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  12. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    Finally found the time to respond to this. Nikolay Epshteyn, this black sheep within the Soviet hockey structure, was not an unknown entity to foreign hockey observers and fans. I´ve found two contemporary Czech articles citing Epshteyn´s views on the Soviet and European hockey in the 1960s. The first one is particularly interesting because it reveals the issue of competitiveness of the Soviet league, as Epshteyn (Khimik Voskresensk coach) was the one who raised his voice in favour for more domestic parity. Fact that by the 1966-67, the Soviets were already playing by the NA rules (bodychecking throughout the whole rink) is another key information. That is at least 3 years prior the institutionalization of the rule everywhere in Europe.

    Pavel Rýpar, a writer for Kopaná-hokej, reproduces contemporary post-WHC 1967 discussions from Soviet hockey experts in his article written in the Spring of 1967:
    Sovětská liga a Epštejn v 67.JPG

    WORLD CHAMPIONS DISCUSS (EVEN IF THEY WON)
    • Everything for ‘Sbornaja komanda’
    • System of transfers contributes to imbalances
    • League interruptions are evil
    Various so called experts wouldn´t bet a nickel on Soviet Union hockey players in this year´s January. Vast majority of voices were tuned quite sceptically even in the USSR. Vienna showed that everything remains the same: players of the Soviet Union were in unrivaled position also this year. Indeed it seems that they distanced themselves one step further away from their opponents of the big four to the extent that many ask whether is still the term ‘big four’ justified today?

    ‘SBORNAJA’ HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PREFERRED

    Two ‘Napoleons of Soviet hockey’, coaches Anatoli Tarasov and Anatoli
    [Arkady] Chernyshev, especially the stronger individual of these two, Tarasov, have been drawing all the possible attention upon themselves all these years. ‘Sbornaja komanda’ was getting a preference in everything, often even at the expense of teams from the highest domestic hockey competition (see the constant enhancing of the CSKA Moscow army team, multiple USSR champion, whose coach is the Tarasov himself). Economic side of the competition didn´t hurt anyone, so there was almost no man to be found, who hadn´t stopped and raised questions about rather low attendance figures (outside Moscow). They stemmed in part from a certain monotony of series of completely lopsided victories of army players; in part from long breaks in competition caused by camps and trips of the ‘Sbornaja komanda’.

    However, clear facts have spoken in favour of the ‘everything for the National team’ system, facts in front of which everyone had to retreat. Our Moscow correspondent Konstantin Jesenin confirmed that even in the Soviet Union such experts emerged, who pointed out certain dangers of this one-sidedness but… in year 1957 Canadians won the WHC while Soviet Wings became the USSR Champions, in year 1962 Spartak Moscow won while Sweden
    [won] at the WHC. Otherwise Tarasov was winning home with the CSKA and with ‘Sbornoj’ at the World Championships. These are those facts.

    ONE-SIDED PREDOMINANCE HARMS

    We´ve mentioned that nothing has changed on the privileged position of Soviet hockey on the world scale. Although balance of power within the Soviet hockey has somewhat changed, the USSR ‘hockey climate’ has been transforming. Bobrov´s Spartak Moscow has won the Championship and broke the multi-year hegemony of Tarasov´s CSKA. It would surely be an oversimplification to claim that only this fact stimulated the lively discussion among officials, oriented mostly toward inner problems of the Soviet hockey. Nevertheless – there is a discussion (which is a new thing) and the reality that it happens after very successful season testifies to healthy core and good prospects of the ice hockey in USSR.

    The most typical voice, which judiciously summed up all the problems and questions, was the voice of Khimik Voskresensk coach Nikolay Epshteyn.

    He asked the question: ‘Is it good if two teams, Spartak and CSKA, will fully clearly separate from the rest performance-wise?’ And he answered to himself: ‘It is good when we consider that we had one such team some years ago. It is bad because the gap between these two teams and the rest is too significant.’ And he continued: ‘Perhaps one random goal can bring the victory even to an outsider in soccer. It doesn´t work this way in hockey. If the team keeps losing, people will stop arrive at the gates. Even the players alone wouldn´t go on the ice with large enthusiasm, had they known beforehand that they´re going to lose.’ System of transfers contributed to this disparity. Whenever a promising hockey player appears in one of the non-Moscow clubs, ‘strong ones’ (CSKA most of all) will suddenly make themselves present with handed arm. ‘Such way of obtaining players, in my conviction, harms hockey. If we would build here 6-8 approximately equivalent teams, Soviet hockey would have gone even further ahead and the USSR Championship would have been incomparably more interesting. I´m convinced that the power of Spartak Moscow lies precisely in the fact that it´s mostly their own disciples, who have emotional ties to their collective, that are in the line-up.’

    RULES OF PROFESSIONALS IN THE SOVIET UNION?

