December 22, 2009
(No, the first decade of the 21st century doesn't technically end until 2011. Save your bellyaching. But we've had nine NHL seasons and one stolen from us since 1999-2000, and Yahoo! Sports has decided it's time to rank the best and worst of the last "decade." Enjoy, and snark freely in the comments.)
Unless you're new around here, you already know we're not big fans of the shootout. (OK, I'm running thin about it and Wysh, well, let's just use the word "dislike" when it comes to his opinion.) The one good thing about the shootout is that it got rid of the dreaded tie. Nothing's worse than investing three hours of your life into a sporting event and leaving your couch or arena without a victor.
According to NHLShootouts.com, there have been 714 shootouts since the NHL decided to implement the game-decider the season after the lockout in 2005; that's 13.1 percent of the 5,450 post-lockout games. While the shootout remains a debatable issue among hockey fans, we've seen the creativity of NHL players come out and unleash their top notch skill in a 1-on-1 battle.
With that, here are the top 10 NHL shootouts of the past decade ....
While other NHL'ers participating in the "trick shot" shootout attempted their best moves that they'd only dream of trying during practice, Ovechkin lightened the mood at Bell Centre before his final attempt (0:40 mark of the clip) by skating over to Evgeni Malkin(notes), who handed him a fishing hat which included a Canadian flag, along with sunglasses.
Before he attempted his last try, Malkin gave Ovechkin the complimentary Gatorade spritz. It wasn't the prettiest of shootout attempts, but who can blame Ovechkin for trying to bring a little humor to All-Star Weekend?
The running theme with most of these goals is how silly some of the goaltenders are made to look. Gagner made enough dekes in this move against the Anaheim Ducks that Jean-Sebastien Giguere(notes) gives up mid-save attempt, when he starts to move one way and the Edmonton Oilers forward is about to score in the opposite direction. What a deflating feeling.
The king of the shootout (26-for-47 lifetime), Jokinen's main move is what has given him much success, not his take on Forsberg's above. Jokinen's domination has relied on that one move and it's amazing to think that NHL goaltenders haven't smartened up and just decided to bum-rush him once he skated between the circles.
Blake's spin move against an unsuspecting Scott Clemmensen(notes) started a bit of controversy about whether or not it's a legal move in the shootout. Smaller players like Blake, Pierre-Marc Bouchard(notes) and Martin St. Louis(notes) have all used the spin-o-rama to success and despite it violating the letter of the law, they're still legal today (and rightly so).
Nash said afterwards that he accidentally lost his balance before putting the winner past J.S. Giguere. We don't believe him and encourage other NHL'ers to throw goaltenders off their game by coming in on goal skate-first and then shooting. Giguere was likely wondering if he was about to become this decade's Clint Malarchuk than worrying about stopping Nash's shot.
It must have been a helpless feeling for Mathieu Garon(notes) who was all set to deny Getzlaf a goal only to watch the Anaheim forward pull the puck back and roof the winner. Getzlaf is only 13-for-44 in shootout attempts, but this one was a beauty.
When he's not rocking out to his James Brown ringtone, Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is busy using his hands to make wonderful hockey plays. Believe it or not, there was a second or two during Datsyuk's attempt here that Nashville Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun(notes) actually thought he had a chance to stop him.
"The flavorless winner" has to be one of Dallas Stars announcer Daryl Reaugh's great calls. Ribeiro's known to be somewhat of a fancy boy in the shootout and like Reaugh said, if you're going to do that kind of a move with an extra point on the line, you better make sure the puck goes in. Poor Petr Budaj is probably still looking for the puck almost nine months later.
It's not often we see such moves from a 6-6, 240-pound defenseman, but his circus act ended a lengthy, 15-round shootout between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals and gave Blueshirt fans their only favorable memory of Malik.