Canada/Russia series stirs up emotions

Canada/Russia series stirs up emotions

By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun
Tue, March 21, 2006

Paul Henderson always will remember where he was the day David Miller scored in Game 8 to beat the Soviets.

He was sitting in the Hockey Hall of Fame theatre watching the preview of Canada Russia '72, an ambitious CBC mini series. The national icon had an out-of-body experience watching Miller, a former junior player from Miramichi, N.B., portray him 36 years ago as the hero in the landmark Summit Series.

Miller did a fine job, as do cast members such as John Bregar as rogue linemate Bobby Clarke, Booth Savage as coach Harry Sinden and Judah Katz as the series' wheeler-dealer Alan Eagleson.

"I found myself getting emotional a few times," Henderson said at last night's screening. "They captured it well. I got right back into it, such as watching Peter Mahovlich's goal (in Game 2). In the scene in Vancouver (after Canada fell behind in the series), I could feel myself sliding down in my seat, then saying to myself 'it's a movie Paul, relax.' "

As soon as Miller got the part he cautiously approached Henderson for some tips and found him more than willing to help.

The two-part series, a Summit Films/Dream Street Production, airs April 9-10 at 8 p.m. Re-creation of the heart-stopping eight games blend well with the off-ice drama of Team Canada's battles with Russian skullduggery and the club's internal battles as the series appeared lost. Mike Dopud portrays Vic Hadfield, who clashed with management and left the team.

Bregar, familiar to viewers of Degrassi: The Next Generation, also phoned Clarke to better understand how the Flyers' star played on the edge. Bregar is right-handed, but had to learn to shoot left as Clarke did and at first had trouble delivering his lines through the special dental plate that gave him Clarke's famous gap-toothed grin. But he admitted he enjoyed filming the Game 6 slash that broke Valeri Kharlamov's ankle.

"We did it about 99 times," Bregar laughed. "But there was lots of padding and we had a lot of fun. Because so many of us played hockey, we could do a lot of that stuff for real."