    Definitely interesting is the admission of the honoured coach Epshteyn that they´ve basically transitioned to professional rules in the Soviet Union. Referees have already stopped noticing the physical game, body-checks, regardless of at which part of the ice it occurs. The convergence of the professional and Soviet style of the game is testified even by the fact that, after all, successful tests with officiating the games with three referees took place in this season. It only remains to solve the question of blocking the player without the puck and the last difference between professional and amateur rules will be wiped off. ‘The rules – formally – are the same as they used to for now. Isn´t the time to say also B, when we´ve already said A?’

    Nikolay Epshteyn paid attention to one more problem of the Soviet hockey: a ‘calendar problem’. According to his opinion, the league schedule is 1. too much dense, 2. there are many ‘windows’ in it. Too many games cause that by the end of year a player simply ‘can´t even look at the puck’. Breaks between individual rounds discourages viewers without a doubt. Epshteyn highlights the example of the professionals: they don´t care about the games which serve no purpose. Their program is such that it does not leave a space for meaningless games, in which nothing is at stake. And moreover: professional season is precisely and in detail already known before the start of competition and never changes, Canadian pros know well that interruptions bring nothing good. Epshteyn suggests the USSR Championship to be played even without participation of the National team members, or to at least reduce the number of unimportant trips.

    We´ve mentioned already before this year´s World Championship that discussion around Soviet hockey – a ‘new thing’ for us in its own way – is not the sign of weakness. More of the opposite. Continuing the discussion after so successful season only confirms it.”
     
  13. DN28

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    ...And the 'second' Epshteyn.

    Kopaná-hokej
    in the Spring of 1965, reproduces contemporary mid-1960s discussions about the question of boundaries of physical hockey and possible rule changes from various Soviet and European hockey players and coaches (including Epschteyn) in the following article written by an anonymous author:
    Tvrdost hokeje a Epštejn v 65.JPG

    WHAT IS HOCKEY´S TOMORROW GOING TO BE? EXCLUSIVELY ‘HARD’ ABOUT TOUGHNESS

    Since a certain time, Europeans as chosen hockey teams regularly visit Canada; Soviet hockey players have started with this. They came back with shield and brought themselves full of knowledge and experience. They found out that they did surpass the Canadian amateurs in speed and in combination game, though they haven´t been as tough yet, that they haven´t been able to play the body so well. So they´ve decided to catch up on Canada even in toughness.

    Of course roughing often walks hand in hand with toughness – tendencies to dirty hockey occur in Europe too. Bad examples draw attention. On the basis of this reality, an interesting discussion originated in Soviet sporting press, from which we publish some problems; even our notion of tough hockey has no clearly defined boundaries, which would separate it from dirty hockey.

    DIRTY HOCKEY TO PENALTY BOX

    Khimik Voskresensk coach N. Epshteyn initiated the discussion. ‘Hockey became dirty – A meaning of the new theory is to scare an opponent – I am for a physical hockey but for such that was played by Sologubov – Players adjust to referees…

    Borders separating an allowed game from an ordinary penalty have been gradually blurred lately thanks to common effort from players, coaches and referees. Players, who violate principles of fair-play without any restraints, have emerged in every team. There are voices: ‘Well that´s how hockey should be played after all – why now restrict the boys?’

    Simply put – dirty hockey has already laid a claim on a general approval.

    I´ve always used to be excited about Sologubov. Sologubov had always so much technique even with his physical hockey, that he didn´t have to help himself with roughing. Today, his place is taken by Ragulin, undoubtedly an excellent and technical player. However, while Ragulin is not shy of using his one hundred kilograms weight against an opponent, he does not hesitate to defend with cross-checking as well. And he´s not alone. Ivanov, Brezhnev, Zaitsev are next to him in this – everyone technically equipped enough so that they can play clean. Why they don´t want to?

    I´m hearing the objections now: ‘So what? Just play by the rules and everything will be alright!’ However, the interpretation of the rules is so free today that us, coaches, cannot always answer to natural question: ‘How are we supposed to play then?’ How should I answer, when I myself don´t exactly know what is going to be penalized? Arkady Ivanovich Chernyshev speaks to his players simply: ‘Adjust!’ And adjust to what actually – ice, opponent? No –
    [adjust] to referees! But why?'

    SOLOGUBOV

    agrees with Epshteyn – not because he
    [Epshteyn] is pointing to him as a model, but just because he doesn´t want dirty game to become a cause of Soviet players´ failures on the international scene. ‘Hockey is no ballet! Hockey is not even a soccer. Physical play will always have a place in it. I favour supreme physical hockey but I am against hooligans. That´s how I call all those who employ physical play, as I would say, with bad intention, in an effort to injure the opponent, force him to be afraid… No, a relationship to the opponent has to be different. It is needed to compel the opponent so that he´d have respect to you as fearless and fair adversary, but also so that he´d never have a feeling of fear as [if playing] in front of an enemy capable of using nasty illegal game.’

