Kingston, Ontario's Wayne Cashman had earned a reputation as one of the top
corner-men in the game by 1972. He was also a big part of the 1970 and 1972
Boston Bruin Stanley Cup championships and had developed quite a chemistry with
superstar Phil Esposito, so it was no surprise that the belligerent banger was
named to the team.
However the man known universally as
"Cash" only got into 2 games, picking up
an assist in each. He sat out the shocking opening game in Montreal only to be
inserted in game 2 as the coaching staff wanted a more physical, forechecking
style of game. The move paid off as Canada won the game convincingly.
Cash returned for game 3 in Winnipeg, but his abrasive play got him kicked
out of the game. The Russians were very vocal about the way he would take
liberties on the Soviet players.
Cash sat out the embarrassing game 4 in
Vancouver. In that game Vancouver fans booed Team Canada off of the ice after a
sorry effort in a 5-3 Soviet win.
"After the game in Vancouver, a 5-3 loss, the guys realized this was
important," said Cashman.
Cashman returned to the ice in
a set of exhibition games in Sweden between game 4 and 5. The mini series is
known as a brutal and ugly display of hockey, as the Swedes described Team
Canada as gangsters, as the Canadian players were clearly in a foul mood and
looking to take out some of their frustrations. The tournament all but
officially ended for Cashman in Sweden unfortunately due to a freak accident. Legendary Ulf Sterner's stick
got lodged in Cashman's mouth, lacerating his tongue for approximately 50
stitches in one of the most painful injuries in hockey history.
Cashman never got into any of the games in Moscow, largely due to the severe
If anyone should have had great respect
for Phil Espoito before the series, it would have been Espo's very own left
winger Cashman. Even Cashman came away from that series with a higher sense of
respect for one of the greatest leaders and players in hockey history.
Cashman also singled out Vladislav
Tretiak, Paul Henderson, Bobby Clarke and Guy Lapointe has having impressed him
Even though Cashman didn't get to
participate in the deciding game, it ranks as one of his all time greatest
moments in his hockey career. "I've never seen so many tears shed in a
dressing room - tears of joy," he said.
Although somehow we're sure Cashman's
tongue injury will be the thing he remembers most about that September in 1972,
the final minute of play in game 8 will also rank up there.
Perhaps the biggest and the baddest of
the Big Bad Boston Bruins, Cashman played in 1,027 NHL games, all with the
Bruins, during his 17-year NHL career from 1964 through 1983. He recorded 793
points (277 goals, 516 assists) and 1,041 penalty minutes.
After hanging up his blades,
"Cash" turned to coaching. As a result he has spent most of his adult
life in the United States, which means he doesn't get asked often about the
gargantuan clash between the Soviets and Canada.
"Unfortunately, living in the
United States, that never happens," Cashman said. "The only time it
does is when I go up to Canada.
"To people in the U.S., the series
was not that big a deal. When you talk to people in the States about it, they
say 'Well, our high school played them last week and beat them.' They have no
idea what the series means to Canadians."