Historic Moments

January 11th, 1976 - Flyers vs Red Army

Flyers Humble the Big Red Machine

Clarke and Leach in front of Tretiak's net


 PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers could not be denied.  Central Red Army left the ice protesting Philadelphia violence yesterday but their pique was misplaced.  Philadelphia was built on a reputation of roughness yet their victory before 17,007 fans at the Spectrum was not the product of intimidation. Rather it was a classic demonstration of team work, hard work and execution and when it was over the Flyers were the world chmapions.  "We have never played (against) such animal hockey", said Konstantin Loktev, the Red Army coach, explaining his reaction to the Flyers. In the first period he removed his team for 16 minutes protesting against Ed Van Impe's check, which felled Army foward Valeri Kharlamov.
 National Hockey League president Clarence Campbell, NHL Players' Association executive director Alan Eagleson and finally Vlacheslav Koloskov, head of the Russian delegation, calmed the emotional coach.
 But if he was brought to his senses his team never was. They were never able to penetrate the Flyers' defense, which was stacked at its' blueline so effectively that Army was held to just 13 shots.
 At the other end of the ice the Flyers did what the Russians have become so well known for - only taking the good shot. The amazing aspect of this contest was that the Flyers had 49 shots, almost none of them wasted or not dangerous.
 The Russians are known for their system, which moves in circles. The Flyers had them going in circles but not the way the Russians like. It was as if the Russians were asked to run an obstacle course and they couldn't do it.
 They were humbled by another system - Fred Shero's. The Flyer's coach called the game the most important he ever coached and he came through under the pressure. He put in a stand up defense and he instructed his forwards to hold the puck as much as possible in the Russian end, which they did , even if it meant not shooting.
 "I told them to hold the puck for a faceoff if they didn't have a good shot. They're not very good at faceoffs anyway"
 For a man who felt so strongly about the game beforehand, he had very little to say afterwards. "My reaction ? I feel the same way I did when we beat the Boston in 1974. I don't feel anything. Ask me tomorrow"
 The Flyers had taken 12 shots at Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak when Army left the ice at 11:21 but hadn't been able to beat him. Within 30 seconds of resumption of play, Reg Leach deflected in a shot from the blueline with the Russians short a man for a delay of the game penalty.
 The Flyers didn't need any picking up, but until late in the second period, the Flyers were so dominate it was as if they were playing the expansion dregs of the NHL. Rick MacLeish, who had 9 shots against Tretiak, beat him for the first and only time late in the first period.
 Flyers even controlled the game when they were shorthanded early in the second period. Defenseman Joe Watson gave them a 3-0 lead while they were suppose to be killing a penalty. Army made it's only move of the game midway in the period and while they couldn't get past the blueline often, they squeezed through to pile up most of their 12 shots at Wayne Stephenson.
 Victor Kutyorgin scored the Army goal during this small scale assult.
 Army had eight shots in the second period, not many, but more than any other period. In the first Stephenson faced only two shots and in the third only three.
 The Flyers, who had a total of 31 shots after two periods, simply never let up and and pounded Tretiak for another 18 in the third, but only Larry Goodenough's drive from the slot with the Flyers on the powerplay beat the amazing goaltender.
 If it wasn't for Tretiak I think we'd have hit double figures", said Gary Dornhoefer. "He's big and covered much territory", said Rick MacLeish, who against another goaltender might have had the best production game of his career.
 The Army confused the Flyers but not in the way that was expected. Their reputation for relentless offensive thrust preceded them here but yesterday there was little of it. "They just kept looking for the perfect opportunity", MacLeish said. "Even in the last five minutes they just kept circling. Either they have alot of patience or they just can't adjust".
 "You can have the puck between the bluelines all night long but it won't do you any good if you can't get it in. We could let them do it all the game and still beat them", said Bobby Clarke. "But this doesn't prove Canadian hockey is better than their's. It just means the Flyers are better than their best. I'm sure the next time they will have adjusted."
 "They tried to maked the picture perfect play at the blueline", said Terry Crisp, a center Shero has taught to check and made into an effective player in the Flyer mold. "I don't understand it. Any coach I've ever had has warned against it. The best thing about this game is that we've showed some who think that their system is the be all and end all is that it's not."
 The Flyers were playing high on emotion, which was helped by the games' preliminaries - they must have startled the Russians who had nothing to compare it to in their previous 3 games against NHL teams. The lights were dimmer for introductions with big spotlights picking up the players. A recording of Kate Smith's "God Bless America" was picked up by the crowd which belted out the song with her. More over it was at the Spectrum where the Russians were first booed.