    Sologubov answers to N. Epshteyn on the question: ’How are we supposed to play?’, with his own words: ‘Strictly by the rules!’. We could speak a lot about referees. Explanation of clean physical play is not unclear but games are officiated by many of those who understand hockey a little or not at all.

    ADJUST THE RULES

    A. Seglin, one of the most recognized Soviet arbiters, debated Epshteyn and Sologubov. He says: ‘Hockey without strength does not exist. There is no need to pack players into a cotton wool, it is necessary to adjust the rules to the actual reality instead.’ He continues: ‘Objective reality gives a clear answer: today´s hockey has come out of the boundaries of the rules. Should we then put the coaches, players, even referees outside the law? Should we, according to the opinion of N. Epshteyn. castrate hockey from the physical play? Majority of our players is hard to intimidate. How many wounds have Firsov, Loktev or Starshinov already gotten (etc., etc.), and yet they keep playing. It´s true that the spirit of hockey sometimes does not correspond with the written law. However, is the spirit of the game ought to corrupt because of it? Isn´t it simpler to change the hockey code? All the more so, since it´s really necessary to institute the physical play in the offensive zone. Hockey has changed. It has grown but didn´t become a hooligan. Efforts of some experts to artificially limit it remind the activity of too anxious mothers alarming at the sight of nineteen year-old young man holding in hands a box of matches with label: ‘Kids! Don´t play with fire!’

    GUEST IN THE DISCUSSION

    Arne Strömberg, ‘Tre Kronor’ coach, stated that ‘it´s about time to declare a fight against brutal game and other penetrations of bad manners of professional hockey, and simultaneously to unite the rules (body-checking throughout the ice). According to my opinion, body-checking in the offensive zone can´t mean a ‘pollution of hockey’ at good game management. More of the opposite – it will simplify it. On the other side though, various bad habits of professional hockey have been permeating into the amateur hockey. We fight a serious battle with professionalization of amateur hockey demeanors in Sweden. Our referees punish these misconducts in domestic competitions. Although when our players played in international competitions, we use to be always surprised by an indiscriminate game of an opponent especially in front of its goal. It seems to me that among many referees, including our Swedish ones, a double rules interpretation exists: one for international games, another for games of domestic competitions. As a father I would find little pleasure in seeing dislocated teeth or other injuries of my sons. It´s obvious that unfortunate cases exist in every sport – it must be reconciled with that too. But brutality, we have to expel intentional brutality away from all hockey rinks of the world.

    ACTIVE PLAYER

    Even Boris Maiorov came to throw his hat in the ring, whose opinions we publish for the conclusion.

    ‘Epshteyn´s article appeared in time. Yes, our hockey is becoming dirty: tripping, hooking, cross-checks and boarding are not random anymore. I was in Canada in 1960 and many things there seemed to me unusual: I saw a big speed of forwards, also clear fights staged by defensemen. I saw spectacular goals and dislocated teeth. I understood that a physical play can bring a sporting experience, but it can also arouse distaste. Briefly said, I saw hockey extremes upon which it´s worth to think about. Trips to Canada have brought us benefits in many aspects, but we have brought home with us simultaneously – completely unnecessary – this ghost of rough play, with which we not so rarely encounter in our arenas today. Some reader might object here that Maiorov preaches gentleness on the ice while being frequently penalized himself. Well, there is truth to that and I want to add to that my own take. Me and brother terribly like hockey and although we´re engineers today, we´re even now willing to play hockey always and everywhere just as little boys. And this obsession has often served us badly. I´ve seen Maurice Richard playing. He got many wounds on the ice but ignored them. Look at Yakushev – never gets angry, always remains a true sportsman. We want to be like that too this year. I´m using this opportunity to say it with full responsibility for me and my brother.

    It is needed to seriously speak about game officiating. I´m convinced that precisely the referees must play the main role for the physical play to come back into bounds of the rules. Let´s think about that especially now before the World Championship!’”
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  14. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    And for the third and last time today...

    This third article is no longer about Epshteyn but it is an excerpt from one of Tarasov´s books (written most likely sometime in late 1960s). Tarasov deals with the question of how to incorporate individual star players into always working for the success of the team. The article is basically a great showcase of several 1960s elite Soviet players having been subordinated for the Tarasov´s system, and it serves as somewhat of a “propaganda” (for lack of a better word) of Tarasov´s preferred style of hockey. It provides valuable descriptions of certain players which is the main reason why I´ve chosen to translate it and post it in this thread. Circumstances, as described by Tarasov, regarding some of the individual award recognitions at the WHCs, are also interesting.

    Anatoli Tarasov published in Československý sport, April 1971:
    Tarasov o hvězdách SSSR v 71.JPG

    Anatoli TARASOV Answers the Question: CAN THERE BE ‘STARS’ IN THE USSR TEAM?

    At the meeting with me, Maurice Richard expressed a concern that our collective conception can lead to equalization of performances of players. It seemed to him that we´ve been lowering roles of individual players, and that such a collective conception does not benefit development of character and discoveries of talents.

