Guess I ruined the ending, didn't I?
On Friday, I was on YouTube, had time to kill until my 4:30 English 102 class, stumbled onto Game 3 of the 1987 Canada Cup and immediately was hooked. Why? It’s not everyday you get to watch the greatest hockey game since the 72 Summit Series. It’s not every day that I get to here names of Russians I can’t pronounce and It’s not everyday you get to see, maybe the two greatest players in hockey history combining on a historic goal to defeat those damn Soviets, (sorry for going a little pro-Canada on you, I’ll try and remain impartial from this point forward.) So in honor of the great Bill Simmons, and Gary Bettman; commissioner of maybe the dumbest, lockout ever. I’m going to try and fire up a retro diary of this spectacle. For the sake of purposes, the time of each event will correspond to my break in between my classes. Here’s what transpired:
1:30 PM: We are coming to you live from, uhh…..
(Quickly Googling “1987 Canada Cup.”)
Hamilton? Sure that works, and our broadcast duo is, uhh…
(Googling “broadcasters of the 1987 Canada Cup.”)
Dan Kelly and Ron Reusch? Dan Kelly and Ron Reusch???? Good god I’m fired up!!!! Aren’t those two great, Canadian broadcaster names. Now I’m ready. It’s on!!! (Quick tangent: Dan Kelly died 2 years after the 87 Canada Cup. Just that alone should grant him access into the NHL Hall of Fame. Just look at this resume:
- 16 Stanley Cup Finals broadcasted
- Under his belt are iconic moments such as: Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup winning goal in 1970, Gretzky to Lemieux in 87, and Bob Nystrom’s 1980 Stanley Cup winning goal against the Flyers.
- Primary hockey broadcaster of the 88 Winter Olympics. (An event we’re still trying to have amnesia over.)
- His Son, John Kelly, is the play by play broadcaster for the St. Louis Blues
I mean, now that’s a resume. Anyways….
1:39 Puck Drop:
Grant Fuhr and a Russian I can’t name are your goalies for Tonight’s rumble. Igor Larionov and Mark Messier are gonna take the faceoff. It’s Canada USSR!!!! Feel the excitement!!!
1:40: I know, I’m shocked as you are, but we have a goal sighting and it’s Sergei Makarov on a one timer from Vladimir Krutov. I know I’m not the encyclopedia of hockey, but man, could you have imagined the NHL if guys like Larionov, Krutov and Makarov would’ve been allowed to play in North America during their prime years? I’d ranked this up with what if’s such as:
- What if Arvydas Sabonis came into the NBA during the late 1980’s instead of the limited, explosive version we saw during 1995-2003?
- What if Gary Bettman wasn’t put on as NHL commissioner as a savvy ploy from David Stern to rid of one of his competitors?
- What would have happened to the porn industry if the internet never existed?
1:41: It must be said, but whoever made these helmets needs to be in the Hall of Fame. It’ couldn’t have been easy to make these legends look like a word that names with bassbowl.
1:42: it’s been three minutes, YouTube time of course, considering the T.V. feed I got on this video has no score overlay, but these last three minutes beats out anything that happened during the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. It must be said.
1:44: Best moment of the game so far, Dan and Ron trying to name the Sutter brothers playing in the NHL. Antonio Chramartie should thank these guys anytime he forgets one of his twenty kids on T.V.
1:45: A random guy in the crowd is wearing a baseball cap with HANDS ON IT, and the hands are CLAPPING plus it’s HOLDING A MINIATURE CANADIAN FLAG!!!! Are you fucking kidding me? I need to have that hat and it needs to be sold in hat retailers everywhere. That was fucking unbelievable!! I take it back; best moment of the game so far was this guy!!
1:47: I forgot to mention this, but the coach of the 87 Canada Roster; Mike Keenan! And the people of Calgary just left their monitors and puked a little inside
1:48: Alexei Gusarov has scored for the USSR!! I’m telling you, these guys can play!
1:50: Another goal for the Soviets! FETISOV!!!!!!!! As a Canadian, if I were watching this game live, I would be freaking the fuck out right now. The Soviets are making this Canadian defense look worse than Chyna circa 1997.