Red Army leave the ice as Russian commentator describes action

Coach overracted to tense situation pulling players off, Eagleson claims

 PHILADLEPHIA - An emotional coach overracting caused Central Red Army to leave the ice for 16 minutes during the first period of their game against the Flyers, according to Alan Eagleson, executive director of the NHL Players' Association.
 The Russian tyeam returned to it's dressing roon at 11:21 of teh first period after their star forward Valeri Kharlamov fell to the ice after taking an elbow to the head from Flyers defenseman Ed Van Impe.
 "It's not hard to understand", Eagleson said. "Remember there was an emotional coach not to mention myself in 1972 who walked out in Russia. It took me a lot longer to settle down then."
 Army coach Konstantin Loktev was upset by what he called "punting" of the Flyers. He felt they were try to delibrately injure his players. He pulled his team, Eagleson said, because he didn't want to have any injuries before the Olympics.
 The Russians agreed to return to the ice after they were given reassurances they would be treated fairly. "We could give it to them quickly".
 Eagleson creditted Vlacheslav Kolosov, head of the Russian delegation, with resoloving the dispute. Kolosov was described by both Eagleson and NHL president Clarence Campbell as level headed and cool.
 "He adopted a reasonable stance", said Eagleson.
 Koloskov's reaction was in contrast to someone Eagleson described as "on the periphery" {Ed's note - this was probably Ed Snider} of the NHL delegation who warned the Russians they would forfeot the $200,000 they are ready to receive for the eight game exhibition. The series, which included another Russian team, the Soviet Wings, concluded yesterday with the Russians holding a 5-2-1 advantage.
 Wings caoch Boris Kulagin, who also handles the Russian national team, was also present at the meeting. He brought up the incident in 1972 werer Bobby Clarke bore Kharlomov's ankle.
 However, Koloskov inteceded before the situation eroded further. "I have a good relationship with him", Eagleson said. "I can take a lot of that guy. The only thing that I did that could be considered heavy handed was look at him in the eye and tell him that we've signed a contract and does this mean I can't believe you ?!?."
 Campbell blamed Loktev, calling his action, "an error in judgement".
 "It was unfortunate but once they left the ice they had to make a demonstation of what they felt", explained Campbell, who implied most Russian officials would have preferred that the situation didn't go as far as it did. "We said the series could not be terminated. There was no justification for leaving the ice. It suprised me."
 Asked if the felt if the Flyers intimidated the Russians Campbell replied, "I don't know. They used the pretexted of the injury to Kharlamov but I notived he played on the next shift and started the second period. I didn't see anything wrong with him."
 Campbell said the incident was unfortunate. "Otherwise the series was excellent. It's the first thing like this we've had."
 Asked about fans in New York the night before who tossed ink on the ice at the Wings-islanders game, Campbell said, "that wasn't anything unusual, just two kooks who were arrested. That sort of thing happens every day"

Watsons Had Edge

 PHILADLEPHIA - Two Philadelphia Flyers, the Watson brothers, are sure they had an edge going into yesterday's game - a good luck telegram from their home town.
 Earlier this week, Jim and Joe Watson, received a good luck telegram from Smithers B.C., a town of 4000 people. The telegram wished the brothers well and was signed by over 200 of Smithers' residents.
 "We thought that was pretty good", Joe Watson said after the Flyers had defeated the Soviet Red Army. "When 200 people out of only 4000 people sign their name to a telegram you feel pretty good."
 "I hope they all watched the game", he added , "-and saw my goal !"

Flyer head shocks Shero

Snyder does what Army couldn't

 PHILADLEPHIA - Fred Shero was holding a press conference after the Flyers had defeated the Central Red Army yesterday when Flyers President Ed Snyder ran into the room.
 "Forget the interviews:, Snyder said. "Freddy...that was the greatest coaching job in the history of hockey. I love you Freddy - you're fabulous !". Then Snyder marched out leaving Shero's mouth open.
 It was the only time after yesterday's game that the Philadelphia coach was unsettled. For the rest, Shero was cool and analytical as he had been tense and emotional prior to the game.
 "There are many ways to beat the Russians", Shero explained. "We dedided to let them do all the fancy skating they wanted to, as long as we broke up the plays. I told the guys not to shoot unless they were going to score."
 "We've played many good games, I don't think that was our best, but I think it was our most disciplined. We had discipline in their zone."
 Shero kept his eyes shut behind sunglasses as he spoke, he also said North America still produces the greatest individual players in the world.
 He said the Soviet walkout midway in the first period could have hurt the Philly players.
 "We kept them out there skating as long as we could", he said. "I didn't want the guys to get overanxious or angry. It didn't effect us as much as it could have"
 "I guess it gave time for the Russian coaches to calm their players down. I wasn't sure that they would come back at first, I really wasn't."
 Shero said he work the players harder in the past two weeks than they've ever been worked. "I wanted them to be ready physically - and they were ready"
 "As far as getting ready emotionally and psychologically, the players took care of that."
 Shero said the ideal concept of a Russia-North America series would be to have a regular NHL team, boosted by a couple of players, meet the Russians. "I don't favour the all-star system", he said. "All we'd need is a team, with maybe a couple of other players from another team. But basically just one team."
 He left no doubt he thought that team was his own.