    Is Maurice Richard right?

    Not even a little. Each player has the opportunity to show his art during whichever game. And viewers, sports observers, even experts can appreciate his mastery.

    A hockey player, who is alone, has especially big responsibility when no one can help him. Sport lovers, who visit the games of our team, have already observed that whenever CSKA founds itself shorthanded, Almetov appears on the ice. This player has no one equal to him in individual play, in the art of holding the puck and defending himself against numerical superiority of an opponent. Almetov is no soloist, but he´s a world-class player, a ‘star’ in a good sense of the word.

    Even his teammates in the trio, Konstantin Loktev and Veniamin Alexandrov, are the same as Almetov. Versatile, technical, smart and surprisingly friendly are these forwards. They were not specialists only for passes or only for goal-scoring, they knew both. I understand how it´s hard for an opponent to play against such an attack.

    Creative abilities of these three hockey aces vary. They differ from one another by both style of play and by skating, dekes, and by a way of holding the stick as well. But they are unanimous in the main thing – in the view on principles of the game; they understand hockey as one. And that´s why their compliance in actions has already been carried by an intuitive nature in many aspects.

    Sometimes inexperienced lovers of hockey ask me: ‘Who would win if Babych, Shuvalov and Bobrov played against Loktev, Almetov and Alexandrov?’

    It is a naive question. It´s another time, another hockey. Loktev, Almetov and Alexandrov can undoubtedly do everything that their predecessors could, but in addition they are further. It is understandable after all, hockey, just as life, goes forward.

    Let´s take Alexandrov for example – they keep calling him a second Bobrov but he plays differently. He was able to get rid of the habits of individual game. It can´t be said about him, Loktev, even Almetov, that someone would work for them. He himself can and likes to play for others, while remaining the brightest ‘star’ on hockey heaven.

    I´ve already said that a player can lose awareness during the one-touch game. But when Almetov´s line plays on one touch, it is not possible, for example, not to notice Alexandrov! Just note how his passes are extraordinarily accurate, witty, how are surprisingly strong and unexpected.

    On such a conception of collective game, when players literally forget about themselves and do everything possible so that a teammate will play successfully, hockey experts in the West could not get used to for a long time.

    NOT IMPRESSIVELY BUT EFFECTIVELY

    When everyone in the Soviet team played with the same mastery, even though not impressively but exceptionally effectively (they became World Champions!), awkward situations would then happen to us eventually.

    So for instance WHC Directoriate in 1963 in Stockholm decided that three awards for the best players of the tournament (goaltender, defenseman, forward) would be given to players from all the participating countries except for – the World Champions.

    One of the leading officials of the hockey federation, mister Ahearne, justified this decision by
    [saying] that, there are no ‘stars’ in our team, and so nobody from ours can get the award.

    That rightly upset us. Mister Ahearne, a respectable man in the world hockey, allowed for an obvious and gross exchange of the concepts. We didn´t really have a soloist in the Red Army team (and we´re proud of that!). But there was no shortage of world-class players in the USSR Red Army, therefore excellent hockey players.

    People, who were making decisions about granting the three awards for best players of the championship, simply did not grasp, that almost all of our players could get them. They were on the same level and were definitely not worse than famous players of other teams.

    In the following year, our players became the Olympic winners at the WOG in Innsbruck. And again, the organizers could not decide, to which one from the Soviet team they should hand the special award. A Solomonic judgment was accepted then: they attributed the prize to the captain of our squad Boris Maiorov, so that he would transmit it to an appropriate player. Hence we alone decided at the time, who was our best one.

    Players agreed with coaches at the common meeting, that the award would be given to Eduard Ivanov. Of course, everyone played selflessly, everyone gave out their energy for victory till the end. Everyone played with immense courage; if it was necessary, they would throw themselves to the puck and cover the goal with their bodies. But even in this friendly and courageous team, Eduard Ivanov especially excelled with a surprising bravery. He threw himself to the puck not only when it was absolutely necessary. He constantly looked for an opportunity to manifest his courage and to cover the goal with his chest. And he did all that with a smile and he transmitted the effort onto the others.

    TAMPERE: HONOUR TO STARSHINOV

    It was already certain before the end in 1965 in Tampere that we´re going to be the Champions. Organizers turned to us, the heads of the Soviet team, at the time with a request to mark our best forward for them.

    Together with Arkady Chernyshev, the older coach of the USSR squad, we evaluate our players after every game. So we picked three
    [forwards] according to play and goals scored – Alexander Almetov, Konstantin Loktev and Vyacheslav Starshinov. Starshinov then came out victoriously from yet narrower selection.

    Why? Because he not only played great at this Championship, but also appeared as a great friend. He did everything he could to help out the rookie Anatoli Ionov. He understood what feelings his younger teammate had, and that was why he let him know discreetly and tactfully at every opportunity that he doesn´t leg behind his experienced teammates. He helped him to classify into the Red Army as an equal, and so he gave him the opportunity to play to the fullest.

