Some of us are old enough to remember the “Red Scare,” when as schoolchildren in the 1950’s, at the height of The Cold War, we practiced hiding under our desks in case of nuclear attack. Yes, you heard right.
Some of us are old enough to remember that the Russians actually launched the Sputnik first in the “space race.” The U.S.S.R seemed like a juggernaut, a Red Tide unstoppable on the other side of the globe, as if China and Russia were like a big monolithic political system that was threatening to spread as far as Cuba (remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?) and yes, Vietnam.
According to writer and director Gabe Polsky, it was Stalin who personally ordered the Soviet hockey team to be part of the Army, because he wanted to take pride in the way it would outshine its Western opponents, and so demonstrate the superiority of the Communist system.
It’s fitting that Mr. Polsky uses a clip from a Ronald Reagan to
introduce his documentary, warning us solemnly about the dangers of Communism.
This was before
This story is largely told from the perspective of Vyacheslov “Slava”
Fetisov, who was born in 1958, just 13 years after the Red Army had driven the
vaunted invading Nazis back into
Then came the 1980 Olympics, and the “miracle on ice” which was won
by some of
For the rest of the 1980’s their “starting five” were virtually unbeatable. They had an intricate, swirling, frequently-pass-the-puck kind of offense that just dazzled and bewildered all their opponents. And nobody was in better condition than these men-machines.
But now the
Fetisov recounts his journey into the NHL, where at first he struggled,
but once reunited with his key teammates on a Detroit Red Wings team, they
re-discover their choreographed magic and win a Stanley Cup.
Fetisov, though, isn’t interested in becoming an American citizen, any
more than he wanted to defect when he could have.
He returns to
It’s fascinating to see all this “from the other side.”
Fetisov is both thoroughly modern and still fiercely Russian, despite, or
perhaps because of, his sojourn in
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Parish Associate, Woodhaven