Vladislav Tretiak was never given a chance to play in the NHL, but he captured the hearts of many North American fans when he helped the Soviets push Canada to a gigantic eight game battle in the 1972 Summit Series.
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 soon after. 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.
Full Vladislav Tretiak biography