    And at the last World Championship in Ljublana, where we became the World Champions for the fourth time, they granted not one but two of the three individual awards to our team – Konstantin Loktev for the best forward and defenseman Alexander Ragulin.

    FIRSOV IS COMING

    There are stars in our hockey. And among these boys, very much hockey-loving, devoted to this game, Anatoli Firsov with his quite special enthusianism stands beyond others in my opinion.

    He has been getting into the best ones for many years now. He´s double Olympic winner, sevenfold World and European Champion, he earned the medal of the USSR Champion multiple times. Many words have been written and spoken about him, but fame did not corrupt him in any way.

    Anatoli rejoices from team successes just as much as from his own. This joy, euphoria from winning has not confused him, it did not evoke a boastfulness in him…

    He made first steps in the sport in the sports team of the factory plant ‘Red Hero’. There as a 12-year old boy, he started with bandy hockey. He got to know the rubber in Spartak. He then came to CSKA in 1961, and his extraordinary sporting talent fully developed here after. Firsov became the STAR OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE.

    Speed excells in his game. The speed of thinking most of all. It often seems to him that his game consists of continuous series of ideas. He instantly orients in sharp tense situations, comes up with the most unexpected solutions. His quickness of a pass or receiving of a pass as well as skating speed impresses too.

    Anatoli is always very different in the game. His linemates, who understandably know him well, can´t ever confidently say, what he´s going to do in the next moments, and that´s why they´re trying to be on alert, to expect a pass.

    Firsov always reasonably accepted everything new, never satisfied with only that which had already been discovered and tested.

    I remember on the spring of 1963. I wanted to use his agility after the World Championship and suggested to him to learn a fine ‘deke’ – stick-skate. The key is in that a player holding the puck has suddenly the stick above it, so it looks as if he´d lost it, and while deceiving opponent he passes the puck forward back to the stick with his skate. It is very technically demanding. He
    [Firsov] though, showed this trick in the game in a week.

    So that reader understood how difficult it is, I´d add that this deke has been perfectly mastered in our hockey only by Firsov. Now Yuri Blinov and Valeri Kharlamov attempt to learn it too, but how soon will they achieve, hard to say.

    DEMANDS ON ONESELF

    Firsov´s success rests not only on his talent but also in hunger for hockey. A mere training or mere game is never enough for him. He stays after training for at least 20 more minutes on the ice with his younger teammates, and ‘skates out’ with the rubber yet. He trains even in the days when other players use the rare moments of free time.

    He always trains to the fullest, most happily tests his skills on our physically strongest defensemen – Ragulin and Kuzkin.

    He plays in about hundred games in a season and every time after, what I told him to relax and not to play in the next one, his reproachful eyes look at me and there is a silent wish in them: will I really not be allowed to play?

    He accepts tough play in games, it´s no coincidence. He isn´t big, is of medium stature, rather skinny, in no way reminds of a titan capable of demonstrating his giant power in any event. It´s also understanding of current era´s hockey laws that reflects in his liking for a tough game.

    When we spoke about Firsov, it would also be needed to mention about the role, which his wife Nadja has played in his sports life. Just as a coach she knows, how a hockey player must responsibly follow a strict regime, and that´s why she´s been doing everything possible to help her husband.

    To talk with Anatoli about necessity of maintaining a demanding regime would be quite useless. His love for hockey excludes any chance of deviating from a developed schedule of preparation and of games. I know that in the days we don´t train, Tolia is getting ready in a way, how he himself feels he needs. He has a barbell at home and it´s needed to add that he takes no day off even with the barbells.

    Those, who had assumed that merely his personality is his only interest, would have been deeply mistaken. Not at all! Multiple-year active komsomolsk participant in Sbornaja has become the best mentor to his younger colleagues. He watches them not only in trainings or in game, but helps them, teaches them. He even brings them on holidays with himself.

    The captain of Sbornaja, Anatoli Firsov, could have become in Ljublana
    [at ´66 WHC], and I have no doubts about that, the best forward of the tournament. But he primarily considered his two young linemates and did everything he could to make their National Team debut successful. (Note: it was Vikulov and Polupanov who first started in ´66 Ljublana)

    I am convinced that his human kindness, his enormous interest and great love to the game allows him soundly and for long to serve to Soviet hockey, to pass on his invaluable experiences to young athletes. And therefore it´s no accident, that the youth groups up particularly around Anatoli Firsov on every training.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  15. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Thanks @DN28 for these great contributions. I only have a few additions here.