1:51: Canada is going on a powerplay as Igor Kravchuk cross checks Gretzky even though he didn’t even check him, he took two slight whacks and Gretzky flops on the play. On a related note, your officials tonight are Bennett Salvatore, Joey Crawford, and Tim Donaghy. Too soon?
1:53: Rick Tocchet Scores! And the gamblers of New Jersey rejoice!!!!!
1:56: I know that this is going against every fiber of my Canadian instincts, but these refs have allowed Canada to morph into a more talented version of the early nineties NY Knicks.
1:57: Big hit by Messier. Wait, why am I writing as if the game is live?
2:02: Add this to the growing list of things that make’s Gary Bettman’s tenure as commissioner pretty shitty: the trapezoid. I mean, what use this gimmick has, I’ll never know.
2:04: Another goal for Canada!!! Fucking right. Down with the Soviets!!!!! That Tocchet guy has been the best player on the ice for Canada.
2:08: Boy, those Canadian Jerseys scream patriotism, don’t they? Ohh Ya, I forgot. Down with the Soviets!!!!
2:12: the Soviets do it again!! I’d give you the name of the goal scorer, but I can’t spell it for the life of me. Just know that it ended with a kov. Ohh here it is, Andrei Khomutov. Sounds like Russian cold medicine, but whatever. 4-2 USSR
2:14: The end of the first period. I’m also at 946 words. Somebody hand me some bourbon.
2:14: And here we go.
2:17: Big save by Fuhr on Semak, twice. The Robert Horry of goalies does it again!
2:19: I’m going to be honest, I thought I’d be playing video games by this point and quit this charade, but this game has got me hooked. The skating, the talent, the bad helmets, and a skittish crowd have made this diary much more enjoyable.
2:20: Mike Gartner gets away with a slight knee on knee collision on Makarov. Wait, why am I ripping a Canadian?
2:21: So we can get a close up of Paul Coffey tying up his skates with tape yet we can’t get a score overlay? Boy, rough year for 87. Wall Street Crashed, The Larry Bird Era begins to fade, and Bow Wow and Hilary duff were born.
2:23: Gusarov knees Hawerchuk at centre ice. I’d be more pissed at the officiating but I’m supposed to remain impartial through out this diary. Ohh, who am I kidding. “That was a fucking knee on knee!!! Get it together refs!”
2:25: Even Mike Keenan’s mustache looks pissed. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing for Canada’s chances to come back.
2:28: I haven’t mentioned this, but Canada’s top powerplay consists of: Gretzky, Lemieux, Rich Tocchet or Mark Messier, Paul Coffey or Larry Murphy and Ray Bourque. Uhh, that’ll work.
2:30: Rich Tocchet, slot man? Nah, that’s too easy
2:31: The crowd in Copps Coliseum just executed the wave. A little bit of me just died.
2:31: Gretzky to Murphy!!!! Goal!!
2:33: One thing that’s been unflappable has been Viktor Tikhonov’s lid. My god is it clutch or what.
2:34: Brent Sutter!!! Another Goal! Down with the Soviets!!!
2:36: Another big Save by Fuhr. Best performance by a goalie who’s allowed 4 goals in a game ever!!!
2:38: I’ve always wondered what players do while in the penalty box. Do they make conversation with the time keepers, blankly stare onto the ice, or do they hit stuff with their sticks/skates. Ohh shit, I’m talking to myself, and this won’t end well, I can promise you that.
2:40: Some Russian took a swan dive and Hamilton is giving him the Business. I Love you Hamilton, let’s not fight again. Ohh Ya sorry, we’re still in 1987, so it’s Soviet, not Russian. My bad!
2:41: Big save on the two on one by the Soviet goalie. If you keep making saves like that one on a Gretzky-Lemieux break, I might even remember your name.
2:43: Dale Hawerchuk on a beautiful sequence scores on a wraparound after launching a typical 1980s shot (slap shot from the top of the circle). 5-4 Canada
2:44: Mike Keenan still looks pissed. Just a gut feeling, but I’m going to suspect he’ll wear out his welcome wherever he coaches, but what do I know, I’m banging out retro-diaries for fuck sakes.
2:46: Ray Bourque goes off on another penalty, He seems a bit edgy. May I prescribe some peppermint tea? No?
