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Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey [Paperback]

Todd Denault
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2010
The first full-scale biography of a legendary and award-winning NHL goalie who transformed the game.

“There are a lot of very good goalies, there are even a fair number of great goalies. But there aren’t many important goalies. And Jacques Plante was an important goalie.” Ken Dryden

On and off the ice Jacques Plante was a true original; he was extremely talented, boastful, defiant, mysterious, and complex. Throughout his tumultuous career as a goalie, he played for Montreal, New York, St. Louis, Toronto, Boston, and Edmonton. His contributions to and impact on the game were extensive and are reflected in today’s rules, equipment, and style of play. Thoroughly investigated through archival and primary research, and including interviews with figures such as Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, Dickie Moore, and Scotty Bowman, this biography sheds light on one of the most pivotal figures in the history of hockey.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey + The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey
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"In this engaging bio Todd Denault tells the story of a trailblazer."
Sports Illustrated

"A fascinating read, meticulously researched." 
— Scott Morrison

"A well researched and thorough examination of the life of an extraordinarily talented hockey player and complex man." 
— Al Strachan

"This is a long overdue examination of one of hockey's pivotal players and most colourful characters — but Todd Denault has made the wait worthwhile." 
— Roy MacGregor

"A complete, well-researched portrait of a complex man." 
— Montreal Gazette

"After just a few pages into this book it was obvious Todd Denault had written an instant classic. I can not recommend this book enough." 
— Hockeybookreviews.com

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

A member of the Society for International Hockey Research, Todd Denault is a freelance writer who has had his work featured in numerous online and print publications. A graduate of Carleton University and Lakehead University, Todd resides in Cobourg, Ontario. This is his first book.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an innovative a book as Plante was May 26 2010
By Brian Maitland TOP 500 REVIEWER
There are a few good sports biographies but fewer great ones. This is one of the greats and from a first time author at that!

Huge points for author Todd Denault using Klein and Reif's Hockey Compendium (possibly the best hockey analysis book ever done) and their massive save percentage database stats to prove just how great Plante was in an era when they only had goals against average as the stat du jour. Denault, though, doesn't fall into the trap of just using stats nor of ignoring GAA in the context of the era. He just strikes the right balance.

To be honest, I knew a lot about Plante, his wandering, knitting, asthma and his introduction of the modern mask to netminding. What I was looking for in this book was to fill me in on the pre- and post-Habs era especially his time with the Leafs and Blues and his Hasek-like ability to play outstanding goal into his 40s.

We get that in spades here. I was surprised to learn so many things such as the fact as juniors many of the stars of the '60s did get a chance to play the Soviets which makes the early shock at the Soviets' play in the 1972 Summit Series sort of bizarre given all this prior contact on the ice at the amateur level.

Without giving any more away on the surprises you'll find about the "good ole days" of the Original Six, just be assured you'll garner great sympathy for the man Jacques Plante over and above his skills on the ice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who changed the Face of Goaltending Aug. 22 2010
I really enjoed this book as I have with almost every great goaltender biography or autobiography. Plante was clearly a professional well ahead of his time with respect to the way he approached his profession. When most did not train during the off season, did not review notes about teams played, goal-scorers and the goals they scored, there was Plante doing his thing. He was cheap and in many ways a loner but he was clearly a man who did what he felt was correct and had numerous ideas that improved the goaltending trade and the game of hockey. He saw too early an end like Vezina and Sawchuk. Add this book to your goaltending library!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hockey fan? Goalie? This is a must-have. Dec 3 2009
By Thane Tierney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was lucky enough to have seen the game's greatest goalie late in his career, when he was playing with the St. Louis Blues, platooned with his old rival (and fellow Hall of Famer) Glenn Hall. He's been a hero for as long as I can remember. Denault manages to capture the rough-and-tumble world of old-time hockey with crisp, precise prose and a clear love for the history of the game. But even more importantly, he is able to freeze-frame that most mercurial of talents, goaltending, and paint a 3-D portrait of a very complex man. His research is meticulous and he's not unduly respectful of one of the game's legendary figures, rendering a vivid image without either glorifying or disparaging Plante's enduring reputation. This is the best hockey book of 2009, and rivals Randall Maggs' Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems as one of the best books ever written about a goalie. If you are a Canadiens fan, a goalie, or just a fan of the coolest sport on ice, this is a must-read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful look at hockey's golden era Sept. 30 2013
By lindapanzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although he was one of hockey's all-time greatest goalies during his lengthy playing career, which lasted from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s, Jacques Plante is probably best known as the goalie to wear, then popularize, the goalie mask. Before Plante donned a mask during a regular season NHL game in November of 1959, goalies played the game barefaced. Until Plante, goalies tended to stay in their creases while Plante revolutionized the concept of the wandering goalie.

