From the Soviet Union’s stunning 7-3 victory in Game 1 at the Montreal Forum on September 2, to Canada’s dramatic 6-5 victory in Game 8 to win the series on September 28 in Moscow, the hockey game series and hockey systems have pitted ideologies against each other in an influential historical tournament. For two teams over one month in 1972.
An attorney, educator, lecturer, author, and six-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, Dryden recently spoke with NHL.com about his book, his gameplay in the series, and his lasting impact on 50The tenth Anniversary.
Ken Dryden’s new book delves deeply into the historic summit streak, during which he went 2-2 in his four games played. Random penguin house. Melchior DiGiacomo, Getty Images Sport Classic
Do you think there is a philosophical tone to the “series” with the benefit of the 50 years since the eight games?
“I’m not sure I would understand this book as anything philosophical. More than anything, it is an attempt to position the reader in the moment as I have been rewriting it for myself. … I mean, people have their own reference points, if they are of a certain age.” , it might be the Canada Cup in 1987, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Or if they’re younger, it might be the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and Sidney CrosbyGoal (overtime gold medalist). All they have about 1972 are stories from their parents or grandparents, or things they may have read or heard. …the core of my book is immediate, immediate, intense, intimate, personal, and in real time.”
She played 47 games, including the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs, at the Montreal Forum before ice skating on September 2, 1972, for Game 1 of the Summit Series. You write that “tonight was different” and that the forum was “in a frenzy”. How different is Game 1 from the games you played with Team Canadiens?
“The forum was really very different from the other buildings (NHL). I started the book by saying that the series ‘sounded like a cry.’ In the forum the energy just rebounded so much that it got louder and louder and louder, and just when you thought it couldn’t get louder or louder. , it’s getting higher and higher. The forum is getting louder and more active in the playoff games, but when you feel louder and more energetic than that, you’re not quite sure what you mean and not quite sure what to do with it. That was part of the 1972 experience, the novelty of it all Even those things that are supposed to be familiar are completely unfamiliar, and almost nothing in that series feels familiar… Unpredictability was only a consequence of it. In this series, no kind of predictable path has been found. It. It was always finding a new solution, and you always had to find an answer to that. It was not just that the outcome was in doubt, but the next moment was in doubt.”
Summit Series contender Vladislav Tretiak (left) and Ken Dryden at the Bell Center in Montreal on Jan. 29, 2007, gathering on the night the 29th Montreal Canadiens retired.
Didn’t have time to deal with a 7-3 loss in Game 1, as she immediately moved to Toronto for Game 2, which Canada would win 4-1 two nights later with Tony Esposito in goal. You woke up in your hotel room in Toronto the morning after the first game without a Sunday newspaper, and without internet, radio or TV sports channels. Canada had a nervous breakdown, but to you, inside the team, did it feel like nothing had happened?
“You hope nothing happens. I mean, my desperate hope was that if there was no clue around you, maybe nothing would happen. … Teams and coaches are great at adapting. The moment the match is over, if you lose, about everything you’ve done. It was wrong, and nothing was right. You probably feel this way for an hour or two. And then before you sleep, you start to feel a few things about what’s next. When you wake up, you’ve already entered the beginning of the next game, rather than From the bowels of the last game…you move very quickly from despair to focus and new hope.”
In Phil Esposito’s emotional interview with CTV’s Johnny Esso in the moments following the 5-3 loss in Match 4 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, which put Canada 1-2-1 behind as the series turned to Moscow, he told the nation that Team Canada Players have taken great interest in this series. Did that have any kind of effect on you or your teammates?
“People kept saying, ‘That was the moment to rally support for you (the players),’ and I say, ‘No, it wasn’t.’ It wasn’t because of meeting an elephant. Perhaps without any intention, Phil was speaking to what was on the country’s mind, that they thought we were overweight, out of shape, and overpaid, and worst of all, that we didn’t care. We cared very much. We’ve been interested in this game our whole lives and here, at the moment, people are saying we have so much money that we don’t care. The look on Phil’s face, the sweat running down his face, his eyes drooping, the emotion in his voice, the audience seeing and hearing that passion, and the message they got was, “They really care.”
