On the surface there seems little hope that a real Team Canada, composed of players from both the WHA and the NHL, ever will play the Soviet national team. Such a group might have been formed this year if the WHA owners had accepted the high bid of $853,000 for the television rights to the series instead of deciding to sell the advertising spots themselves. The $853,000 tender was guaranteed by Bobby Orr Enterprises Ltd., which had bought the TV rights to the 1972 series. If Orr Enterprises had got them this year, Orr undoubtedly would have played and would have persuaded top NHL men to join him.
For the Soviets the series marked the debut of Kulagin as head coach. When he assumed control, Kulagin dropped 10 veterans and replaced them with 10 players in their early 20s. "We have brought them here to learn from the Canadian professionals," he said. It was an interesting educational experience. Sergei Kapustin, 21, already has found out what most North American pros learned very early: never challenge Gordie Howe near the boards. In Quebec City, Kapustin trailed Howe, a young 46, into the boards for a loose puck only to receive an elbow massage for his effort. Howe calmly collected the puck and passed it out to Hull for a goal. Sergie Kotov, also 21, learned never to skate too closely to pro goaltenders, particularly goaltenders who like to use their sticks machete-style. On his first shift in the series, Kotov glided across the crease in front of Cheevers and ended up with a very sore ankle.
It was nothing, though, in comparison with the NHL's migraine.