This excellent biography is more than just a fascinating look at Plante's life, his hockey career, his most-ever 7 Vezina Trophies and his 6 Stanley Cup wins, it's an insightful look at hockey in its golden era. All of the NHL greats are here. I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. Highly recommended for sports fans.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacque Plante: The Legend Revisited! Jan. 3 2010
By Anthony Accordino - Published on Amazon.com
Jacques Plante "The Man Who Changed The Face Of Hockey", by Todd Denault, proves to be one of the finest hockey biographies ever written. The cover photo of the book immediately grabs your attention, as a blood stained Plante prepares to change hockey history, by donning the mask for the first time, after he was on the receiving end of an Andy Bathgate slapshot to the face. This book traces his poor beginnings in Shawinigan Falls, and his rise to hockey stardom with the Montreal Canadiens, and his ups and downs with the New York Rangers, ST. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, and his end of career stint with the WHA. More importantly, Jacques Plante is portrayed as the true innovator of modern day goaling in the NHL. He perfected the mask from antiquated beginnings, and improved designs for 15 years, culminating in his classic Fibrosport design[Bernie Parent etc], which at the time provided more protection then ever before. By all accounts, he was the first goalie to communicate with his defensemen with hand signals which goalies use today, to indicate icing. He was the first goalie in history to leave the crease and play the puck, which was unheard of back in the 50's. Goalies like Ed Giacomin, Ron Hextall, and of course Marty Brodeur took it to another level, but the foundation of such daring play was started by the great Jacques Plante, who's influence on the game remains intact even today. He was a complex man, who like many goalies of his day like Terry Sawchuk, was a loner who owned a brilliant hockey mind both on and off the ice. Jacques Plante died young at 57 years of age in 1986, but he leaves behind a Hall Of Fame Career, and innovations that changed the game of ice Hockey forever.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Virtuoso March 1 2010
By Pugwash - Published on Amazon.com
The mid to late 1950's spawned an era in hockey that could have been called the Golden Age of Goalies. Terry Sawchuck, Glenn Hall, Johnny Bower and Roger Crozier all patrolled the nets into the mid-1960's and beyond, but none achieved the heights and glory of Jacques Plante.

Later additions of padded greatness included Tony Esposito, Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr, and Dominek Hasek. All lay claim as the best that ever was, but Plante stays in the argument.

He was meticulous, eccentric, detached, and offbeat, but he was undeniably great. He played until he was 46 years old and took a studied, professorial approach to his craft. He was also a winner, whose ambition fueled him to seven Vezina's, five Stanley Cups and the admiration and respect of a generation of hockey fans, coaches and players.

This a crisply researched and well documented biography. It looks into the psyche of its subject in hard depth, and takes in not only biographical material of other hockey bios, but also interviews many of those who knew Jacques Plante.

Often inscrutable, Plante lived through his achievements both on the ice, and later, as a mentor. His monastic pursuit of hockey excellence is unmatched.

This is an excellent read on a highly interesting subject. It is recommended highly for any serious hockey fan.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Character Study into the Man Behind the Mask Feb. 10 2010
By J. Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book about one of hockey's greatest netminders Jacques Plante. He reinvented how a goalkeeper played the game with his unique style and the advent of the mask. The book shares a portrait of the man behind the mask and it reflects his devotion to the game through his continuous study on how other goalkeepers played the game, and it also brought forth his character as a man. Too often athletes are not viewed for their human qualities. This book provides a perspective on how Jacques Plante faced all that life threw at him on and off the ice. His analytical qualities as per the game are well-noted and as a fan who grew up watching him play as a kid, I still remain in awe of him as a hockey player and a person.
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