    Indeed. I'm surprised to learn this, but then, it should be noted that as of 1966-1967, the change wasn't institutionalized in the Soviet Union either:

    Why the change in the application of the rules? The following quote shines a light on the sentiment in influential circles:

    Some other notes:

    Epshteyn was not the only coach who was rather vocal about the situation. Here is how Anatoly Kostryukov (long-time head coach of Lokomotiv Moscow) describes the imbalance in the Soviet league:

    "Our players were stolen! Every season they took our best. And there was nothing we could do. CSKA, Dinamo and Spartak were untouchable. The first had the army behind them, the second the law enforcement and the third the city administration of Moscow."

    The complaints of Epshteyn, Kostryukov and others did find some echo within the Soviet Sports Committee (the governing body of sports in the USSR) and even more so within its Hockey Section, but the actual power of those bodies was limited. They issued toothless resolutions and petitioned the Soviet Army to stop drafting athletes from hockey clubs, but were ignored. On top of it, in the face of the success Chernyshov and Tarasov had with the Soviet national team from 1963 on, the Sports Committee became rather contemplate with the status quo:

    Paul Harder, Carleton University:
    "...they were held directly responsible for the Soviet Union's international victories by the nation's leadership, and were therefore reluctant to interfere in what had proven to be a formula for success."​

    Source: Paul Harder, "Developing World Championship Ice Hockey In The USSR" (2004), p.111 (PDF)​

    Thus Kostryukov's complaint:

    "The Sports Committee didn't react. All they had for us was that mockery of a wording: 'It's in the interest of Soviet hockey.'"

    Source of the two Kostryukov quotes above: A 2015 interview with "Sports Express" (link)​

    Kostryukov didn't take it lightly. When Boris Mikhailov opted to leave Lokomotiv Moscow and join CSKA Moscow in 1967, Kostryukov refused to talk with him for two years. And back in 1962 when Lokomotiv player Yevgeny Mishakov was drafted into the Army and ended up playing for CSKA, Kostryukov had already confronted the head coach of the army team himself:

    "A little later I asked Anatoly Tarasov: 'How could this have happened?' And he looked me straight in the eyes and answered me, as if nothing had happened: 'Anatoly, I didn't know anything of it!' He was a great artist, he lied without any reluctance."

    Source: Fyodor Razzakov, Анатолий Тарасов (2014)​

    It's from Совершеннолетие ("Coming of age" or "Maturity"), originally published in 1966. I've been quoting the second edition (1968) extensively throughout this thread.
     
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  16. DN28

    DN28 Registered User

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    True, the contributions don´t actually state that body-checking all over the ice, including offensive zone, was officially instituted and sanctified from Soviet hockey authorities already in 1967 or so. However, the Soviets were definitely "ahead" in this department.

    One more minor evidence to this topic, that I have, comes out of Vladimír Kostka's (CSSR national team coach) comments just prior to start of the 1970 World Championship. Naturally, the focal point of most of the writers´ questions were centered around the subject of new rules and abilities of teams and referees to adjust to them.

    Mid-March 1970, Československý sport, Vladimír Kostka said:

    "They [Soviets] had already practiced tough conception of the game in training and in the League in the USSR even sooner, than when the rules were adjusted according to wishes of the Canadians. They were expecting the match-up with professionals. Opinions of the Soviet hockey management have changed lately, mainly due to bad experiences from trips to Canada, because too much tough, even reckless, game negates the speed, stupefies the technique of such brilliant players like Firsov and others. But at the same time, USSR team is able to produce physically demanding hockey by the new rules. The team is traditionally well-prepared mentally too."
    ___________

    Thank you for the Kostryukov additions. The parity in the Soviet league, or lack thereof, is interesting topic. I wonder if it actually hurt the Soviet hockey more than it helped. It must have demotivated so many people like coaches, managers, from non-big-three clubs (CSKA, Spartak, Dinamo) to work harder on developing talents through this monopolizing of all the domestic hockey 'eliteness'. Why bother of achieving something bigger when there´s absolutely no chance the top home-grown talent is going to stay with the team?

    Czechoslovak hockey structure - the interplay between army clubs (mainly Dukla Jihlava) and civic clubs (most of others) - had a way of preventing this by allowing Dukla to draft mostly only young players in late teens or early 20s, and to keep them for limited period of time (usually just 1 season). The army provided Dukla with more resources compared to civic clubs, so players trained harder and longer. These elite young talents were then expected to come back to their original teams as significantly more stronger and developed all-round hockey players. I believe such order was to everyone´s benefit as the League overall quality wasn´t suffering from this.

    Has Tarasov or any other defender of the Soviet system rationalized it in any different way than that it´s just good to sacrifice the League parity in favour of international success of the USSR team?
     
