They were still the Soviets in those days. We Canadians were familiar with their stars, but they weren’t yet allowed to play in the NHL. To us, they were the bad guys, although the rivalry was clearly evolving. The outright animosity present in the legendary 1972 Summit Series was missing, replaced by a grudging, mutual respect. These two teams now knew each other intimately, and used the other as their sole measuring stick. Fear of losing, and what it would mean to live with that failure for years, clearly motivated both sides.
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