Thursday, June 19, 2014

1981 Soviet Union National Team Vladimir Myshkin Jersey

Born on this date in 1955, Vladimir Myshkin is best remembered for being the goaltender who gave up Mike Eruzione's game winning goal in the 1980 Olympic "Miracle on Ice" game versus the United States, but there was certainly more to the man that just that single goal against.

Vladimir Myshkin
Myshkin reacts to Eruzione's goal in 1980

He began his career with Krylia Sovetov (Soviet Wings), the club sponsored by the Soviet Air Force, where he played in both the 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons. Following the 1979 season, he made his World Championship debut with the Soviet Union in 1979, playing in two games on the gold medal winning team.

For the 1979-80 season, Myshkin would move to the KGB's Dynamo Moscow club, where he would remain for the next 11 seasons as their undisputed number one, averaging nearly 40 games a season in a league with a schedule of between 40 and 50 games a year.

Vladimir Myshkin
Myshkin in goal for Dynamo

Unfortunately for Myshkin, his career at Dynamo coincided with the rival Red Army (also known as CSKA Moscow) club's most dominant period in their history, reeling off 13 consecutive Soviet League titles from 1977 to 1989. Finally, in Myshkin's final season with the club, payoff arrived as Dynamo Moscow was finally able to wrest the title away from Red Army in 1990.

Following the long sought after Soviet League championship, Myshkin would play one final professional season with Lukko Rauma in Finland's SM-Liiga as their number one goalie.

Internationally, Myshkin was a regular member of the Soviet National Team, but like his timing playing for Dynamo during the era of Red Army, Myshkin's career as a goaltender unfortunately coincided with that of the legendary Vladislav Tretiak, recognized world-wide as one of, if not the, top goaltender in the world. The result for Myshkin was a trophy case full of medals and little playing time.

He was a member of the gold medal winning World Championship team in 1979 (2 games played), 1981 (1), 1982 (3) and 1983 (3). Finally after the retirement of Tretiak in 1984, Myshkin was given the reins in 1985 and played in ten games only to see the Soviet Union knocked off their perch and finish third after losing to both Czechoslovakia and Canada in the Final Round.

And with that, Myshkin once more returned to his familiar role as backup on the National Team, as in the 1989, 1990 and 1991 World Championships, he would play but one game in each tournament, yet come home with gold medals in both 1989 and 1990.

The story was very much the same in the 1981 Canada Cup with one start in seven games but another gold medal to bring home in his luggage.

Vladimir Myshkin
Myshkin at the 1982 Izvestia Cup

Thing would change in the 1984 edition of the Canada Cup with Tretiak now out of the picture following his retirement after winning a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, where Myshkin saw action in but a single game once more.

Despite Myshkin's failure to secure the nearly customary gold medal in the 1984 World Championships, he was back in goal at the 1984 Canada Cup. While Myshkin would defeat Czechoslovakia, Sweden and the United States in round robin play, he would once again fall short with the weight of the world on his shoulders as Canada would take the Soviets to overtime in their semifinal match, the first overtime game in Soviet National Team history, only to have Mike Bossy deflect a puck past Myshkin, who was without his stick after Bossy had collided with him several seconds earlier, to eliminate the Soviets from the competition but Myshkin was named the goaltender on the tournament All-Star Team.

Perhaps the highlight of Myshkin's international career was his 6-0 shutout of the NHL All-Stars at the 1979 Challenge Cup, after the Soviets, with Tretiak in goal, had split Games 1 and 2.

Vladimir Myshkin

All told, Myshkin would collect six World Championship gold medals, a gold in the Canada Cup and an Olympic gold medal, eight golds in all, and play in a total of just 13 games, perhaps the greatest return on investment in the history of hockey!

Vladimir Myshkin
Myshkin in his all too familiar spot on the end of the national team bench

Following his playing career, Myshkin would coach the Swiss club HC Davos from 1994 to 1999 and later become the goaltending coach of Dynamo and CSKA Moscow before coaching Vityaz Chekov in Russia.

1980 Olympians Mike Eruzione, Vladimir Myshkin and Jim Craig at a promotional appearance in advance of the 2010 Olympics

Today's featured jersey is a 1981 Soviet National Team Vladimir Myshkin jersey as used in the 1981 Canada Cup tournament.

This style of Soviet jersey with the diamond shapes around the waist was used from 1977 until 1983, which included the memorable 1980 Olympics.

Soviet National Team 1981 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Our first video today is the game winning goal from the "Miracle on Ice" when Mike Eruzione of the United States gets one past Myshkin in the Soviet goal in place of Tretiak in the third period of their game for the ages.

Here is Canada defeating the Soviet Union in overtime of the 1984 Canada Cup semifinals.

We conclude today with Myshkin's finest game, the third game of the 1979 Challenge Cup, when Myshkin and the Soviets shut out the NHL All-Stars 6-0.

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