Tuesday, February 16, 2010
February 2010 Book Cub Slection: Gretzky to Lemieux, Ed Willes
Remembering one of Canada's greatest sporting triumphs
With Canada set to begin its quest for Olympic gold in men's hockey, it seems entirely fitting that February's Nexus of Assholery book club selection is Grezky to Lemieux: The Story of the 1987 Canada Cup.
The 1987 Canada Cup is remembered by many to be among the best hockey ever played. It featured a star-laden Team Canada line-up, led by Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Mark Messier, confronting the famed KLM line of Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov.
The tournament boiled down to a nail-biting three-game showdown between Canada and the Soviet Union, with two of the games going to overtime, including an epic double-overtime game two.
The '87 Canada Cup wasn't simply a triumph of Canadian hockey over its once-dominant Soviet counterpart: it was also the nail in the coffin of Soviet dominance. By late 1987, the futility of the Soviet squad at Piestany, Czechoslovakia, signal the rise of a new era of international parity, with countries like Sweden, Finland and the United States establishing themselves as legitimate hockey powers on the world stage.
The '87 Canada Cup was a game-breaker for international hockey. Now, in order to regain Olympic gold, Canada will need to re-capture the inspiration harnessed by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux in order to triumph against not one or two, but three other strong contenders for Olympic primacy.