Tretiak

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by BlueMcGreen, Sep 22, 2011.

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  1. BlueMcGreen

    BlueMcGreen Registered User

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    Sorry I looked and was shocked to find nothing.

    There are a lot of "greatest goalies" debate on this forum. But Tretiak's name never comes up and this has allways surprised me. Guy is a legend. Why no love?
     
  2. Pear Juice

    Pear Juice Registered User

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    Voted 8th best goaltender (44th overall) of all time in the 2009 version of the HOH-top100. An amazing feat. Generally I think he's hard to appreciate as his body of work against NHL-calibre players is quite small. Tretiak was one of the most important pieces of one of the best hockey teams ever, the 70-80 Soviet national team. 5-times Soviet MVP and a 1st team All-Star 14 years straight from 1971 to 1984.

    As with all European stars it's hard to put him into a ranked list where at least 90% of the players had NHL careers. My gut feeling is that I would want him higher than 8th, but the guys ranked above him are exceptional players just as well.
     
  3. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    To say that his name "never comes up" is an exaggeration. Anyway, the reasons for him not usually being in the top 3 or so:

    - First and foremost, he didn't play in the NHL and most posters here are North American (i.e. the same problem as with a lot of other greats from Eastern Bloc)
    - People often try to prove his greatness by referring to single great performances (1975 game vs. the Habs, 1981 Canada Cup final etc.), which is not quite enough
    - His world championship record is not as impressive as it probably should be (he was named the best goalie 3 times... it's not bad but shouldn't it be more like 5-10 times or something?)
    - In the 1970s, Tretiak wasn't always even considered to be the best goalie in Europe, it was quite often Jiri Holecek (though Tretiak more or less proved himself against the best Canadians, which Holecek never really did). Don't forget that USSR lost the world championship to Czechoslovakia three times in the 1970s (1972, 1976-77); that is obviously not all Tretiak's fault, though

    On a personal note, I wouldn't put him above, say, Hasek and Roy either, but he belongs in the top 10 in my opinion. But from what I've seen (dozens of games from the 1970s and 1980s), the difference between his good day and his bad day was pretty huge. He is rarely referred to as 'inconsistent' anywhere, but that's what I personally think.

    Some of his great performances (addition to those already mentioned above):

    1976 vs. Boston Bruins (1975-76 Super Series)
    1978 vs. Czechoslovakia (1978 World Championships - A VERY important game for USSR - beat Holecek in that one)
    The whole 1981 Canada Cup tournament
    The first 4 games in the 1972 Summit Series
    Games 1 and 2 in the 1974 Summit series

    And some of his bad ones (where he doesn't look like a legend at all):

    1979 Challenge Cup, game 2 (faced 16 shots, let in 4 goals, just terrible)
    1980 vs. Buffalo Sabres, the 1979-80 Super series (lets in numerous shots from bad angles, doesn't get much help from his team/defence, but it doesn't change the fact that he plays like crap)
    The whole 1980 Olympic tournament was a bad one for him
    3-8 loss vs. Czechoslovakia in the 1977 Izvestia tournament
    2-7 loss vs. Czechoslovakia in the 1974 World Championships

    But overall, I would think that "he didn't play in the NHL" is what prevents most North Americans (at least) to put him at the top of their lists.
     
  4. Reds4Life

    Reds4Life Registered User

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    I think Tretiak is generally overrated. He was no better than Holecek.
     
  5. Pear Juice

    Pear Juice Registered User

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    Indeed, as the interface between the NHL and Euro stars like Tretiak or Holecek is so slim, the arguments usually falls back to these kind of specific game moments, just as you say. I think if one would put such emphasis on single game performance it would be possible to find them for all of the great goaltenders over the years. Everyone's had a stinker now and then. It's just that since there are so few games to choose from when it comes to Euros, their stinkers are given unproportionally much credit.

    Obviously it works both ways as the moments when Tretiak came up big are also commonly brought up. It seems to me though that NHL stars are much more judged by their career achievements than Tretiak is. This is only natural as the accessible games are so much more numerous.

    Tretiak was elected the best goaltender in the USSR for 14 straight years. Has any player ever had such a stretch of dominance over his peers? He was a USSR MVP 5 times. Sure his competition wasn't the best with CSKA Moscow being an unbelievably stacked team but 5 times is damned impressive, even just competing with his own teammates. By comparison, the only NHL players to ever win the Hart Trophy 5 times or more are Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. I'm not saying that he should be compared to Gretzky or Howe, but it does say something about his absolute dominance in the Soviet league during the 70s and early 80s.
     