  17. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Vladimir Petrov (C, *1947)

    Early Development:

    Petrov grew up playing soccer and bandy, then he became attracked to Canadian hockey – not least because of its physical character. In 1965 a try-out earned him a spot with Krylya Sovietov Moscow. No other than former star player Alexey Guryshev was the one who recognized his talent and got him signed. After a successful sophomore season with Krylya Sovietov in 1966-1967, Petrov was invited to join CSKA Moscow. Over the course of the 1967-1968 season he gained a regular spot, centering Veniamin Alexandrov and Boris Mikhailov. The cooperation between veteran Alexandrov and the two newcomers (Petrov from Krylya Sovietov, Mikhailov from Lokomotiv Moscow) was not without initial frictions:

    Boris Mikhailov (2008):
    "There were some problems. Petrov and I were eager to rush ahead. Alexandrov, who was used to something different from Loktev and Almetov, had to adapt to us."
    During the next season, Veniamin Alexandrov picked up an injury (November 1968). He was replaced by Valery Kharlamov. For general comments on the new trio Kharlamov – Petrov – Mikhailov, see post 311 above. The line quickly made an impact, was promoted to the Soviet national team and rose to stardom at the 1969 World Championship in Sweden. Petrov, however, was initially the least heralded of the three players. In the following season, 1969-1970, he topped the Soviet league in scoring with 51 goals, but his individual recognition remained underwhelming. Anatoly Firsov's account of Petrov's 1969-1970 season indicates that he had not only improved his scoring output, but also his defensive play:

    Anatoly Firsov (1973):
    "...he managed to backcheck and to be at the forefront of the attack and he scored, scored and scored."
    Still, the general perception was that it was Valery Kharlamov who carried the line offensively. Anatoly Tarasov's take was apparently not an outlier:

    Anatoly Tarasov (1971):
    "How do we coaches estimate a player? Who do we consider an ace hockey-player? Our answer is defined by a sum of components: the scope of a player's actions, his passion, technical skill, tactical sophistication, game discipline, his ability to create, improvise and help his partners. Only in Canadian professional hockey the one who scored the goal is considered the favourite. We have different measures and it's no coincidence that in 1969-70 we ranked Boris Mikhailov and Valery Kharlamov above their center forward in their level of mastery, although Vladimir [Petrov] was the most productive scorer in the country."
    At the 1970 World Championship, Kharlamov/Petrov/Mikhailov were underwhelming and drew the ire of the coaches. Kharlamov himself thought the expectations on the trio were too high and there was too much pressure on them to deliver.

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1970):
    "Before leaving for Stockholm there were high hopes for this trio. You bet! This line had scored more than 100 goals in domestic games. But on the ice in Stockholm Petrov and his linemates where unimpressive, especially in the first round. It says everything that they couldn't even get a standard combination done that had been practiced to automatism. (...) After they didn't have success in the first few games Petrov and his comrades perhaps tried a little too hard. Their game didn't become sharp."
    Valery Kharlamov (1970):
    "The three of us were accused of being selfish, of not passing enough. We all understood. We tried. Our sweat was pouring down in streams, both in game and in training. Laziness is probably the only thing we were not accused of."
    Vladimir Petrov was particularly singled out for criticism:

    Vyacheslav Starshinov (1970):
    "Apparently Petrov began the WHC tired from our strenous domestic competition. Therefore, Boris Mikhailov and Valery Kharlamov also didn't really get going. I know myself how akward it is in the face of your comrades when everybody expects goals and beautiful combinations from you and you try your best but nothing works out. That was about the situation Petrov was in."
    Valery Kharlamov (1970):
    "The coaches started to scold us. We were accused of all mortal sins. Petrov was even benched."
    At the end of the season, Petrov received only two 3rd-place-votes in the "Best Player of the Season" poll and thus, the top goal getter of the Soviet league was ranked only 8th. Among Soviet forwards, the following received more votes than him: Maltsev, Starshinov, Vikulov, Kharlamov and Firsov.

    Kharlamov/Petrov/Mikhailov continued to play together successfully for another season, but with Petrov and also Mikhailov generally considered inferior to their LW.

    In the 1971 preseason, the trio was broken up by Anatoly Tarasov. As Kharlamov was moved to another line, try-out player Alexey Mishin (24) took his place beside Petrov and Mikhailov. The hockey handbook (1977) characterizes Mishin as an "aggressive" forechecker with technical skills and an "understanding of the game", but Tarasov wasn't impressed with his hockey sense. Verdict: Due to his "weak orientation", Mishin wasn't a fit. Next young Sergey Glazov (19) was given a chance, but he didn't stand the test either. Therefore, Petrov and Mikhailov started into the 1971-1972 season with Sergey Kotov (21) on their left wing. This experiment didn't last either: By mid-October 1971, he was replaced by Yury Blinov and the new troika Blinov – Petrov – Mikhailov was established as the second line at CSKA. It was these two linemates Petrov played with at the 1972 Olympics, 1972 World Championship and in the 1972 Summit Series.

    Petrov was 25 at the time of the Summit Series. Until that point his record had been that of a solid but not exactly awe-inspiring contributor to the Soviet national team. The encounter with Team Canada made Petrov change his game as he admitted in a famous quote. (Note: I can't find the source and date of that quote.)

