Now that we know that it was Percival's teachings that had a deep albeit indirect impact on Russian hockey, lets take a look at what Percival himself predicted for the Summit Series.
"I will bet that the Tarasov principle of attack in pattern form will still be the main Russian tactic. But, if the "colleagues" he mentions have had their way and the Russians have become more "Canadianized" we should have less trouble with them. Their greatest strength is the unique type of game they play as compared with ours," said Percival in a 1972 Toronto Sun interview. The colleagues he refers to was the new coaching staff headed by Vsevolod Bobrov that took over from Anatoli Tarasov not long before the Summit Series.
"With the Russians' excellent condition base along with their ability to adapt we must be careful not to get overconfident if we do manage to start off well. Even if we beat them badly at first this does not means that the rest of the series will be easy. If we start off slowly, perhaps a bit too "tight" or fatigued from our "crash" preparation, we must keep our collective "cool" and do a little adapting ourselves."
Percival appears to have been bang on with his predictions.
Percival also added these prophetic words:
In my opinion (Anatoli) Tarasov's point has been substantiated by the remarkable progress made by the Russians in just a few short years. Our whole hockey structure is based on competition from the tyke level up,
and unless we insert more teaching-training into our system we might well run into trouble in the future - if we are not in it already.
"With expansion in the NHL, and the arrival of the WHA, the quality of competition and its development value has been diluted. Our young players are playing 95 per cent of the time, the Russians are teaching-training 60 per cent of the time - in effect, they are playing and teaching-training, while we are basically just playing. To sustain superiority or stay even we must expand our development process and
sophisticate our total approach.
Again, no one believed him at the time. Nowadays some believe we are still not fully recovered.