30 for 30 (2009–…): Season 2, Episode 27 - Of Miracles and Men - full transcript

The story of one of the greatest upsets in sports history has been told. Or has it? On a Friday evening in Lake Placid, a plucky band of American collegians stunned the vaunted Soviet national team, 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey competition. Americans couldn't help but believe in miracles that night, and when the members of Team USA won the gold medal two days later, they became one for the ages. But there was another, unchronicled side to the "Miracle On Ice." The so-called bad guys from America's ideological adversary were in reality good men and outstanding players, forged into the Big Red Machine by the genius and passion of Anatoli Tarasov. There was a reason they seemed unbeatable, especially after routing the Americans in an exhibition the week before the Winter Games began. And there was a certain shame in them having to live the rest of their lives with the results of February 22, 1980.

[intense music]

[Announcer] 30 For 30.

[slow gentle music]

[Slava] Unbelievable.

Being in Central Park
playing hockey...

at age 54.

When I was 15 years old,

I was first played
in a Western country,

and I feel kind of,
everybody was against us,

for one reason, I was
born in a certain place.

That's a dream to play for
the Soviet national team.

Late 70's Soviet National Team

probably was best
team in the history.

[Commentator] You've got 10 seconds.

The countdown going on
right now. Morov intercepts.

Five seconds left in the game.
Do you believe in miracles?

-[Commentator 2] Unbelievable!

[Commentator] They're
going crazy out there.

They're jumping up and
down while the Russians,

on the other hand, are
just standing quietly

at their own blue line in a group,
watching the celebration.

[Slava] In America, people
always want me to talk about

the miracle on ice, but
we made our own miracles

and that's what I
want to talk about.

[speaking Russian]

[gentle piano music]

[speaking Russian]

[speaking Russian]

[Stalin speaking Russian]

[Narrator] In World
War II, the Soviet Union

fought alongside the United
States and its allies.

The Soviets lost upwards
of 10 million soldiers

and 14 million civilians,
but the Red Army's

eventual victory over the
Nazi's on the eastern front

turned the Soviet Union
into a world power.

We are the winners of
the Second World War.

We have to prove
that we are strong.

If we prove that we
are strong in sport

it shows that country
is developing and we are still alive.

[Narrator] After the war,
the Alliance quickly shattered

and a long Cold War followed.

Under the regime of Josef
Stalin, every act was framed

by the struggle between
Communism and the West.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] The Soviet national
sport during the winter

was known as Russian
hockey, or Bandy.

You play with curved
stick with a ball.

Big fields and 11
players. 10 plus goalie.

It's like soccer.

[speaking Russian]

[Vsevolod] War is over and we
have to participate

in big sports events, Olympics,

and Bandy is not an Olympic
sport. It's ice hockey.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] Vasily
Stalin was the head

of the Soviet Union's
sports programs

and in 1946 he called for
the creation of the country's

first ever Canadian
style ice hockey teams.

To figure out how to
play this new sport,

Stalin assigned a young
man who had never even seen

an ice hockey game. His
name was Anatoli Tarasov.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] The government
installed Tarasov

as the coach of CSKA,
the Red Army club team

that doubled as
the national team.

All of his players were
under 25-year contracts

as soldiers in the Soviet
Army but, on the ice,

Tarasov believed in freedom,
respecting his athletes

as individuals so
he and his players

could create a new brand
of hockey together.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] If the Canadians
had invented the game,

Tarasov would reinvent it.

Tarasov's new vision of
hockey was built not around

where the puck was but
where the puck was going.

"Among Canadians,"
Tarasov wrote,

"it is the man with the puck
who masterminds the pass.

But among Soviet players it
is the man without the puck.

This means that, in Canada,
four men depend on one man

while in our hockey one
man depends on four."

"It is unshackled
hockey," he wrote,

"hockey that has wings to fly.

The future is with
this type of hockey."

[Sergei Makarov] I was lucky I
become the member

of the Red Army hockey system.

I was 10 years old.

[speaks Russian]

Tarasov's practices
were so tough. Oh!

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] When
Tarasov started,

skating rinks in
the Soviet Union

were only usable
in cold weather.

They had no way to keep the
ice from melting in summer.

So, Tarasov invented ice hockey
training without the ice.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] From
1963 through 1972,

the Soviet hockey
team won every major

international tournament,

including 9 world championships,
and 3 Olympic gold medals.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] In those days,

NHL players were not allowed
to compete in the Olympics,

which were for
amateur athletes only.

So, officials began to work out
details for an unprecedented

series between the Soviet
"amateurs" and Canada's pros.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] Communist
authorities thought

it was a suicide mission
for Soviet hockey,

but there was a method to
Tarasov's perceived madness.

"Several times I had
the good fortune to see

the one and only Bobby
Hull," Tarasov wrote.

