The 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia will forever be remembered as one of the greatest events in hockey history. The Canadians stacked with the top NHL players were expected to roll over the unknown Russian squad. Instead, they needed a final game to decide the winner. Legends were made for sure, with one of the most memorable goals of all time being scored to win it for Canada.
You can read up on all of the history, players and storylines at Joe Pelletiers excellent website.
As a project, blogger Pat Maclean of Black Dog Hates Skunks is applying modern methods of hockey analysis to each game of the Summit Series. Not an easy task considering how old the footage is and the lack of instant replay. There’s not a lot of people out there to bounce ideas off of, no Youtube and not a whole lot of stats. He does an amazing job regardless and provides detailed analysis of players, events and the coaches decisions.
I’m also in the midst of reading Ken Dryden’s “Face off at the Summit”. Dryden played goal for Team Canada and kept a journal of his thoughts during the series. After losing game 1 against the Russians, Dryden (1973) writes:
I’m afraid that this series will be analyzed and analyzed ad nauseam. People in the street. Cab drivers. Bellboys. Waiters. Writers. Coaches. League presidents. Prime ministers. Everyone. They all have a theory. They all picture themselves as a coach or a player, and they become theoretical and hypothetical. It’s so much bull, believe me. They’re all sitting there and playing verbal games to make themselves sound important. We have to play the real games. We know what we have to do. Or do we? (p. 64)
Fan analysis has always been around. It’s just with more people online, and more tools readily available for fans to contribute, the analysis has increased significantly. The community online is stronger and the amount of information available continues to grow. Gotta wonder what Dryden thinks of today’s fans compared to those in 1972.
Dryden, K. (1973). Face-off at the summit. Toronto: Little Brown.