Soviets Even Surprised Father Bauer
If there was any Canadian familiar with the rise of the Soviet hockey program over the decade prior to the epic meeting in 1972, it was Father David Bauer. But even Bauer, one of the few Canadians who respected the Soviet game at the time, gave the Russians no chance to win.
Below is an article from the Toronto Sun newspaper written by Father Bauer himself. We post it here to illustrate just how confident Canadians were prior to game one. Almost everyone predicted an easy 8-0 sweep, including Bauer.
to expect TOTAL victory
expect total victory from the National Hockey League All Stars in their
series against the Soviet Union.
are several reasons for my expectations. I believe the biggest blow the
Soviet National Team received was the dismissal of its two coaches,
Anatoli Tarasov and Arkadij Chernishev.
decision to drop them may have been prompted by the belief of Soviet
hockey authorities, that it was time to get away from the mechanical
system of play advocated by Tarasov and Chernishev.
in the long run, this move will pay off. But as far as the immediate
future is concerned, particularly the series against top NHL players,
the Soviet authorities might regret their decision.
Soviets have many young, upcoming hockey players with considerable
talent. But, so do we.
my views, experience, shooting and goaltending favors our team and
that's why I cannot see how we could have any problems.
my opinion the Soviets will try to keep the score respectable on the
strength of their superb conditioning, tenacious checking and
dedication. Still, all this could fall apart if the Canadian team were
to score a couple of quick goals at the start of the games.
also could happen, that we might find the Russians over-conditioned and
- regardless what anybody else says - our players are bound to be
somewhat under-conditioned. This will be no fault of the coach or the
timing was off
obvious the timing for the series is not the best. But it was the only
time it could be arranged. I don't think the series would have
materialized had it not been for the efforts of Hockey Canada and, particularly,
the efforts of its president, Charles Hay.
Canada could not foresee developments such as the emergence of the World
Hockey Association. In light of recent developments and the loss of some
players, I don't think we should use the title, Team Canada. That name
should be reserved for the day when we can use our best players. What we
have now is really an all-star team of Canadians chosen from the NHL.
many Canadians I can't say that I am happy with the restrictions placed
on the selection of players for our team, and I expressed this fact in
the discussion and vote of the meeting of Hockey Canada directors August
since the players chosen are in fact Canadians, I do not see any
objection to the name Canada being on their sweaters, rather than INHL
All-Stars or some other such name.
for the Russians, I think they've realized they've reached a certain
plateau and they could improve only by playing our professionals. With
more than 3,000,000 youngsters playing hockey in the Soviet Union,
Russian hockey officials believed they'd have to provide them with a
higher standard of play to shoot for.
the Russians will not be under pressure in the series, there have been
suggestions the Canadian players may have trouble to respond to the
pressure. I think they’ll respond to it the same way they've been
responding to Stanley Cup pressure.
they'll have to do, however, is to dedicate themselves to this eight-game
series from start to finish. By that I mean from training camp right on
until after the last game. If they do that, I cannot see how they could
saying this, because I've been associated with Canada's National Team
from 1963 to 1969. We didn't have the calibre of players, who'll
represent Canada this time around, yet we were not far behind the
our first year, in 1964, with a team practically composed of junior
hockey players, the Russians beat us only 3-2 in the Olympics at
following year, when we re-organized, the team and tried to combine
veterans and student players flown in for the championships, we were
beaten 4-1, but we didn't disgrace ourselves.
1966 in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, we were given the short end of the stick
by officials in the game against Czechoslovakia, and our players wanted
to withdraw prior to the game against Russia. They stayed on after being
up talking all night and lost easily to the Soviets.
in 1967 we beat them in Winnipeg in the Centennial tournament and we won
it. In the world championship in Vienna that year we lost 1-1 or, an
off-side and even scored on ourselves.
was a little more difficult in the 1968 Olympics at Grenoble. We were
forced to compete without our pros and we lost to the Russians 5-0 in
what, I thought, was the best performance by any Russian team.
our last year of operation, 1969, we had to ice an inexperienced team
and we were badly beaten by the Russians in the first round, but
regained some of our respectability in the second round.
the years I've been very proud of the boys who played for the Nats. If
we could have added some of the superstars who'll take part in this
series, the Nats also would have beaten the Russians.
you. three of them - Ken Dryden, Rod Seiling and Brian Glennie - did
play for the Nats at one time or other. On the other hand a number of
former Nats have found their way into the NHL.
them are: Billy MacMillan, Terry Clancy, Marshall Johnston, Gerry Pinder,
Danny O'Shea, Kevin O'Shea, Ab Demarco, Fran Huck, Rod Zane, Seth
Martin, Wayne Stephenson, George Swarbrick, Ken Broderick, Brian
Conacher, Denis Dupere, Bob Murdoch, Terry Caffery, Ken Stephenson, Gary
Dineen, Chuck Lefley and some others.
one player I'd have liked to have seen with the Nats and would like to
see against the Russians this year - Bobby Orr.
I'm sure if the Russians had Orr they would have a chance against Canada in the series.