"He is simply great. There
is no other word for him.

I believe that if we could
organize an individual game

between him and one of
our leading forwards,

then I'm sure Bobby Hull
would outplay any of them

hands down. But hockey
is a game that teams,

not individuals, play.

And that is why if two Bobby
Hulls played against two

of our boys I
think the Canadians

would have less
of an advantage.

And if five Bobby Hulls
played against five

of our Soviet players, then
here, I simply would not take

the chance of placing my
bets on the Canadians."

[speaking Russian]

[speaking Russian]

I don't believe they're
as good as we are.

And I, I just would like
to have this issue settled.

And I think that
they'll go home

and they won't be too happy.

[Commentator] There's a good sign.

"It's our Game! And we're
going to prove it!" tonight.

is the worst thing.

[Commentator] At the face
off and the game is underway,

with Petrov having cleared at
the end of the Canadian zone.

Mikhailov, Mikhailov is
knocked down in the play,

a shot goes wide.

Maltsev is hooked on the
play and is knocked down

by Clark, and then hit
with a stick over his,

accidentally on the play.

In any other hockey
game you would've seen

a big fight there.

The tolerance level by the
Soviets is unbelievable.

They're disciplined, totally
disciplined athletes.

[speaking Russian]

And it bounces over
to this side.

Valadia trying to
clear to the corner.

And sent it right
for the score!

On that left side. They finally
found the corner of the net.

Mikhailov nearly got loose,
gets it over to Petrov,

back to Mikhailov,
right in the clear.

Ooh! Right in. It scores.

Petrov getting the rebound.

Kharlamov goes
down over the line,

cutting in around...
and he scores!

Kharlamov, a great hockey
player, gets, and he scores!

Kharlamov sent a
bullet drive goal.

[Commentator 2] Kharlamov
has looked the best.

He's got speed, he's
got a good shift.

[Commentator 1] I think
it's more of a team effort

against a group of individuals.

The way it's working
out the Soviet team

does seem to keep
that puck on a string.

[Commentator 2] If they have
to play it at this fast pace

they will not be able
to beat the Soviets.

[Commentator 1] Pass to
Mikhailov, coming in on goal

Oh, he scores! Mikhailov.

And here, they're closing
in, Seaman gets right-

Oh, he scores! They score!

Yakushev, cutting right in
front to make it 7 to 3.

[speaking Russian]

Team Canada right now,

they've given it their best
and they aren't good enough

tonight to beat the Soviets.
It's as simple as that.

[speaking Russian]

And the game is over!

And the USSR have defeated
Canada in the first game.

[speaking Russian]

Mikhailov comes from the side,
will stop-

[Narrator] Four
games in Canada

were followed by
four games in Moscow.

The Canadians grew
more aggressive

as they won only one of
the first five games.

...is handled by Berkman.

There's a slash back to
goal there by Berkman.

[Commentator 2] Petrov
going in number 9, forward

and he gives him
the elbow again.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Parisi is
totally incensed at this call.

The ruling is that Parisi
is out of the game.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] In
Game 6 in Moscow,

the Soviets had the chance
to clinch the series.

[Commentator] This game
is a must for Canada.

It's do or die tonight.

[Narrator] Canada's Bobby
Clark slashed Valeri Kharlamov,

breaking his ankle.

[Commentator] A penalty,
I believe, on this one.

Kharlamov comes over
to the Soviet bench.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] With Kharlamov
injured, Canada won

the final 3 games to take the
series, 4-3, with one tie.

[Commentator] There's
another shot right by the goal,

and they've done it.

And the fans of the
team are going wild.

Canada 6, the Soviets 5.

They were able to win 3
out of 4 on Moscow ice

and win the series.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] The Soviets
continued to dominate

international hockey
throughout the '70s,

including a fourth straight
Olympic gold in 1976.

Meanwhile, the kids
from Anatoli Tarasov's

last crop of future
stars emerged

at the 1977 Junior
World Championships,

including a teenage defenseman
named Slava Fetisov.

My tour of the World Junior
that happened to be in Quebec.

[Commentator] And
Fetisov has it once again.

He tried to clear it away
and Bobby Smith...

Bobby Smith, Gretzky,
my God, big shots.

[Commentator] Gretzky,
at center ice...

My goodness, this
Gretzky is something.

[Slava] 12 or 14,000
people. TV. Interviews.

And they put us
in a 5-star hotel.

100 channels in the TV.

Marble, crystal.

We not even dream about,
you know, this stuff.

And, of course, it's
turn your head around,

and I said to myself, I
want to feel this atmosphere

every time I step on ice.

[Narrator] Partnered
with Fetisov on defense

was Slava's best friend,
Alexei Kasatonov.

They'd spend the next
12 years side by side

as the Soviets' top defensemen.

[Slava] Alex to me was like
a younger brother.

