Canada-Russia ’72 … On CBC TV

I had a chance to catch part one of the CBC mini-series "Canada-Russia '72" last night, and I have to say I am very impressed. Beyond what appears to be a relentless attention to the details of the time period (the suits and hairstyles are one thing, but its made real by the amazingly accurate use of colour and design for the sets), the series seems to capture the true tenor of the series. Check out other reviews of it here and here.

In Canada, its common to gloss over the down-side of that series. More than just make our professionals look slow and fat, the Soviet team made the Canadians look like a bunch of individuals. Watching the '72 Soviet team, you can see the seeds of NHL hockey today in the fast skating, the tape-to-tape passing, and the strong team play. But more than anything, the thing thats glossed over when Canadians talk of the '72 series, is the violence, and thankfully, Canada-Russia '72 doesn't fall into that trap. One scene in part one shows Wayne Cashman storming into the player's room after being ejected from game 3 for a viscious slash (he was penalized for a basic slash, and then ejected when he screamed at the ref "You call that a slash??? I'll show you a REAL slash" and proceded to take his stick to a Russian player like he was chopping wood) … rather than try to downplay the incident, they show it in its true glory, including Cashman trashing the player's room in front of several Canadian players (including Dryden) and intimidated Russian forwards, sitting out and watching the game from the press box.

What really makes the show work though, is the acting. Judah Katz does Alan Eagleson better than Eagleson ever did, lol, and several other notables round out the top of the cast. Booth Savage kicks the hell out of the Harry Sinden role, and Gabriel Hogan is downright eery as the young Ken Dryden, constantly talking into his tape recorder. I am definatly looking forward to part 2 tonight, and to see how they handle the Moscow portion of the series. Expect another review of part 2 tomorrow.

Its your karma … use it wisely

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