  6. plusandminus

    plusandminus Registered User

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    Great post. Those are basically my impressions too.

    I also had the impression that the Soviet national team overall could look a bit poor defensively at times.

    Regarding CSSR, I think their most important game of the WC's probably was against Soviet (much due to political reasons), similar to Finland's reputation of focusing most on the game(s) vs Sweden.
     
  7. Dark Shadows

    Dark Shadows Registered User

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    That merely makes Holecek underrated.
     
  8. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    With the exception of Vasiliev, I'm not too high on any Soviet defenseman of the early/mid-1970s; not even Vladimir Lutchenko, who has those numerous all-star selections in the Soviet league.

    In many games, they indeed look very poor in their own zone; can't get the puck out even if their life depended on it, lots of giveaways etc. And there were only a couple of good defensive forwards (Petrov and Shadrin) IMO. Around 1978, though, the whole team seemed to get a lot better defensively. I'm not sure if the dmen got that much better per se, but rather their defensive play as a whole improved. The team rarely got beaten post-1978, and VERY rarely more than 2-3 goals were scored on them, despite some mediocre goalies like Mylnikov. Most notable exception was the 1987 Canada Cup, of course, but hey, Gretzky and Lemieux playing on the same line much of the time...

    Yes, Czechoslovakia often seemed to play their best hockey against USSR. I don't think it's a coinsidence that they started winning those games more consistently after the happenings of 1968.
     
  9. KingGallagherXI

    KingGallagherXI Registered User

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    Better than Dryden? I kind of doubt that.
     
  10. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    All-time I think Tretiak's a top 10 goalie of all-time. He routinley goes in the top 50-60 of the All-Time Drafts here on the board. I wonder how good he could have been in the NHL.
     
  11. Pear Juice

    Pear Juice Registered User

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    1978 is also the year Viktor Tikhonov took over as head coach of CSKA. And also the time, give or take a few months, when Slava Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov joined CSKA. Coincidence? I think not. Surely one of the best teams ever assembled.
     
  12. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Amongst the most overrated players around.
     
  13. Zine

    Zine Registered User

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    I'd say within the top 5-10 all-time.
     
  14. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    When they played head to head, Tretiak did tend to outplay him, sometimes by a significant margin. Probably had more to do with Dryden sucking against the Russians though.
     
  15. VMBM

    VMBM Crawfish Fiesta

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    Actually, it was in 1977. And Tikhonov had a rough start - the aforementioned 3-8 loss to CSSR in December '77. But pretty soon he got the team into top form, and outside the super stars, there were a lot of slightly lesser players like the Golikov brothers, Shepelev, Drozdetsky, Bilyaletdinov and Khomutov who were playing really good hockey in the late 1970s and/or early 1980s.

    Between 1978 and 1983, they lost only one game of any great importance; the you-know-what-match in 1980. And when I see games from that time period - apart from "The Miracle" and some few others - I think I'm watching the greatest TEAM of all-time.

    In the Seventies, there were generally more stars (the top line of course, but also Maltsev, Yakushev, Vikulov, Shadrin... Balderis, Kapustin...), but the 80s team was a lot more consistent (the stats also prove that) plus more physical and better defensively. Tikhonov gets a lot of bad rap - often from his own former players! - but he knew what he was doing.
     
  16. Pear Juice

    Pear Juice Registered User

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    There's a fantastic Swedish documentary called 'CCCP Hockey' which focuses on the Green unit and Tikhonov. I think it was released in the mid 00s. It features one hour of interviews with Larionov, Makarov, Krutov, Fetisov, Kasatonov and Tikhonov. For supposedly the first time, all five them speak out on the break-up in 1989. It's fascinating, yet horrible to hear how so tight teammates have become bitter enemies. Kasatonov and Fetisov still after more than 20 years haven't forgiven each other. I think it won a couple of prizes for sport documentaries, I have no idea if it's available in any other language than Swedish though. All of the interviews are in Russian (subtitled to Swedish) though if you speak it. It is available online through 'different means'. ;)

    I would say The 80s Russian team is definitely held in the highest regard in Sweden. Tikhonov's team routinely beat us for 10 straight years, which is why the 1987 World Championship was celebrated very intensely. Sweden wen't 50 games without a win against Tikhonov. Losing 1-13 at home in 1981 in the gold medal game. I get a feeling that the 70s team is more cherished in North America, is that so? And what team is/was more cherished in Russia?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  17. Up the Irons

    Up the Irons Registered User

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    same reason Fetisov doesn't get mentioned with the top Dmen. Fetisov was probably better than Bourque, which means top 5, yet guys like Robinson and Park get far more mention.