We was roommate all the time.

He was as a son for
my mom and for my dad.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] While the
Juniors won at the World's,

the Senior Soviet
team faltered.

The government decided to
impose another coaching change.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] Viktor Tikhonov,
the coach of the KGB team,

"Dinamo Riga," was
named the new head coach

of the Soviet National Team.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] He's still
working his stopwatch now.

Checking how long
the lines are on.

[Slava] Tikhonov game
controlled everything.

What kind of apartment
you're going to live,

if you get new car or not,

and he used this as a
good motivational tool.

He said, "Look, if there is
love between players and coach

it's the end of the result.

Players, they should
be motivated, then

against the coach something."

Coach is like...

guy with a whip
and a plantation.

[Narrator] Tikhonov
confined players

to Army barracks 11
months of the year.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] With
the 1980 Olympics

in Lake Placid approaching,
Tikhonov's team reclaimed

the World Championships
in 1978 and '79.

Vladislav Tretiak won the award
as the World's Top Goalie.

In 1979, a new challenge
series with the NHL was set.

It was intended by both
sides to remove any doubt

that the winners be declared

the best hockey
team in the world.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] The
NHL team featured 20

including Bobby Clarke, Guy
LeFleur, Bryan Trottier,

Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden,
Sweden's Borje Salming

the most future Hall of Famers

on any All-Star team in
any major sport ever.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] The countdown
is on. The Soviets have it.

They are going to win this game
by a score of 6 to nothing.

And the Soviets win the
Challenge Series, two games to one.

[speaking Russian]

We're going to Lake Placid.

Oh my goodness.

Ah, Anastasia, I was 21 same age as you.


[Narrator] Just days before
the 1980 Winter Olympics

the Soviet hockey team
arrived in New York

for a tune-up game.

Well, there was a hockey
game played in New York

Madison Square Garden
this afternoon,

the Soviets and
the United States.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Ooh! Two US players
came together and put each other down.

Oh what a collision!

Breaking down
the right side is Maltev.

He's got a shot.

Look at this play.

He scores! What a
great play by Maltev.

Beautiful set up.


In the short side,
beautiful execution.

Got it right for...
What a beating.

Nothing. This is where
overconfidence started.

[speaking Russian]

[Reporter] It's now clear
that the Lake Placid games

will be totally overshadowed

by the Russian
invasion of Afghanistan

and the threat it poses
to the Moscow Olympics.

[speaking Russian]

It was hysteria in US.

Massive Soviet military
forces have invaded

the small non-aligned sovereign
nation of Afghanistan.

If the Soviets do
not fully withdraw

their troops by February 20th

neither the President
as he put it

nor the American people can
support American attendance

at the Olympians in Moscow.

[speaking Russian]

[Reporter] The place
where the athletes will live

looks pretty much
like what it will be

after the Olympics, a
minimum security prison.

Are athletes from around
the world going to

going to be comfortable
living in a place like this.

Well, I don't like that
"in a place like this".

We think we have a very, very
adequate Olympic village.

We're very proud of it.

If you look around, it's like any
college campus you were ever on.

[speaking Russian]

Wow. This is my Olympic
village Anastasia, look.

[brass band music]

[speaking Russian]

[Anastasia] It looks familiar?

[Vsevolod] When you was going through
the main street of Lake Placid

you could see a lot of
stands selling some chili

and hot dogs and
also literature,

all the time against Russia,
freedom for Russian prisoners.

Now "Get out of Afghanistan"
and so on and so on and so on.

Well, some people were
even afraid to say

that "I'm from
the Soviet Union."

The night before
the game versus US,

players were sure
that next game

day game is nothing special.

And so they had nice time
because figure skaters,

girls, some, they
won gold medals.

They were happy. And
so they had good time.

Natural. There was some
champagne to celebrate

and they were not sleeping.

[Interviewer] In 1980 the
game against the Americans.

Where were you?

[Commentator] There's
their coach Ms Tarasova,

who's father used to
be their hockey coach.

Slava Fetisov, I play for
the 1980 Russian team.

Well, welcome back.
It's good to have you.

That's my daughter Anastasia.

Anastasia, nice to meet you.

So, look the same?

It all pretty
much looks the same.

Not as many people today.

It's a little quieter
than that day.

This is me.

This is the rest room, right?

[Man] This is your
room, your locker room.

She was pick the right place.

It's unbelievable.

-This is yours?

You remember?

Yeah, I remember.

[Al Michaels] What we have happening,
the rarest of sporting events,

an event that needs no buildup,
no superfluous adjectives.

In a political or
nationalistic sense

I'm sure this game is being
viewed with varying perspectives

but manifestly,
it is a hockey game.

The United States
and the Soviet Union

on a sheet of ice in
Lake Placid, New York.

[Interviewer] Did you
see the movie "Miracle"?

