Tretiak, who starred in goal for the former Soviet Union squad in the ’72 series that gripped the hockey world, said Monday he hopes to propose a new eight-game event to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “This year is important for us because 35 years ago we played – four games in Canada and four games in Russia,” said Tretiak, now president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. “I’d like to see us make eight games again.
“I would like to talk to Gary Bettman. Maybe a little bit later.”
Both Tretiak and Bettman were at the Bell Centre for the jersey retirement ceremony of former Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden on Monday night. Dryden played against Tretiak in the 1972 series that was won by Canada on Paul Henderson’s dramatic goal with less than a minute remaining in the eighth and final game in Moscow.
A new series, however, is unlikely so long as Tretiak’s Russian federation holds out of the International ice Hockey Federation’s player-transfer agreement with the NHL.
Tretiak recalled how nervous he was for the opening game in 1972 at the Montreal Forum, when the Soviets shocked Canada with a 7-3 win.
“I worried about playing against the big all-star Canadian hockey players because I didn’t know who I was playing against,” he said. “My legs shook before the game because I never played in a big stadium.
“Everybody was nervous, but after the first period, we played better and better.”
Tretiak said he hoped to play for the Canadiens after the 1984 Olympics, but said the “stupid” government in the former communist Soviet Union wouldn’t let him.
Now Tretiak hopes his 10-year-old grandson, Max, who wears his old No. 20 in Russian minor hockey, will get that chance one day.
“My dream is for my grandson to play for the Montreal Canadiens,” he said.
Dryden, who considers the Summit Series a career highlight, invited Tretiak personally to the ceremony. Tretiak introduced Dryden to the crowd and when the two former goaltenders met at centre ice, Tretiak grasped Dryden’s hand and raised it high.
“I’m very proud for Ken,” said Tretiak. “He’s my friend.
“I like to support him because it’s a special day.”