Canada vs. Sweden

Game #1 - Sept. 16, 1972 at Stockholm 
Team Canada 4 - Sweden 1
Game One box scores and statistics
Game #2 - Sept. 17, 1972 at Stockholm 
Team Canada 4 - Sweden 4

Game Two box scores and statistics


Canada heads to Europe, stops in Stockholm
En route to their 4 games in Moscow, Canada stopped for 2 exhibition games in Stockholm, Sweden against a team of Swedish stars. The idea was that Canada would play the two games in order to get used to the bigger ice surface before facing the Soviets in Moscow..

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Canada criticized, perhaps unfairly
Canada would go 1-0-1 in Sweden, but would lose a lot of respect. 

The games featured very angry Canadians brawling their way through the games. The Swedes were very upset at this display. Even the Canadian ambassador was critical of Team Canada's play. 

However coach Harry Sinden isn't nearly as quick to blame his players. Sinden, who had a good history in the international game, never appreciated the Swedish game. He called them "sneaks, and dirty hockey players." He claimed the Swedes prepared themselves for a rough game given the reputation of the National Hockey League and of Canadian hockey players. While the Canadians didn't just show up and start brawling like the Hanson Brothers or the Broadstreet Bullies, they did answer the call once the Swedes began their tactics of stick work and interference.

"The Swedes kept backstabbing our players all night and our guys did the obvious in retaliation. We didn't try to be cute about it: we just swung around and let the guy have it with a cross check. Of course, the officials seemed intent on showing the Canadians they weren't going to be intimidated by any of the antics of these professionals. We started getting the majority of the penalties, when in almost every instance it was a cheap shot that triggered the reaction. We never would have tolerated it in Canada, " wrote Sinden.

Introducing Baader and Worse
The opening game in Sweden was refereed by a couple of West German referees - Baader and Kompalla. Before the Soviet Showdown Series was over these two, especially Kompalla, would become infamous and immortal memories of the 1972 Summit Series. Their terrible officiating in the two games in Moscow are legendary, and equally as bad as the opening game in Stockholm.

"They were absolutely terrible. The couldn't even skate," wrote Harry Sinden, somewhat over-emphatically, in his book Hockey Showdown. Their incompetence helped the game become very bitter.

The most painful injury in hockey
What is the most painful injury in hockey? I don't know, but Wayne Cashman certainly would agree his injury at the hands - or more correctly his hockey stick - of Swedish legend Ulf Sterner must count. Cashman was highsticked in the mouth resulting in 50 stitches on his tongue! While I feel for any goalie who's ever stopped an Al MacInnis slapshot with his cup protector, stitches in your tongue, let alone 50 of them, have to be very painful!

In typical Cashman fashion, the thing that ticks him off the most is that while he was soundly criticized for his over-exuberant play in Stockholm, none of the Swedish papers mentioned his lacerated tongue.

Want Copies of the Swedish Games?
Very few people, especially outside of Sweden, have actually seen these games. The games were not broadcasted in Canada. They were on television in Sweden. This was of course back in the day before VCR machines were common, so the chances of someone making copies of the game are slim. 

The only sure-fire way to acquire the games on tape is to buy them from the archives of the Swedish broadcaster. But it won't be cheap. One game could cost you $20,000 US, and both games would probably up to more than $40,000 US! The Swedish broadcaster apparently sells these tapes at an approximate equivalent price of $120 US per minute! Now considering a hockey game takes about 3 hours in North America nowadays, that would be $21,600 US for one game! Even if we assume there is fewer commercial stoppages, the games would likely have taken over 2 hours to complete since they were penalty filled.

Why so expensive? The broadcaster probably is used to selling just clips to other broadcasters. Very few people probably ask the complete items. It makes good business sense to charge other broadcasters a large amount for a clip, but this prices out the vast majority of  the true hockey fans or researchers or the curious.

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