The American-

[speaking Russian]

Tonight, we are the greatest
hockey team in the world.

You were born to
be hockey players.

Every one of you.

I'm sick and tired of hearing

about what a great hockey
team, the Soviet's have.

Screw 'em. This is your time.

Now go out there and take it.

They don't know the name,
the players who play here.

It's funny.

But after our games, the whole
world recognized these kids.

Paint some of your
thoughts before the game.

Well Al, for the US team
is really discovery time.

It's one thing to be
young and promising.

It's quite another to be good.

We'll be playing against
a very good team.

A team that's better
than they are,

and after that time,
after it's all over,

we'll simply find out
how good they are.

[Slava] It was "Nyet, nyet,
Soviet" and so on.

"Shame on you!",
"Boo" all the time.

This was our bench.

[Commentator] The excitement,
the tension building.

The Olympic Center
filling to capacity.

The face-value of a top ticket
for tonight's game, $67.

Outside they're
exchanging hands

at three times the face value.

[speaking Russian]

This is my position
on opening face off.

[Commentator] Here we go
as the game is underway.

The Soviet Union in red and
the United States in white.

Vladislav Tretiak, an
export of the Soviet Union,

some consider him the
best goalie in the world.

Usually our
strategy was come out

and score on the first shift.

[Commentator] This is Fetisov,
a good young defenseman,

number two, saved by Craig.

Vasiliev, picks
up the lead puck.

There's Zhluktov in on Craig.

Stops to rebound and the
whistle for the face on.

The arena was just rocking.

The flags, there was jumping.

You can hear all 60
minutes, "USA, USA, USA".

[Commentator] And
the chant, USA, USA.

[Crowd] USA! USA! USA!

[Commentator] Early
first period, no score.

The Americans 13 days ago
losing to the Soviets 10 to 3

and Johnson skims it, he'd
get a stick on the shot.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Pervukhin
up ahead to Kharlamov.

Kharlamov into
play extend right.

Pervukhin hits along the board.


[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Bill Baker,
that goal with 27 seconds

against Sweden on opening
night, a big play for the US.

...his shot is saved
by Tretiak after a great pass

for Baker and the
quarters, on Tretiak.

The first time he is tested.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Schneider,
losing it after,

slap shot and it was
deflected in, from the point.

The Soviet Union takes
a one to nothing lead

Kasatonov's slap
shot, was deflected-

[speaking Russian]

[Interviewer] Was it
a goal like any other?

[Commentator] Pavelich
taking it away for the US,

Pavelich up ahead to
Schneider, puck goes in!

[crowd roars]

That's the type of
goal you don't expect

somebody like
Tretiak to give up.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Shot by
Kharlamov and a glove save

off the base by Craig.

Movement to the Soviet Union.

Here comes Krutov, again
he's over the goal line.

Krutov getting by the defense.

Loose puck in front,
swept away by Craig.

Golikov, hands it over to
his brother, number 25.

Makarov's shot, saved by Craig.

[speaking Russian]

Golikov, number 23,

leaving it for Makarov
who tried to get it back.

Golikov then gets
it back and scores.

And the Soviets take
the lead 2 to 1.

That is the basic Soviet
philosophy, teamwork, teamwork.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] With the
clock running down

in the first period,
the Soviets were poised

to take a two to one lead
into the locker room.

[Commentator] 15 seconds
to go in the period

and it's cleared out.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] 10-9
now left in the period.

A drop-pass for Christian
with six seconds,

comes to the red line
and shoots one in!

Two seconds before the
end of the first period

was slap shot from
the neutral zone.

It was easy shot
for the goalie.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] He scores!

[indistinct yelling]

[speaking Russian]

It's gonna count.

The US ties the game
2 to 2 and the Soviets

are banging their
sticks on the ice.

A poor play by goalie Tretiak.

[speaking Russian]

Coach Tikhonov
was absolutely mad.

And he was not sure on
Tretiak at that moment.

Then Tikhonov came,
started screaming.

Was me and those two goalies
was right next to me.

Tretiak and Myshkin.

[Interviewer] What was the
reaction with the players?

[speaking Russian]

[Interviewer] What
did you tell him

When he said you're out?

[speaking Russian]

[Interviewer] As captain
did you say, excuse me, Victor

maybe it's not a good idea.

[Interviewer] When they
took Tretiak out of the game.

What did you think?

[Interviewer] When
you're watching.

I guess why he pulled
out the goaltender.

Send the message to all I'm the
greatest coach in the world.

I can use any goaltender,
I can do whatever I want.

He miscalculated.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Makarov
skating, splits the defense...

and then can't
get the shot away.

A break for the US.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] This is
Broten for the US. Number 9.

[whistle blows]

And we've got a penalty
coming up on the Soviets.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] So the Americans
with a power play opportunity.

