Super Series '76:
Special Thanks to Stu McMurray
Super Series '76
Sun. Jan. 11/76
Shero claims Flyers are World
The game was being billed as the unofficial championship of the hockey world. For the first time the official world champions would challenge the unofficial world champions - the NHL champion.
The Flyers dominated the opening period, and were very disciplined. But late in the period defenseman Ed Van Impe tried to decapitate Soviet superstar Valeri Kharlamov with a vicious elbow. The Soviets protested what they felt was a deliberate attempt to injure, and actually left the ice for a period of time. They would return, but never re-emerged as the Red Army team we grew to hate and secretly love. The Flyers dominated the game - outshooting the Soviets 49-13 and outscoring them 4-1. They were full value for the win, and other than the one Van Impe incident, they represented the NHL with class - something the Broad Street Bullies weren't necessarily known for!
Fred Shero, the famed Flyers coach and an arch student of the Soviet game, claimed the victory made the Philadelphia Flyers the undisputed champions of hockey.
"We are the world champions," proclaimed Shero, the Flyers' coach. "If they had won they would have been the champs. I said back in June that winning the Stanley Cup didn't make us the world champions until we met and beat the Russians. We beat them head to head. If we had lost they would have been champs," added Shero.
Soviet coach Konstantin Loktev was naturally quick to dismiss Shero's claim, and reminded the media about the 5-2-1 series dominance by his nation.
The NHL president Clarence Campbell also tried to save face by claiming the only games that were really worth counting were the ones involving the NHL's three top teams - Philadelphia, Montreal and Buffalo. In those crucial games, the NHL came out ahead 2-0-1.