    Vladimir Petrov:
    "By Soviet standards I'd always been considered an offensive centerman. Phil Esposito and Bobby Clarke forced me to play a more defensive style. The experience made me a better all around player."

    Domestic and international recognition of Petrov reflect this change. Up until 1972 he had only received fringe votes (if any) in the "Best Player of the Year" poll, but in 1972-1973 he finished 2nd, just barely beaten by Valery Kharlamov (who had been reunited with Petrov and Mikhailov in December 1972). He also made the Soviet all-star team for the first time and the World Championship all-star team for the first time. From now on Petrov was considered one of the best players outside of the NHL.

    Some of the general comments on his game that follow, in particular the ones on his defensive game, should be viewed as referring to 1972-1981, not so much to pre-1972 Petrov.​

    Game:

    Hockey handbook (1977):
    "One of the best center forwards in the history of Soviet hockey. He can do everything on the ice: he knows both how to attack and defend, plays brilliantly in the 'slot' in front of the opponent's goal, has a masterful shot from every distance, is not inferior to the defencemen in physical play and he generously supplies his linemates with assists."
    Joe Pelletier:
    "Petrov wasn't a good skater. He didn't have that fluid skating style that many of his teammates had. His strength was his excellent stickhandling and hard shot. He also wasn't afraid to use his 6'1" and 205 Ibs body in the corners. Petrov was also strong on faceoffs and a dangerous and aggressive forechecker."

    Wayne Coffey, "The Boys of Winter" (2005):
    "Petrov was perhaps the strongest player on the Soviet national team, with blacksmith arms and a bulging neck, a 200 pound slab of muscle who was possessed of the rarest of Russian weapons: a nasty slapshot."

    Vladimir Polupanov:
    "His shot is the stroke of a lightning!"
    Note: Vladimir Polupanov was the goaltender of Dinamo Moscow in the 1970s. Quoted after Olga Burbentsova (2010).​

    Vladislav Tretyak (1979):
    "His style: pressure and tenacity. He has the ability to make quick decisions in the most difficult situations and the accuracy of a sniper. He's athletic and strong on his skates. Actually I've never seen anyone manage to dump him to the ice."
    Anatoly Firsov (1973):
    "I would like to emphasize one strength of Petrov which, for whatever reason, is not spoken and written about so much. I mean his excellent defensive game. When Vladimir fights for the puck, he fights until the end. He doesn't give the opponent a second of rest or the opportunity to look around and to get a sense of the game situation. He's good at fighting for the puck and constantly threatening the goal."

    Character:

    Anatoly Firsov (1973):
    "How can the work ethic of Valery Kharlamov coexists with the attitude of Vladimir Petrov who is on his guard for any additional workload and who is always opposed to it?" (...) On one hand there's Boris Mikhailov who is very humble and avoids bright light and noisy surroundings. On the other hand there's Vladimir Petrov who strives to be in the center of the general attention."
    Boris Mikhailov (2008):
    "Vladimir with his stubborn character was not going to remain silent. More than once did he argue with Tarasov that the training was too demanding (...) Of course, he played and was one of the best, but on any occasion when something didn't suit him he would debate with Tarasov. And he even forced him to train more. Of course, Tarasov, who couldn't stand bickering and wanted his instructions to be followed stricly, was unhappy about it. But he certainly wasn't going to get rid of Petrov. He couldn't do harm the club and to himself."
    Boris Mikhailov (2018):
    "Vladimir Petrov, a notorious squabbler, often started arguments with Tarasov during training sessions or during game reviews and thus created additional work for the coach. Tarasov admitted: 'I put up with Petrov because his performance in the game is always good.'"
    Viktor Tikhonov:
    "Vladimir told me: 'I know best how much I need to train.' Or: 'I don't need to follow the sporting regime, it won't affect me.' His main argument was: 'I have my own views on hockey, on training.' In one word, Petrov was behaving like a separate unit within the collective. It was not easy to work with him."
    Note: Quoted after Fyodor Razzakov ("Легенды отечественного хоккея"), 2014.​

    Valery Kharlamov (1977):
    "Vladimir Petrov never recognizes his own mistakes. He can't give in to anyone and in anything. (...) Persistence and stubborness are two qualities close to each other. Persistence has helped Vladimir to become a world-class player. Stubborness prevents him from achieving even more. Here is an illustration: In a game against Dinamo Moscow, Petrov made a strong shot from the blue line (he was at the board and shot from an angle) and scored a goal on [Dinamo goaltender] Vladimir Polupanov. In the next game, he kept shooting the puck from the very same spot several times. We tried to convince him that this wasn't reasonable, but it was in vain, he kept doing it. And even when there was a 5 against 3 situation and we had an excellent opportunity to move the puck close to the goal, Petrov shot from the blue line and the Dinamo defencemen were able to pick up the puck and clear it out of their zone."
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
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  18. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Petrov post updated with quotes on his game and his character.
     

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