13 to go on the
game, 3-2 Soviets.

Silk comes back out to Ramsey.

Long slap shot,
saved by Myshkin,

Eruzione, his rebound
shot was wide.

[Commentator 2] 19 seconds to go,
in the power play, 11.29 in the game.

And this could be
the last opportunity

on this power play for the US.

[speaking Russian]

Tie would be good
for us. Tie with the US

would give us a good chance
to beat Sweden last game

and become the Olympic
champions, but.

[Commentator] And
it comes to Balderis.

He leaves it for Zhluktov.

Zhluktov number 22,
passed to Makarov.

Craig makes the save.

Balderis back of the net,
tries to get it out in front.

Loose puck out in front
and Davy Christian

able to get his stick on it.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Going out to center
and then Schneider with a long shot.

Good save by Myshkin.

Off his hands to the far corner.

Pavelich comes over,
it's knocked out!

Eruzione! Goal!

Eruzione has scored and the
United States leading 4 to 3.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] That goal
coming at the 10 minute mark.

Exactly halfway
through the period.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] And it
looked like it hit the post.

[Commentator 2] It did, it did.

Maltsev was wide open,
there he is again.

[Commentator speaking Russian]

Tried to score on
this goal, it was tough.

[Commentator] Vasiliev,
picks up the lead puck.

There's Zhluktov, in
on Craig, saved by him,

stops the rebound.

[speaking Russian]

One goal. Tie the game.
Gold medal.

No goal, second place.

[Commentator] Mikhailov
leaving it to Petrov.

Petrov stealing it
over the blue line.

Kharlamov. Back of the net.

The Americans take possession.

[speaking Russian]

Ooh, heart beating.

Something happens
with my stomach

and I feel nervous
and trembling.

Let them score. Let them score.

Make a pass. Make a pass.

[Commentator] 2.25,
2.24, 2.23 remaining.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Mikhailov,
back out to Bilyaletdinov.

43 seconds remaining.

[Commentator] Petrov with it.
The Americans on top 4 to 3.

Long shot, Craig get a piece
of it to sweep it away.

28 seconds.

[speaking Russian]

[crowd roaring]

You see and not believe it.

You see the celebrating
cannot believe you lost it.

It's tough to describe,
you know, when you look

at the guys who
celebrates for 10 minutes,

not doing anything anymore.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] The
United States has done it

defeating the Soviet Union, the
most improbable circumstance

you could ever have imagined
before these Olympics started.

The final score, the USA 4,
the Soviet Union 3.

[Reporter] The game ended
at about 4 AM Moscow time.

As the clocked ticked
away the final seconds,

with the US ahead 4-3,
there was stunned silence,

people not yet
fully comprehending

the first Soviet Olympic
hockey defeat in 12 years.

One shopper watching the flag
waving proud at Lake Placid

said to a neighbor, "Carter
must have ordered them to win."

[speaking Russian]

Then when we lost the
game it was kind of,


We couldn't believe
it, we lost it.

30 years later I
can blame myself

not to be the best in this one.

That's for sure.

[speaking Russian]

[Interviewer] What
did you write that night

about the hockey game?

That we lost. Nothing special.

I wrote to TASS a short story
that Russian team played

and you have seen how
they played. That's it.

[Interviewer] You
wouldn't try to recreate

-the drama-
-Next morning.

No. What was the drama?

Look, maybe it's a
problem of Americans.

You see once a crazy kid kissed
Sophia Loren, for example.

And he's telling till
the rest of his life.

Oh, I kissed Sophia Loren.

Ask Sophia Loren if
she remember this.

No. Good Lord.

That's different point of view.

[speaking Russian]

[Crowd] USA! USA! USA! USA!

[Anastasia] How did you feel?

-When we drive back?

It was horrible.

This awful feeling.

This was worst feeling probably.

[Interviewer] I'm
wondering what your father

thought of the game
at Lake Placid?

[Narrator] From
the day the Soviets

received their silver
medals at Lake Placid

there began a struggle for
the soul of Soviet hockey

a struggle between the
way of Anatoli Tarasov

and the way of Viktor Tikhonov.

Trust versus obedience.
Men against the system.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] Vladimir
Petrov and team captain,

Boris Mikhailov, were
told that they had played

their last game for
the Soviet Union.

From Tarasov's famous troika
the only one to remain

was 33-year-old
Valeri Kharlamov.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] During a
European club tournament

in the summer of 1981,
Kharlamov was in fine form,

winning the trophy
for best forward.

Kharlamov returned to
Moscow with his teammates

to get ready for
the Canada Cup,

their first trip back to North
America since Lake Placid.

[Slava] We were sitting on the bus and
the doctor walk in the bus

and said, Valeri, that
Tikhonov want to talk to you.

