The Flyers Dismantle the Soviet Machine: Originally Published Jan 11, 1976

When the Flyers beat the Red Army

Jimmy Watson’s eyes were as bright as a British Columbia moonlit night as he said, “I’ve never been so happy. This compares with winning the Stanley Cup.”

Dave Schultz pounded his bare chest near the heart and said, “We won it right here.” Gary Dornhoefer, whose new beard makes him look meaner than Rasputin, said, “It was a gutty performance by 20 guys.”

If it sounds like the Flyers felt proud and a bit boastful, you’re right. The showdown with the Soviet Central Army, the USSR hockey champions, received more attention than a Stanley Cup final. Or Super Bowl. With worldwide coverage focused on the Spectrum, the Flyers felt they had to win for themselves, the NHL, Canada and Mom’s apple pie.

“The fact that they had won the series vs. NHL teams didn’t mean anything unless they beat us,” said Bobby Kelly.

Well, the Flyers did win, 4-1. The Stanley Cup champions won in convincing style. Even the skeptical Soviet viewer sipping a 3 am Bloody Mary back in Moscow couldn’t deny the Flyers’ superiority for this one memorable and controversial meeting.

“They better go home and learn the game,” said Barry Ashbee. Ah, Barry, are you referring to the same team that embarrassed the New York Rangers, tied Montreal and beat Boston?