Je me souviens is the newest FHF feature of crappy filler while we wait until the fucking season starts. The title says it all. If you don't know what it means, read a license plate. Or go use The Google.
The Habs - Red Army game is my first memory. Not my first hockey memory, my first memory, period. That'll tell you what kind of Habs fan I am. I can picture exactly where I was as I watched it, sitting on my parents' bed, watching their little 14" black and white they had in their bedroom. The 'rents had gone out for New Year's, and the babysitter said I could watch the whole game, as long as I was in my Snoopy pj's by the second period (man I was cute in those).
Tretiak. That's what I remember. He was just unbelievable. A stand-up goalie, but he threw his body and limbs around stopping pucks like mad. The Habs outshot the Army 38-13, and the game finished 3-3. 38-13! He was f-ing incredible. Tretiak himself has said it was the best game he ever played.
I also remember the intensity. It was a friggin' exhibition game, but both teams played like it was Game 7 of the Cup Finals. East vs. West in the middle of the Cold War, their system vs. ours, the two best teams on the planet at the time, etc. I guess in retrospect I can see why it meant so much.
Also, the skills of the Soviet players. To this day I have never seen puck control and patience like that. I was astounded when, instead of just dumping the puck in to the Habs' zone to make a line change, the 2 D simply passed the puck back and forth playing keep-away until the new line was on. And when a rushing Red Army forward hit the Habs' blue line and didn't like what he saw, he would turn around, head back into his own zone, and start the rush again. You'd be booed for that in the Bell Centre today, but it showed just what the Red Army players could do and had been taught. Wow. Je me souviens indeed.
Enjoy the highlight video, and here are a few other links for you:
- Legends of Hockey report on the game;
- The Red Army's North American tour on Wikipedia;
- CNN/SI names the game the 10th best game of all time in any sport, ahead of games like John Elway's drive game, Villanova over G'Town for the NCAA title and Christian Laettner's miracle from the foul line game. It was that good people; I remember.