When Kharlamov got
out of the bus,

15 minutes later he's come
back, pull out his bag

from the bus and he
said this crushed me,

I'm not going guys.

This was shock for everybody.

Valeri was seen on the
sidewalk with a hockey bag

and waved to us and...

[speaking Russian]

[Igor] When we arrived in
Winnipeg next morning,

waking up and going
down for breakfast,

so, you know, you watch
the TV and there's things

you couldn't understand, they
show highlights of Kharlamov.

We didn't understand
what's going on. No English.

And then they explain
to us, you know,

he had been killed
in a car accident.

[Narrator] While the team
was traveling to Canada,

Kharlamov and his wife, Irina,
were driving outside Moscow.

Irina was at the wheel.

They collided with an oncoming
truck, killing them both.

In Canada, Slava Fetisov argued
that the team should return

home for the funeral of
their most beloved player.

Tikhonov kept the
team in Canada.

Though open defiance of
authority was unheard of

in the Soviet Union, at that
moment a fault line was created

between player and coach.

And it would continue to widen

for the rest of
Fetisov's career.

[Slava] We couldn't do anything
about what Tikhonov did,

but we would never forget this.

So, we played.

[Narrator] The Soviets
faced Wayne Gretzky

and Team Canada in the
winner take all Final match.

[Commentator] Krutov
off the center ice.

Krutov and the... backed
away and they score,

Makharov has been caught off
a lead pass over the line,

Larionov getting
ready, he scores!

Larionov makes it 6 to 1.

[speaking Russian]

The game is over.

The Soviet Union has
defeated Team Canada 8 to 1

in the Final Sudden Death
game of the Canada Cup.

[Slava] And when we landed to
Moscow and I jump on a bus

and went right to the cemetery.

Myself, Kasatonov, and Krutov,

become like, you
know, supporters.

[speaking Russian]

[Announcer] 1984.

The names are Fetisov,
Krutov, and Tretiak.

World Champions in
1981, '82, and '83.

This is coach Viktor
Tikhonov's team,

the new direction
of Soviet hockey.

[Narrator] By the
1984 Olympics every

was on reclaiming the gold
they'd lost at Lake Placid.

The team's new captain
was Slava Fetisov.

What the players didn't know
was that North American teams

had begun selecting them
in the NHL's annual draft.

In 1983, Vladislav Tretiak

had been drafted by
the Montreal Canadians.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Viktor
Tikhonov, you know,

the joke in our
country, of course,

was that we figured he'd
be in Siberia by now.

[Commentator] Up ahead to...

their captain Tretiak in a
save for a save of the game.

[Commentator] Pavlov
shot, a save by Tretiak!

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Tretiak with a shutout

and the gold medal belongs
to the Soviet Union.

[Narrator] When
Tretiak retired he

[Igor] We were in the Army.

There is no way you can tell
the guys my contract is up,

so I'm gone.
I'm a free agent. No.

You have signed for 25 years.

Playing alongside of the
Kharlamov and Mikhailov

and Tretiak, and you
see what happen to them.

And you see what
gonna happen to us.

So how are you going to stay?

[Narrator] In 1985, changes
were beginning to happen

in the Soviet Union: a new
Communist party leader,

Mikhail Gorbachev, a lot
of new openness in society

called glasnost, and political
reforms known as perestroika.

[Reporter] The Soviet Union,
which has been bragging a lot

lately about its new openness,
is now being challenged

to grant more freedom
to its hockey players,

freedom to join the NHL.

[Commentator] And now introducing
your New Jersey Devils.

[Lou Lamoriello] I came to the Devils
in '87 and the first thing I did

was look at the reserve list
just to see what the potential

players were coming forward.

Viacheslav Fetisov's name
stuck out that he was drafted.

I asked the question of why?

And the owner of the team at
that time, Dr. John McMullin,

said that sooner or later
it's going to be a free world.

[Commentator] He gets it up ahead and
before he can get there,

Fetisov takes the
goal for the Soviets.

[Narrator] Prior to the
1988 Olympics in Calgary

the Soviet Sports
Agency told Slava

that if he and the team
delivered the gold medal

he'd be released from the Army
so he could play in the NHL.

[Lou] When I was
in Calgary in '88,

and certainly I
was watching him.

[Commentator] Mikhailov
hands it to the Soviets.

[Lou] The hockey sense that
he had was something special.

[Commentator] Circling to Fetisov,

getting all the way
in and he scores!

He was a superior player
at that time who, in my mind,

could be an elite player in
the National Hockey League.

They would not allow
me to speak to him.

I did get the opportunity to
speak to his coach, Tikhonov,

and that was the
first indication I had

that I was talking to myself.

[speaking Russian]

[Commentator] Ladies
and gentlemen, the captain

of the Gold Medal Team,
Viacheslav Fetisov of Team USSR.

