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Hockey Hall of Fame

Despite 3 gold medals, Tretiak will never forget Lake Place 1980
- IIHF Article

Vladislav Tretiak - Russian Hockey Legend
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HockeySandwich

Vladislav Tretiak Biography
CCCP - The Hockey Nation

Vladislav Tretiak Biography
- Goaltending.net

Vladislav Tretiak Biography
-The Hockey Agency

 

 

#20 Vladislav Tretiak

Tretiak was the hero of the tournament. Not only was he a hero on the Russian front, but he became a hero on the Canadian side as well. In fact no Russian player has the respect of Canadians more so than Tretiak.

Tretiak was an unheard of 20 year old at the beginning of September 1972. He was dismissed as the weakest link of the Soviet "amateurs" due largely to a single scouting trip by Team Canada. Scouts Bob Davidson and John McLellan spent just 4 days in Russia and saw Tretiak in just one intra-squad contest. Tretiak allowed 8 goals and the Canadians chuckled at the man that was supposed to play in nets against Team Canada just a couple of weeks later.

The scouts made a huge mistake by only watching the one game. As it turned out Tretiak had spent much of the previous night partying as he was getting married the following day. As a result he played horribly before Team Canada's watchful eyes in the stands.

In the end, Tretiak chuckled the hardest. "Maybe it was a trick," hinted Tretiak years later, referring to the Russian's mysterious ways of playing possum with their sporting opponents.

Team Canada's players fully believed their scouts' observations early in game one in Montreal. Tretiak allowed a goal just 30 seconds into the game, and before the 7 minute mark it was 2-0 Canada.

But from that point on Tretiak shut the door. Tretiak emerged seemingly from nowhere to rob and frustrate Canadian shooters who peppered him relentlessly..

Canada outshot the Soviets in 6 of the 8 Summit Series games including game 4 when Tretiak stopped 21 third period shots in a 5-3 Soviet win. And while Tretiak's save percentage of .884 isn't spectacular by today's standards, his play was spectacular by any era's standards.

Ultimately, Tretiak came up one spectacular save short. Paul Henderson's goal on a rebound with 34 seconds left on a defenseless Tretiak is the series' defining moment. 

"God give him that goal," Tretiak said. "I wish Henderson not fall down behind net because maybe he never get up and never be in front of net and score.

"Lucky, just lucky. I make first save. Defense no help me, why? (Valeri) Vasiliev and (Yuri) Liapkin no help me."

Despite what Tretiak termed as his "most maddening of all goals scored on me in hockey," he has always been proud of what his team was able to accomplish in the series, and rightfully so.

Years later, Tretiak is only outdistanced by his nemesis Paul Henderson in hero status in North America. He is the only Soviet player from the pre-glasnost era to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Canadians are quick to rank him among the greatest of all time.

STATISTICS

                   GP   W   L   T   GAA   S%
----------------------------------------------
Vladislav Tretiak   8    3   4   1   3.87 .884
----------------------------------------------
Career Biography
The "Georges Vezina of the Soviet Union" was introduced to North America in the legendary 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the U.S.S.R. The 20 year old instantly captured the awe of hockey fans world wide with his brilliant goaltending which almost won the series single-handedly.

The Cold War on Ice between the two world hockey powers did not get in the way Tretiak getting his praise. Other Russian superstars such as Kharlamov were just cast aside and were said to be not in the same class as the NHLers. But even though Tretiak was part of the hated Red Army, he captured the hearts of North Americans. Ask the so called experts, and
they'll tell you he was as good as any goalie to play in the NHL.

So who was this legendary goaltender ?

Vladimir Alexandrovich Tretiak was born in Orudyevo (A Moscow district) on April 25, 1952. His father was an airline pilot, which the younger Tretiak also wanted to be. As a kid Tretiak was active in Athletics, Skiing and Swimming. His mother who was a pretty good bandy hockey player gave Tretiak his first skating lessons. Tretiak played as a forward in his first years, but an injury forced him to play in goal instead. At that time he was 11 years old and it was the start of a fabulous international hockey career.

His many personal achievements include being named the First All-Star Team Goalie in the Soviet Elite League during 14 consecutive seasons; honoured as the Outstanding Player in all of Soviet hockey, a record five times; being the only Soviet player to have participated in four Olympic Games and being the only player to have won the Gold Stick as the Outstanding
Player in Europe three times

Vladislav Tretiak's personal collection of medals (over 90 in total) includes three Olympic Gold medals, one Olympic Silver medal, ten World Championships, twelve European Championships and thirteen European Cup titles He also holds a very tough record to beat. Between 1978 and 1983 he was undefeated between the pipes in 45 straight World Championship games.

The recipient of the Order of Lenin never did get a chance to fulfill his dream: to play in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens. In those days, Communists based hockey players were forbidden to go to Canada or the US. The few that defected to play faced criminal charges at home, and often the families and friends left behind would be punished severely. Once Tretiak was
quoted as saying he'd like to do a North American tour with the Canadiens. Soviet authorities forced him to say he was misquoted by western journalists. He would later set the record straight. Playing for the Canadiens was his dream, not the Red Army.

Tretiak and other great Russian stars were never given the chance to play in the NHL, so comparison with NHL superstars are tough. But by capturing the hearts and attention of North American hockey people, he played an important part in allowing future Russian stars to not only play in the NHL, but show that they are as good and even better than many North American players.

The consolation for Tretiak was that he got involved with the NHL....after his career. He became the goalie coach for the Chicago Blackhawks and helped goalies like Eddie Belfour and Dominik Hasek.

Career Statistics

Born: 4/25/1952 Orudyevo, USSR
Height: 6'1" Weight: 200lbs
Position: Goalie  Catches: L
Career Notes: 3 Olympic Gold Medals, 1 Olympic Silver Medal, 10 World Championships Gold Medals, Tournament MVP, 1981 Canada Cup, Elected into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

Season Club League GP MIN GA GAA
1968-69 CSKA Moscow USSR 3 180 2 0.67
1969-70 CSKA Moscow USSR 34 2040 76 2.24
1970-71 CSKA Moscow USSR 40 2400 81 2.03
1971-72 CSKA Moscow USSR 30 1800 78 2.60
1972-73 CSKA Moscow USSR 30 1800 80 2.67
1973-74 CSKA Moscow USSR 27 1620 94 3.48
1974-75 CSKA Moscow USSR 35 2100 104 2.97
1975-76 CSKA Moscow USSR 33 1980 100 3.03
1976-77 CSKA Moscow USSR 35 2100 98 2.80
1977-78 CSKA Moscow USSR 29 1740 72 2.48
1978-79 CSKA Moscow USSR 40 2400 111 2.78
1979-80 CSKA Moscow USSR 36 2160 85 2.36
1980-81 CSKA Moscow USSR 18 1080 32 1.78
1981-82 CSKA Moscow USSR 41 2460 65 1.59
1982-83 CSKA Moscow USSR 29 1740 40 1.38
1983-84 CSKA Moscow USSR 22 1320 40 1.82

Hockey Card Notes:

#1 - Hockey Card #103 from Future Trends 1991 retrospective Canada Cup set

#2 -Hockey Card #163 from Future Trends 1991 retrospective Canada Cup set