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Re: Rod Gilbert in the 1977 World Championships

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  • Mikael Uhlin
    ... Eagleson was never any popular in Europe. He was regarded as an insensitive loudmouth. Regarding Espo, the sad and - I suppose - unfair thing is that his
    Message 1 of 19 , Nov 7, 2006
      Lloyd Davis <ldavis@...> wrote:
      >True, Eagleson wasn't known for managing his emotions
      >in the best possible way. And Esposito set the tone,
      >for better and for worse. Espo's attitude going into
      >the series may not be representative of the others.
      >But in his book, he says he only went because he'd
      >been told it would benefit the NHL players' pension
      >fund. Of course, as with almost all other international
      >hockey that the Eagle was involved with, it was an
      >opportunity for Eagleson to steal from the players.

      Eagleson was never any popular in Europe. He was regarded as an
      insensitive loudmouth. Regarding Espo, the sad and - I suppose -
      unfair thing is that his cameo in Vienna in 1977 is what hockey
      people in Europe remember him for. He had been heard of for years but
      in those days few Europeans had the chance to watch NHL-games. It was
      VERY seldom shown on TV in some countries and as we've been
      discussing, NHLers hadn't been to the Worlds up til then.

      >There may not have been a conspiracy, but there
      >certainly was a clear difference of philosophy,
      >in terms of how to play and how to officiate. I
      >don't think it's fair to try to claim that one
      >was better than the other, or cleaner. It's just
      >a question of what players were used to -- whether
      >it was a spear to the gut (or somewhere lower),
      >or an invitation to drop the gloves.

      There are undoubtedly differences in the philosophy behind hockey in
      Europe and North America, and I guess this is due to the slightly
      different roots. In Europe, hockey has always been based on technical
      skills like in soccer and - especially - bandy. In fact, the first
      hockey players in Scandinavia and Russia (I'm not sure about the
      Czechs and Slovaks) were bandy players who learnt the new game in the
      years between the World Wars. Of course hockey has always been more
      physical in North America and I wonder if this is due to similarities
      with Football and Rugby?

      On a side-note; Canada in Vienna 1977 wasn't "dropping the gloves",
      they mainly used their sticks (which was the main reason of the
      European critizism). Most penalties were slashings and hookings with
      an occasional butt-ending and spearing.

      >At the administrative level, I have heard enough people
      >say that Canada was resented, that there must be something
      >to it. This isn't just sour grapes from coaches or players
      >who didn't get their own way. Gord Renwick, a classy
      >individual and a smart administrator, knew he could only
      >rise as high as the #2 job, that the presidency would
      >never be his.

      This is another problem which may have to do with the existence of
      the NHL. Despite its name, it's not a national association but a
      company which is stronger than any of the national associations
      around the world. I mean, it clearly puts the CAHA in the shadow,
      making the road open for Europe on the international level. On the
      other hand, the best players available are employed by the NHL,
      putting the international hockey association in the shadow as well.

      I would like to see a truly international hockey association along
      the lines of the soccer equivalent with good, regular competitions
      between the nations (and companies) involved, with global rules and
      rink sizes and so on. Why hasn't the Olympic rink become the
      standard? And why are there no longer any games between clubs in the
      NHL and clubs in Europe?
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