[Narrator] Despite fulfilling
his end of the bargain,

Slava learned that he
would not be allowed

to leave the Soviet Union.

Over the following months,
Lou Lamoriello persisted

with Soviet authorities and
finally won an invitation

to Moscow to meet face to face.

[Lou] I was to go with a contract.

There was a promise that
they would allow him to go.

[Narrator] Meanwhile, Slava
was summoned to the Kremlin

where he was awarded
the Order of Lenin,

the Soviet Union's highest honor for
service to his country.

[Slava] The Deputy Minister of
Defense came to congratulate

and pull me before the
ceremony to the special room.

Tikhonov was there and he said,

"I guess, Slava, they
decide to release you

from the Army and you're
going to sign the contract.

You deserve it. Get lots
of success. Time to go."

And I said to Tikhonov,
"Viktor, I'm right. Time to go."

And Tikhonov said,
"Yeah, it's time to go,

but I need them
for another year."

He stabbed me in the back.

I'm getting ready to
sign the contract.

[Lou] We actually met in a
room above the 4th floor.

Army Generals in uniform.

There were about
10 of us in there.

Had the contract with me.

And as soon as I walk in
the room I find eyes of Lou,

he look at me, and I kind of
show him this way, you know.

Slava and I made
contact, eye to eye.

There was just a comfort
that his expression gave me

that I could trust him.

[Narrator] That night, Slava
secretly came to Lou's hotel,

reaching his room
by a back stairway.

[Lou] I heard the knock
on the door.

I opened the door
and it's Slava.

And he came in and
somebody came with him.

And then I got the impression
certainly by his eyes

and an interpreter
that my room was wired.

The room was bugs a
hundred percent, no question.

So we tried to, use the
fingers to communicate.

Communication was going
to be by paper and pencil.

It was like a spy.

Mr. Lamoriello.

were saying nothing.

It was the notes that were
being passed back and forth

that were saying everything.

I would love to come
and play for New Jersey

in the United States.

Now we had to find the
way it could be done.

[Narrator] In late
December of 1988,

the Soviets traveled to
the US for a Super Series

where their opponents included
the New Jersey Devils.

Slava received yet
another promise,

that after the Series he'd
be allowed to stay in the US

and finish the season
with the Devils.

What's the current
status of this thing?

We keep hearing yes
and then we hear no

and then we hear maybe.

Well, really, the
status right now,

it relies in the hands
of the Soviet government.

We have no control over
what is happening right now,

neither has Fetisov.

[Commentator] Will he or
will he not be the first Soviet

National Team member
to play in the NHL?

Fetisov winding up.
There's the shot, he scores!

Fetisov had all the room in
the world to let the shot go.

It is possible for
him to stay here.

[Reporter] Now?

Ah, not now. Eventually.

[Slava] I was waiting for
decision in my room

and Lou came with a
translator and says,

Slava they'll never let you go.

And I tried to
convince him to defect.

I had it all arranged.
I thought it would be very simple.

You know, he stayed
and the team left

and he'd be here in
the United States.

I said, Lou, I cannot
run from my country.

Please, I try my best,
and I cannot run.

He looked at me and he
said, "I have to do this

the right way, even
though it's the hard way.

If you will stay with me
through this, we'll find the way,

but I have to open the
door for future players."

[Slava] I went back to
Soviet Union as a team.

Lots of reporters
was in the airport

and one of the young
journalists said,

"Slava, you look like you
want to say something."

And I said at the interview,

"I'm not going to play for
the Tikhonov team anymore."

This was a shock.

[Igor] The headline was:
"I don't want to play for team,

which has Tikhonov as a head coach."

So he just like
signed the verdict.

[Narrator] Communist
Party officials

summoned the team to a meeting.

Tikhonov gave
Slava an ultimatum:

Apologize or be permanently
banned from hockey.

[Slava] They turn the
things around.

I'm bad guy and the coach,
Tikhonov, he is a good guy.

Alex was there.

[Narrator] Slava's teammates
were given the opportunity

to weigh in. Slava's
roommate, and best friend,

Alexei Kasatonov,
took the floor.

He can say
something support me.

He can not to say anything,
or he can blame me

for what I did.
He did blame me for what I did.

[speaking Russian]

[Interviewer] But you really
felt that he should stay.

Probably was scared, like
everybody in the country.

They call my mom.
She start crying.

She said, "Slava,
you should apologize.

Maybe you did something wrong,"
you know, they forgive you,

you know, it's, you
know, blah-blah-blah.

I mean, they tried to
put so much pressure.

Lou called me
every day at home,

make sure I'm
alive and I'm good.

And every time he'd say,
"Slava, Lou. You okay?"

I'm okay. That's it.

And I'd get no chance to
talk about anything else.

[Lou] I became such
an admirer of him,

it became more than a player.

You know, we were dealing with
a person as well as a player.