    I'm not sure if Tretiak was better or worse than a Hall, Dryden or Fuhr, but he is definitely more important. Tretiak was the first goalie to have positional specialized training. The Soviets were far ahead of North American in training. We basically just took shots on our goalies until we copied some of the training that Tretiak was doing.
     
  18. Up the Irons

    Up the Irons Registered User

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    hmmm. interesting stuff. thanks for that.
     
  19. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

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    Actually, this is quite wrong. The Soviets did almost no training for goaltending. Tretiak developed most their training methods personally. This was also one reason they had such poor goaltending aside from Tretiak. Its true that Dryden saw some of Tretiak's training methods and copied them though. Tretiak talks about it in his book in some detail.
     
  20. Hammer Time

    Hammer Time Registered User

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    Tretiak has to be one of the most influential goalies though - he was the goalie coach in Chicago when Belfour won his Vezinas, and Brodeur credits him as one of his main influences in his autobiography.
     
  21. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    He was/is under-rated.

    Remember that scene from High Plains Drifter when Eastwood walks into the Saloon, orders a beer and a bottle, some Goof challenges him & he replys with "a lot faster than you'll ever be"?. Remember?... That was Vlad the Impaler. Dryden was a joke amongst the Red Army Team. Tretiak was & forever will be one of if not the best Stone Cold Killers of all time. A REAL player. Those teams had more respect for Gerry Cheevers playing on a WHA All Star Team with Bobby Hull and a bunch of Euros than they ever had for Dryden, Park, White, Clarkie & Espo. Tretiak even confirmed it by saying in his book that "Cheevers was the best I ever saw" and went on to redicule Ken Dryden specifically. ... .Even amongst NHL'ers of the time, Dryden wasnt much better than average. IMHO, Dryden, like Hasek. is grossly over-rated. Anyone who has ever played at the highest levels will be only to happy to confirm it... Im waiting.

    One, a 1X brilliant performance in the spring of 71 and a Legend is born huh?. Effn' Montrealers'.. If God had Wings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  22. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Ken Dryden

    Stated this previously. Ken Dryden was the first big or tall goalie who played big or tall, not losing size with inefficient movements.

    On the other hand he was from the last generation of goalies who learned the trade without a position coach at any level. Seemed to learn from his older brother Dave. As such his skating was rather weak and his puck handling weaker. On a team without a mobile defence that was excellent at puck handling, the "dump and chase" would have been extremely effective.

    Like Roberto Luongo, he had problems adjusting to the movement of the east / west game - reflected in his performances against the Soviets. The little button-hook move the Soviets used to get favourable shooting angles gave Dryden problems.

    On the other hand he was a gamer - able to put bad goals/games behind him. Plus his teammates had confidence in him and played for him.

    Other goalies from his era had similar backgrounds, Self-taught with little position specific coaching. The change in Bernie Parent's game after time spent with Jacques Plante is testimony to how much of an impact mentoring or coaching could have.
     
  23. GuineaPig

    GuineaPig Registered User

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    In fact, Hasek was there too... probably the single largest concentration of goaltending talent ever assembled.
     
  24. Dennis Bonvie

    Dennis Bonvie Registered User

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    Probably not.
     
  25. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Yeah no doubt Dryden didn't play well against the Russians........ever. Why that is was explained pretty well in a post above me, and I agree. The style the Russians played exploited Dryden's weaknesses while Tony Esposito was a butterfly goalie whose style suited their game better.

    But Dryden does have one thing going for him that Tretiak does not. We saw how great he was against NHL competition. We never saw that with Tretiak. I know this whole thing about "what ifs" has gotten him a little more love but we can only project how he'd do in a 50-60 game season year after year against the best players in the world. We know how Dryden did it. We don't know how Tretiak would have lasted.

    Also keep in mind, Dryden not only was selected for 5 First team all-stars, he was also 2nd (1972), 4th (1973) and 4th (1976) and 10th (1978) in Hart voting in his career. Hard to get any more Hart votes than that when Guy Lafleur is on your team though but he still fared well. So while I will admit Dryden had an excellent team in front of him, the people who actually watched the games at that time felt he was valuable to their success.

    And we are forgetting about 1972. Yes, he had some dull moments in the Summit Series, but when push came to shove he was better in the clutch than Tretiak. Yes I will forgive Tretiak for only being 20 years old then, but Dryden had only a year and a half of NHL play under his belt as well
     

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