2:49: There’s a Canadian Tire ad for a thing called “Motormaster.” I don’t know what that is, but it’s intriguing.
2:50: Another penalty on Ray Bourque, This just isn’t his day.
2:50: Also, another shot of Viktor Tikhonov’s hair. It’s getting better by the minute!
2:52: The announcers just proclaimed Brian Propp as a player who’s improved during the tournament. On a related note, he look’s eerily like a cross between Joe Buck and Dan Patrick.
2:54: The End of the second period, or as I like to call, the moment I officially became an alcoholic. More bourbon please!!
2:54: ta thurd priod begems!!
2:56: CROWD SHOT!! So many fu stashes and mullets on hand. Since when did I die and go into county heaven??
2:58: What a save by Mylnikov as he stones Paul Coffey after a great pass from Gretzky. See, I told you I’d remember his name. I’m a man of integrity.
3:00: Apparently, according to The Canada Cup Profile (sponsored by Labatt), Valeri Kamensky was Player of the Game for Rendez-Vous 1987. What’s Rendez-Vous exactly anyways, is it for beer mongrels like me who couldn’t get laid unless if we pay for hookers. Is it discrete meeting calls for extra curricular activities? Sign me up!
3:03: There’s so much hooking going on in this game. Not exactly backing up my claim of this game being the best since Game 8 of the 72 Summit Series.
3:06: This period’s been pretty uneventful so far. However there’s an ad for Air Canada Sports. What the hell was Air Canada Sports? Was that even a thing? I’m onto you Hamilton, you can’t fool me.
3:08: Soooo many offsides!!!!
3:10: if there was a power ranking for best mustaches on each roster, Mike Keenan, and Michelle Goulet would be sp far ahead of the pack, it wouldn’t be funny. Actually, it kind of is.
3:11: Semak, on a one timer, kind of scores five hole on Fuhr. All I’m saying is there’s been some weak goals tonight.
3:14: There’s been so much diving in the game so far. So much for me defending these Soviets.
3:15: I can see why Gretzky developed the chronic back injuries, every time he has the puck, it’s like he has camel humps on his back. I don’t think this would’ve ended well in Today’s NHL.
3:16: Big save by Mylnikov as Hawerchuk dekes two soviets, and launches a wrist shot on target. He’s been remarkable tonight, (save for all the goals.)
3:17: We finally have a “brief” score overlay on the screen. It’s like the production crew in Hamilton have been reading this diary.
3:18: We have entered into “not calling a penalty unless somebody gets clubbed by a 2x4” mode. It’s getting intense. (Not really.)
3:20: Tikhonov calls a timeout and gives some advice to a couple of Soviets on the bench. It probably went a little like this:
Tikhonov: Don’t fuck up or you’ll die, but I’m going to wrap my arm around your shoulders as if I’ m giving good advice. In other words, I’m doing the Kobe.
Guys on the bench: Fine.
(I don’t care if I’ve beaten this joke mercifully, I’ll continue on until its dead, re-animate its corpse, and beat it to death again. Deal with it!)
3:22: Gretzky to Lemieux…. There it is. In the back of the net, and there’s toilet paper flying in the Copps Coliseum. Really, toilet paper is the best you can do Hamilton? What is this? An old school ECW crowd?
More importantly though, THE HANDCLAPPING HAT IS BACK. Ohh have I missed you handclapping hat, look how happy it is. Don’t ever leave me, you here? You’re the reason I’m still who I am!
3:22: Toilet paper aside Hamilton, you’ve made Canada proud. That’s all we can ever ask you to do.
3:23: oddly enough, the Soviets don’t pull their goalie. Seems kind of like the right thing to do, isn’t it?
3:28: And there it is. The Canada Cup commences with Copps Coliseum going into frenzy like levels of excitement and my god they should. Gretzky wins the MVP of the tournament with 3 goals and 18 assists and Mario Lemieux finally became one of us with his iconic goal. (I’m Canadian so… Ya)
All snark and sarcasm aside (and boy there has been plenty), I actually thoroughly enjoyed doing this diary and would like to thank the Soviet Union and Canada for giving us an imperfect, yet dramatic conclusion to the Canada Cup. They made my time travelling a lot more easier.