Archive for OG Dominant Defense

Pospisil Allowed To Play On

FRANTISEK POSPISIL, defenseman and captain of the Czechoslovakia national team, representing the title-winning host nation at the medal ceremonies for the 1972 IIHF World Championships in Prague.

FRANTISEK POSPISIL, defenseman and captain of the Czechoslovakia national team, representing the title-winning host nation at the medal ceremonies for the 1972 IIHF World Championships in Prague.

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One of the most curious episodes in the history of ice hockey at the Winter Olympics coincided with the 1976 Innsbruck Games in Austria.

Following the third leg of the final round-robin the 31-year-old Czechoslovak captain, FRANTISEK POSPISIL, was among the players chosen at random to provide a sample to International Olympic Committee officials for anti-doping tests.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, expected to challenge the Soviet Union for supremacy in the Tyrolean Alps, had just defeated their Warsaw Pact allies and northern neighbors POLAND 7-1 to remain unbeaten and untied. Pospisil, appearing at his third Winter Olympic Games, scored no goals in the match but did provide one assist.

The team physician of the Czechoslovak ice hockey squad, DR. OTTO TREFNY, immediately admitted that Pospisil had been given codeine to combat a viral infection. An outbreak of influenza had descended upon the Olympic village in Innsbruck and several of the Czechoslovak puck men had been affected. Later, it was disclosed that morphine, in addition to codeine, had been found in Pospisil’s sample, as well.

The International Ice Hockey Federation had formulated an anti-doping policy in the summer of 1969 and a drug-testing policy was initially implemented at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan. Two years later, at the 1974 World Championships in Helsinki, the IIHF had its first doping cases to contend with. Both center ULF NILSSON of Sweden and goalie STIG WETZELL of Finland had tested positive for the banned substance of ephedrine over the course of the tournament.

At Helsinki, the IIHF penalties were severe as both players upon failure were immediately expelled from competition and suspended from international play for eighteen months. The matches affected by the positive drug test results — Sweden’s 4-1 victory over Poland and host nation Finland’s 5-2 upset of Czechoslovakia — were overturned. In each instance, a 5-0 defeat for the offending player’s team went into the record books.

At the 1976 Winter Olympic Games, however, Pospisil’s failed drug test was, indeed, handled differently by the IIHF and IOC officials in Innsbruck.

The player Pospisil was allowed to continue to compete in the ice hockey tournament. The team doctor Trefny was, initially, banned from the Olympics for life. Czechoslovakia was stripped of its 7-1 win over Poland and instead assigned a 1-0 defeat; the Poles, significantly, were not given the corresponding victory in the standings at Innsbruck.

“The flu epidemic cannot be used as an excuse for breaking the rules,” announced PRINCE ALEXANDRE DE MERODE, the president of the IOC’s medical committee.

“Instead of punishing people who have taken medicine against the flu, the commission should have taken steps to stop the flu,” responded the coach of the Czechoslovakia ice hockey team, KAREL GUT.

Apparently unaffected by the Pospisil affair, the Czechoslovaks defeated their neighbors from West Germany 7-4 in the fourth round to set a winner-take-all showdown with their Eastern-bloc arch-rival, the Soviet Union.

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Sologubov Stopped By

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV

An artist's rendition of USSR defenseman NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV

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Trailing by a goal with but twenty minutes to play in their final match against Czechoslovakia at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, coach JACK RILEY’s United States squad greeted an intriguing guest between periods at Squaw Valley.

The captain of the USSR national team, NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, arrived and, unable to speak English, began to employ hand signals in an effort to provide aid to the Americans. The 35-year-old CSKA Moscow man was suggesting that the U.S. skaters, in the altitude of the northeastern California mountains, should take oxygen. Although at first unable to understand, the Americans ultimately were able to secure an oxygen tank and accept Sologubov’s advice.

The United States, suitably refreshed, stormed back with six unanswered third period goals to down the Czechoslovaks, who took no oxygen, 9-4.

Some say Sologubov appeared in the spirit of goodwill and sportsmanship that is part of the Olympic ideal.

Not to discredit the Soviet captain, but the theory is shaky at best. The USSR, standing on five points, were set to play a powerful Canada later in the day. Meanwhile, the Czechoslovaks, having four points, could have moved ahead of the Soviet Union with a victory over the United States.

Ultimately, both Eastern European rivals lost on the final day — this left the USSR with the set of bronze medals.

