A Secret No Longer
His reputation as a first class goaltender was no longer limited to Russia, but spread throughout the world when he participated in the Summit Series against Canada in 1972. Just weeks prior to the series, Canadian hockey scouts had witnessed him allowing eight goals during an intra-squad contest. They went back to tell the Canadian coaches of Tretiak's poor goaltending, leading the Canadian Hockey Team to believe they had an easy win ahead of them. In the Web site dedicated to the Summit Series, the writer stated, "The scouting reports were wrong about Tretiak-not only could he stop the puck, but time would prove he was one of the all time greats." They had no idea that he had been out late the night before celebrating for his wedding the following day. This mistake would cost the Canadians dearly in the first game of the Summit Series.
In the first two minutes of the first period Tretiak allowed two goals. However, from then on he only allowed one more goal to the Canadian Hockey Team, resulting in a 7-3 Soviet victory. The Canadians were stunned, but now knew with whom they were dealing. The Canadians did go on to win the series, but not without a fight. With several wins and a tie, the Soviets gave the Canadians a run for their money. In fact, Tretiak was one save short of a victory for his team in the final game of the series. He referred to that last goal as the "most maddening of all goals scored on me in hockey," as stated on the Summit Series Web site. He was getting no support from his fellow defensemen and Paul Henderson, after falling down behind the net, shot the winning goal. Despite the loss, Tretiak made a name for himself beyond the Eastern Block. The writer for the Summit Series Web site stated, "while Tretiak's save percentage of .884 isn't spectacular by today's standards, his play was spectacular by any era's standards."
He continued to awe the hockey world by leading the Soviet Union to a Gold Medal at the 1972 Winter Olympics. The accomplishment surprised no one, and the Soviets were proud of the team they had assembled, particularly of their star goalie. Tretiak had endeared himself not only to his Soviet National Team, but also to fans of hockey everywhere. The writer for the Summit Series stated, "no Russian player has the respect of Canadians more so than Tretiak." They admired his "intuitive perception of hockey," according to Anatoly Tarasov in his book The Father of Russian Hockey: Tarasov. This prowess was apparent in a notable game on New Years Eve in 1975. The Central Red Army Squad skated to a 3-3 tie with the Montreal Canadiens. What makes the accomplishment noteworthy is that the Soviets only managed 13 shots to the Canadiens' 38.
- Vladislav Tretiak - Awards And Accomplishments
- Vladislav Tretiak - Chronology
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