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Read Norm Macdonald’s stirring tribute to 1972 Summit Series: ‘Cold wars don’t end in ties’

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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Some things to know about comedian Norm Macdonald:

1. He's the most underrated "Weekend Update" anchor in 'SNL' history; 2. He tells the greatest joke ever written about a guy dismembering his family, putting them in a duffel bag and presenting it to the devil; 3. He's Canadian; 4. Hence, he has a Summit Series fetish.

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On Monday, Norm used his Twitter feed (@normmacdonald) for a remarkable 68-tweet recollection of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia.

He was eight years old when Canada won the eight-game epic that captivated two nations.

We've collected some of the tweets that cover Game 8 of the series, but seriously: Go to Norm's Twitter feed and read it all. It's like a digital tone poem.

(Reddit Hockey also has the full collected tweets if you don't want to read backwards in the timeline.)

Here's Norm Macdonald on the end of the Summit Series:

We go to Game 7, and hopes of winning the series, are pretty much gone now. But we need this win or we have to start a Game 8 as losers. My friends and I agree. If we lose tonight, then Game 8 will see the ice of Moscow stained red with Russian blood.

We win 4-3. The winning score belongs to Paul Henderson. And now there is hope. The biggest fear for me is the fear that I had had since the start. A tie.

And now worse news comes. The Soviets, who had gone to great pains to make this thing an 8-game series with no overtimes, make a statement. The Soviets say there will be no tie after all. If this game ends in a tie they will claim victory, as they have scored more series' goals.

Oh, well, I'm sure it won't come to that.

Game 8. There will be no school in Canada today. A history class? Ridiculous. History instead. But there is school, I'm told in the morning. You can watch at home or at school. School with the older kids from grades 5, 6, and 7.

The gymnasium is packed. Blue mats are everywhere. The teachers are like children today. "We're gonna win", I say to anyone, "You'll see. Cournoyer will score the winner."

"Helluva time for Bobby Orr to be hurt", the Latin teacher says. "Goddamned Commies", says Mr. Rose.

The puck is dropped and all is silent. The entire first period is very tough to watch. But we get through it. Together. In the first intermission the gymnasium is alive with raw nerve. The young all say we will win for sure. The old men don't.

Mr. McCarthy has a new explanation for our upcoming national loss. It's the WHA's the real culprit. Team Canada with no Bobby Hull. Harrumph. The second period is like taking a punch in the gut from the school bully.

I go outside so the big kids won't see my tears. Mr. McCarthy, smoking a cigarette. "Don't worry kid, things don't work out a lot in life."

The unimaginable is 20 minutes away now, the gym is grim. But Esposito scores and we all go nuts and we're running in the gym now. Sitting cannot contain this.

And then the greatest moment in my life.

Yvan Cournoyer, my hero, scores and ties the game. Or does he. My elation pushes me into the arms of an old lady that taught me geography. Everyone is everywhere, cheering. And I replay the goal in my mind. And I see that something is missing. The red light.

And I see the little M climbing over the boards and into the crowd, we are all surrounding the TV on wheels now, Eagleson is there. The score counts. The game is tied.

THE SERIES IS TIED!!!!!!!! And still a half a frame to play. But no extra time.

That was the deal.

And now talk turns to the tie scenario. "A tie's a tie" says Jimmy, "and it don't matter what the Russians say." Maybe, they'll play overtime because nobody expected this, I say. I had expected it in the way of dread.

I'd rather The Russians score than it end up a tie, I said very quietly and to myself, and then felt very bad about having said it.

Two minutes left. The old man I don't know says we'll win the rematch and this time we'll have Hull, and Sanderson too. Trudeau will see to it. There's only a minute or so left now, but Cournoyer was on the ice and an small boy's hope has no bounds.

We're all on our feet now and Team Canada has it in enemy territory. Cournoyer has it. "Cournoyer is my guy" I yell. Everyone knows this.

Cold wars don't end in ties.

Cournoyer blasts a shot. Henderson has a chance to redirect it but falls and crashes into the boards behind the net. The puck gets past 2 Russian defensemen and finds the stick of Espo, who swats it toward the net. And now from nowhere is Henderson.

It's just Henderson and Tretiak now. Everyone else alive watches. I feel like I'm choking. Henderson, so close to the Russian netminder, shoots and is denied, but then the second. Henderson scores with 38 seconds left. The nation is in unbelief.

The old come to their feet. I go to the air. I'm still there.

Wow.

Can every game have this kind of Twitter play-by-play? Or, more to the point, can Norm Macdonald recap every important hockey game of the last 40 years on his feed?

s/t to friend of Puck Daddy Ritch Duncan

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