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If VYACHESLAV FETISOV was the Soviet answer to BOBBY ORR, then NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV, if not quite as rough, was certainly the USSR’s version of EDDIE SHORE.

The original offensive threat from the Soviet blueline, Sologubov (5 ga, 1 go 8 as, 9 pts) earned his third career selection for Best Defenseman by the International Ice Hockey Federation Directorate at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley for the bronze medalist from the Soviet Union.

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Calgary ’88 : Fetisov Slams The Door

fetisov10

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Leadership, as well as skill, were on full display from legendary VYACHESLAV FETISOV for all the world to see at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary with the long-anticipated Olympic rematch between the Soviet Union and the United States.

The Soviets stormed to a 6-2 lead after two periods, which prompted the powers-that-be in charge at ABC Sports to switch their prime-time coverage to other events. Television executives were soon left red-faced, however, when the USSR somehow allowed the USA to claw their way back into the contest. A goal from the University of Minnesota’s TODD OKERLUND (11) brought the scrappy Americans to within sight of a tie with just under eleven minutes to go in the game.

In 1980, Fetisov was a talented 21-year-old at Lake Placid. By 1988 at Calgary, however, the 29-year-old defenseman had long-since undertaken the USSR captaincy. With time dwindling and the Americans positioning themselves to pull their goaltender in favor of an extra skater, the Soviet leader takes matters into his own hands :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFrP2UJL1o&feature=related

Following a SERGEI MAKAROV (24) rush, Fetisov (2) senses the opporutnity and joins the play at the blue line to receive a pass from VLADIMIR KRUTOV (9). With a head of steam, the Soviet skipper stickhandles past two American defenders with seemingly effortless ease. On the backhand, Fetisov casually splits the pads of United States goaltender CHRIS TERRERI with precision to put the result beyond doubt for the USSR.

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Fetisov Was Unforgetable For USSR

Defenseman VYACHESLAV FETISOV finished his career the second leading scorer all-time for the powerhouse Soviet Union national team at the Winter Olympic Games. From his three Olympic appearances ('80, '84, '88), Fetisov earned two gold medals as well as one silver. In the summer of 1989, Fetisov was granted permission by Soviet authorities to skate for the New Jersey Devils in the National Hockey League.

Defenseman VYACHESLAV FETISOV finished his career the second leading scorer all-time for the powerhouse Soviet Union national team at the Winter Olympic Games. From his three Olympic appearances ('80, '84, '88), Fetisov earned two gold medals as well as one silver. In the summer of 1989, Fetisov was granted permission by Soviet authorities to skate for the New Jersey Devils in the National Hockey League.

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Czechoslovakia’s JAN SUCHY was the first defenseman to finish in the top five for scoring at a major international event when the Dukla Jihlava man scored eight goals and totaled 15 points at the 1970 IIHF World Championships in Stockholm.

There is only one defenseman in history with a top-five scoring total at the Winter Olympic Games — VYACHESLAV FETISOV — who actually accomplished the feat twice.

Fetisov, who was drafted by the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens in 1978, made his Olympic debut at the 1980 Lake Placid Games for the silver medal-winning contingent from the USSR. Five goals from the 21-year-old in upstate New York established a new all-time mark at the Winter Olympics for a Soviet rearguard. Nine points tied the USSR record set by the legendary NIKOLAI SOLOGUBOV in 1960.

Fetisov, who was re-drafted by the New Jersey Devils of the NHL in 1983, became the first defenseman to crack the top five in scoring at the Olympics with his efforts at the Sarajevo Games in 1984. Eight assists equaled that of Sologubov at Squaw Valley. Eleven points broke the all-time Olympic record set by the United States’ JOHN MAYASICH (7 go 3 as, 10 pts), also at the Squaw Valley Games in 1960, as Fetisov collected his first Olympic gold medal in Yugoslavia.

Fittingly, Fetisov’s finest Olympic exhibition coincided with his final appearance, at the Calgary Games in 1988. Nine assists and 13 points both established new standards of excellence for defensemen at the Winter Olympic Games. The 29-year-old CSKA Moscow blueliner also finished tied for second on the tournament scoring chart with teammate IGOR LARIONOV just behind another Soviet player, top scorer VLADIMIR KRUTOV.

Fetisov totaled 12 goals and 33 points from 22 games at the Olympics and finished second all-time in scoring for the USSR at the Winter Games.

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