Morrison praises jib by referee Gilmour

 PHILADLEPHIA - NHL referee in chief Scotty Morrison said Lloyd Gilmour who refereed yesterdays Red Army-Flyer game had called an excellent game, "Absolutely, no doubt about it."
 Central Red Army left the ice in the first period after Ed Van Impe felled Valeri Kharlamov with an elbow. No penalty was called.
 "Gilmour will never have to work under more pressure", said Morrison.
 To that point the Flyers had been using their sticks to make points but after the game resumed there was a cessation. Gilmour, who had called the Flyers for three and the Russians for two penalties to that point, called only another eight, four on each team.
 Morrison said Gilmour's work and response had been faultless, especially with the implied intimidation of the Russian tactic.
 Van Impe denied his hit was illegal, "He had his head down and when he looked up to see where the puck was I hit him. I hit him on the side of the head with my shoulder. It was perfectly legal. There was no reason why he should have stayed down. It was an act."
 Van Impe said Flyer captain Bobby Clarke had been hit as hard earlier by Valery Vasilyev. Clarke went down but got up and continued to play.
 Late in the third period Clarke was struck in the head by a Russian player's stick and need several stitches.

On May 30th 1975 in the middle of the "Cold War" the NHL announced that it had arranged for two club teams from the Soviet Union would make a tour playing NHL teams, including the Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers. The day of the announcement, Pete Mahovolich of the Montreal Canadiens was quoted as saying, "The Russian unit won't be intimidated by the Flyers". He couldn't have been more wrong. Fred Shero was the first coach to go the the Soviet Union and study their techniques a year earlier. He knew every move the Red Army team would make and devised a strategy that could and did beat the Soviet team. Unable to manage the toughness of the game, the Soviet team left the ice with 11:21 left in the first period. They only returned after being told they would not get paid if they didn't finish the game. 17 seconds after the game was restarted, Reggie Leach scored for the Flyers. The Flyers continued to totally dominate the game, holding the powerful Red Army team to just 13 shots.

The Soviet newspaper "Pravda" ran this
cartoon after their team's humbling defeat
Super Series '76 Game Results
Red Army 7 - Rangers 3
Soviet Wings 7 - Penguins 4
Red Army 3 - Canadiens 3
Sabres 12 - Soviet Wings 6
Soviet Wings 4 - Black Hawks 2
Red Army 5 - Bruins 2
Soviet Wings 2 - Islanders 1
Flyers 4 - Red Army 1

Game Quotes

-Flyers Coach Fred Shero : "Yes we are world champions. If they had won, they would have been world champions. We beat the hell out of a machine.

-Tim Burke, Montreal Gazette : "The Flyers salvages Canada's pride in her nation sport with a near perfect hockey masterpiece... It came as a glorious finale to Super Series '76...It was one of the most remarkable displays of perparedness, disipline and unflappability in the annals of sport and it elavated Flyers' Coach Fred Shero's systematic approach to the game beyond question"

-Milton Richman, UPI Sports Editor : "Soviet coach Konstantin Lokev suddenly pulled his team off the ice, presumably because one of Russia's key players, Valeri Kharlamov, was checked too hard by Flyers defenseman Ed Van Impe.
That was suppose to be the reason, but it wasn't. They tried to get the upper hand. This time they didn't."

- Red Fisher, Montreal Star : "They were grand and talented vistors, but the Soviets do not represent a hockey season in this area - and should not.
The Soviets won the series 5-2-1, but all of the dialogue in the wake of Philadelphia's awesome wipeout of the Red Army team focused on the Soviets' failure to beat the National Hockey League's best 3 teams. Their best was unable to beat our best, which makes the over-all results considerably less than important"

- Milt Dunnell, Toronto Star : "The Moscow Musketeers had to put a big fat zero on their aptitude test by pulling one the dumbest tricks in sports. They hauled their team off the ice.
Loktev knew the conditions before he came. Nodoby loves playing in Philadelphia. Once he accepted a game with the Flyers, under NHL rules, with an NHL referee, he was in the same boat as the Toronto Maple Leafs or Vancouver Canucks when they come to town.
Loktev wanted his team to know what's it's like to play the Flyers in Philly under NHL conditions. Well...that's what it's like"

Bob "Mad Dog" Kelly battles the Army


Flyers 4 - Red Army 1

First Period

1. Philadelphia - Leach (Barber) 11:38
2. Philadelphia - MacLeish (Lonsberry) 16:37
Alexandrov (elbowing) 2:24, Glazov (tripping) 3:34, Dornhoefer (interference) 3:34 Dupont (hooking) 9:10, Red Army (delay of game) 11:21, Dornhoefer (boarding) 17:58 (

Second Period

3. Philadelphia - Joe Watson (Saleski, Kindrachuk) 2:44
4. Red Army - Kutyergin (Popov) 10:48
Dupont (hooking) 1:08, Van Impe (high sticking) 11:31, Alexandrov (roughing, misconduct) 17:08, Leach (roughing) 17:08

Third Period

5. Philadelphia - Goodenough (Clarke, Dornhoefer) 4:01
Volchenkov (hooking) 8:14

Shots On Goal

Red Army...283-13
Attendance - 17,007

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