Ken Dryden dives to cover the puck disc during “Top Series” work in Moscow. Melchior DiGiacomo, Getty Images Sport Classic
You fly home from Vancouver and spend two days with your eyes covered because your contact lenses scratched them. Was there any sense to it Canada 1-2-1 relegated to Sweden first, then Russia?
“This was not the time for codes, which is why I wrote the book. Codes are things that are an overview from the future. … Don’t feel, you just get it. You have a game tomorrow; you have to find an answer. This is something completely instant.”
Does the need for immediate action interfere with a sense of the moment?
“Emotions get in the way of doing things when you start the game. … You are immersed in it, and that generates feelings, but it is the other things in between that frustrate you and make you focus in the wrong direction, in immersion in what really happened. It’s done. You know it. Just Keep it up. It’s great to feel self-compassionate and “poor” and all that, but who cares? There’s a game to play.”
Ken Dryden made a save during a Montreal Canadiens game in the early 1970s at the Forum.
You didn’t have goalkeeping coaches the day before, nor is there a specific resource you can draw on when you need guidance or support…
“That’s right. Back in 1972, this was about the moments that were happening and we had to do something about it. So you didn’t have a goalkeeper coach? Who cares? You didn’t have a psychologist? Who cares? Yours to find the answer. That was part From life in 1972. We didn’t have huge gear or a very protective mask. Who cares? We had a streak to play. We had a streak we needed to win. That’s what the experience was like. It wasn’t about what wasn’t, it was about what It was, and that’s what I tried to do with the book, get the reader to experience it as if it were then, at that moment. Otherwise, it’s all just a collection of war stories, and we’ve all heard it.”
Would you like to work with a sports psychologist before or during the series if one was available to you?
“I don’t know. I haven’t worked with a sports psychologist, and he must be a really, really, really good person that you can really trust… We were basically trained to be our own psychologists. We had to find our way through it, and we did.” That. I think that’s part of the pride we felt then, and part of our accomplishment in it. Like I said at the end of the book, we got stuck in there. And that’s really hard when everything seems to fall apart. When you find a way to hang, things can happen.”
Ken Dryden in his familiar resting position at the Montreal Forum during a break in the early 1970s.
She writes about how wonderful it is to be a watcher of the series, being among the fans in Canada who watch it. There is a picture in a book of dozens of people in a department store in Toronto during game eight, watching TVs in the hardware department. How much do you wish you had just watched?
“The only thing I regret about the series is that I wasn’t at home either. … I’m a sports fan. I know what it would be like. This could have been 27 days of incredible ups and downs and the following moments that you totally weren’t able to know or Expect it. It was great for them. This was a series you didn’t watch yourself. You watched it in groups of people, in families, in offices and classrooms of people. That’s the way it was taken. … Game 8 takes place entirely during school hours and office hours. Out of Canada’s 22 million population, 16 million have watched it. That’s crazy.”
The policy prevailing today will not allow members of the Soviet team of 1972 to come to Canada to attend various celebrations marking the fiftiethThe tenth Anniversary of the series. How special is it to meet again and share your stories?
“There’s not a lot of sharing stories because we don’t have a common language to do that, but I think there’s more of being in each other’s presence. There’s sharing an experience, to have a moment where you just need to look at the other person and know that he knows, and he knows that you know you know.” And in the end you went through something together and something important then, and it still matters now.There is the significance of the great opponent that puts you through your hardest times and also puts you through your biggest tests, and makes you discover things about yourself.Sometimes it’s things you don’t like discovering, and other amazing things Find out, that’s what a great opponent does. That’s what a regular opponent doesn’t. That’s why you hardly remember the matches against the usual opponent but perfectly remember those matches against the great opponent. That’s what the Russians were for us and what we were for them.”