And both of them
were very special.

[Narrator] The Soviet
team was without Slava

for the first time
in over a decade.

[Slava] I come once in a
while to see the game.

It was hard. This
wasn't easy to do.

It was a tough time because
he was the heart of the team.

And soul of the team.

[speaking Russian]

[Narrator] With Slava
restored by his teammates

as their captain,
the Soviet Union won

the 1989 World Championships

and Slava was named
Best Defenseman.

Come back home with
team and it's the same guy

who was spoke to me and
Tikhonov a year before and I said,

"Mr. General, now you
let me go from the Army?"

He said, "No, Slava. You're
going to be very busy

from now on. You're a
champion again and you're best

defenseman, and you're
captain," and stuff like that,

and I said, "No, no, no, no,
no, no. I want to ask you

Mr. General to make me meet
the Minister of Defense."

He said, "You understand that's
the second most power guy

in the Soviet system.

He's so busy and it's
almost impossible."

[Narrator] One week
later, Slava and Tikhonov

were summoned to the office
of the Minister of Defense.

This was high door.

Open the door and it's
huge office. Huge.

And you can see on the far wall

and it's the
Minister of Defense.

He just start screaming at me.

You such and such.
You know, you try to run away

from your country and
especially to those Americans

who are our enemy
and stuff like that.

You know, what I can do is
I can send you to a place

where nobody nearby,
you know, you'll be there,

you and white bear
and nothing else.

I put my hands in the
pockets and I said,

"Why are you screaming at me?"

There was a pile of the
papers and then there's

a pen pull out and write down,
while he's screaming at me,

"To Minister of Defense.
Release me from the Army."

And I sign and put
right in front of him.

And I said, "I hope
you can keep the word

of the Minister of Defense
and release me from the Army,"

and get up and
start walking away.

I think they jump up to
the ceiling right away

and start screaming at my back.

"You gonna be sorry
rest of your life

what you did right now.
I promise you."

They tried very
hard to break me.

Then finally they realized
they cannot break me.

[Narrator] For the next
week there was only silence,

then suddenly and irreversibly,

Slava Fetisov was
released from the Army,

the first time the Soviet
Union ever granted a citizen

the right to leave the country
and work as a free man.

Before Slava left, he made one
last visit to an old friend.

I call him, I said,
"Anatoli, I want to come to see,

talk to you." He said, "Of course.

Bring your sneakers and the uniform."

I didn't expect anything else.

We're going to do
some work out here.

Then we talk about situation,
he said, you have to remember,

you're one of the best
players to play for the Soviet

National Team and I know it's
not going to be easy for you.

You can do it.

[speaking Russian]

I think he got a huge
heart, bigger than himself.

He was a good man.

It was the last time I see him.

[Slava] I'm first Soviet citizen
who got multiple entrance

working visa, and I can go and
come back anytime you wish.

[speaking Russian]

[Slava] And I think it's first Soviet

not pay anything to the system.

I got my own contract
and this means

the Iron Curtain was
not existing anymore.

Lou picked me up from the
airport and, I understand,

he's my boss, but looked
like we met each other

like brothers. He was so happy.

He was almost, I don't know,
maybe some tears appear

in my eyes, but it
was so emotional.

[Commentator] Fetisov,
in the slot! Score!

[Narrator] After five
years with the Devils,

Slava was traded to
the Detroit Red Wings.

As Slava had dreamed younger
Russian players followed him.

And Igor Larionov joined Slava
on the so-called Russian Five

that helped the Red Wings
win the Stanley Cup.

[Commentator] Only seconds left,
into the zone

the Detroit Red Wings
and the Stanley Cup.

[Narrator] 17 years
after Lake Placid, the 1980

Soviet Hockey Team finally had
a champion on American ice.

[Slava] And I remember when the
final seconds was gone

and I looked to the
people and I understand.

Some way I could
picture, you know,

I never see people
to be so happy.

Steve Yzerman pass cup to me
and the first thing I started

to look to Igor, and I said,
"Igor, let's go together."

If I remember it was the
first time in history

two guys was carrying the cup.

When I get around, Gary
Bettman still on ice

and I skate to him and I said,

"Listen, Gary, I need
the cup to Moscow."

He look at me at
the cloud, "No".

I said, "Why?" He said,
"Lots of criminals."

And I said, "I won the
Cup, I want it to Moscow.

It's my town."

To stand on the Red Square in
Moscow with the Stanley Cup

in your hand, and
the Russian names

engraved on this great trophy.

You wanna talk about miracle?

That's a miracle.

[Reporter] You're pretty
proud of him, aren't you?

Yes, I am. Very much.

It's not everything,
believe me.

Put this medal down.

How many more?

Oh, the silver's the best one.

I know it's hockey, it's a game,

but sometimes you
can change the world.

[crowd cheers]