December 29, 2011
You could spend an eternity on YouTube or NHL.com searching highlight-reel goal clips from over the years.
In this Internet age, a goal can happen anywhere and find its way onto YouTube within 10 minutes of it actually happening.
These won't be 10 goals strictly from the NHL. There was an awe-inspiring effort during the World Championships last spring; a doozy of an junior player going all-out; and an incredible individual effort coming out of the Middle East of all places.
Coming up our top 10 goals from the year in hockey 2011, from the Stanley Cup playoffs all the way down to the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
10. Ryan Kesler splits Nashville's defense (May 5, 2011)
9. Alex Ovechkin's individual overtime effort beats the Islanders (March 1, 2011)
What's a top goals list without Ovechkin? Frans Nielsen is one of the NHL's better defensive forwards, but Ovechkin sure does make him look silly here in a Washington Capitals game against the New York Islanders.
Who would've thought that a guy with over 700 PIMs and 36 goals in less than 400 NHL games would have such silky mitts?
There aren't many toe-drags that are both gorgeous to look at and result in a goal. Duchene's pretty effort would be the last highlight of the night for the Colorado Avalanche. After grabbing a 2-0 lead, the Pittsburgh Penguins would score six of the next seven goals in the game and win 6-3.
Do you know how hard it is to make Ryan Suter look silly? Not only that, then Bolland had to find a way to beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne of all people.
6. Benoit Pouliot goes coast-to-coast (Dec. 23, 2011)
Not sure what was more stunning: Pouliot's deking around Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov or Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards singing the praises of the man he once called "one of the greatest disappointments in talent in National Hockey League history".
5. Nick Boyer goes roof daddy from the ice (Dec. 7, 2011)
The Strathroy Rockets play in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Boyer is a 17-year-old forward for the Rockets who pulled off this goal during a 2-goal night in a 5-0 win over the London Nationals.
Benn's goal was like an action scene where the protagonist is facing off against a handful of the main bad guy's henchmen, and instead of all going after the hero at once, they take turns; which, as we find out, is never, ever a good idea in the end.
3. Mikael Granlund stuns Russia, goes postal (May 13, 2011)
During Finland's victory over Russia during the IIHF World Championships semifinal last May, Granlund stunned the world with this incredible lacrosse goal move. As the Finns went on to win gold over Sweden (and party like rockstars), Granlund's effort was later immortalized, like that of Peter Forsberg's goal during the 1994 Olympics, on a postage stamp.
The popularity of the goal really reached its limits when a fan created a model of it in gingerbread form.
2. Eliezer Sherbatov wows the world at the D-III World Championships (April 15, 2011)
Luckily for the poor Greeks, Sherbatov's "Holy [Gretzky]" of a goal has overshadowed the fact that Israel would win this game 26-2. Sherbatov would post 14 goals and 26 points in four games as Israel would win gold at the tournament held in South Africa.
Ryan sat out two games due to suspension in Anaheim's opening round series against the Nashville Predators. In his first game back he scored our top goal of 2011. Unfortunately for Ryan and the Anaheim Ducks, it came in a losing effort.
We can poke fun at David Legwand all we want, but how about some blame for Shea Weber? He watches Ryan dangle around the Nashville forward and doesn't spring into action until he noticed Legwand loses his stick. At one point he even hooks Legwand by accident.
Via Ducks Blog, Ryan talked about his goal of the year:
"He had no stick so he's a little vulnerable, I guess," Ryan said. "I didn't have a whole lot of speed and he did, so I just tried to cut back as many times as I could. I avoided the poke-check and got a little lucky in that I could get it up over his (Rinne's) pad."
Sometimes all you need is a little luck to perform something magnificent.