On Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks inadvertently revolutionized the dump into the zone with, ahem, a heads-up play:A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.
Hey, that's using your head! That's how you get a head in this business. The Canucks are heading in the right direction. Vancouver is always playing head games with its opponents. (C'mon, eight more and we automatically get that gig writing headlines for NHL.com …)
It was a ridiculously cool play that won the coveted (and we'd imagine rather rarely bestowed) Best Header award from The Province:
Midway through the second period, Alex Burrows needs to relieve some pressure in the Canucks' zone, and backhands a high looping pass into the neutral zone in the general direction of Daniel Sedin. Given the steep angle of the puck's path, Daniel thought he'd try to direct it forward -with his head - into the Red Wings' zone. Didn't work so well, as the Wings got possession.
Ah, but sometimes adding a little footie skills to your hockey game works like a charm. In honor of Daniel Sedin's head pass, here are some other soccer-inspired moves in hockey games ...
In Sept. 2009, we published this clip of Silvio Schöb from Switzerland scoring on a perfectly timed header:
Alas, it remains a cliffhanger whether it was counted or not. What we do know: Kid was 12 years old at the time. Sick.
Initially, the announcers thought Anaheim Ducks prospect Devante Smith-Pelly had the puck go off his leg and into the net in a Memorial Cup game earlier this year. Replays confirmed it was a FIFA-level header:
Off the glass and headed into the net by Smith-Pelly. Awesome goal ... totally illegal.
An aside: How much do you love the open line communication with the War Room in that tourney? It's like the voice of God telling us "it was illegally knocked in with the head, if you will."
Goaltenders can use their heads too.
That's Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers heading the puck out of the zone, as he often does. This probably happened, like, every week in the 1940s for keepers without masks. In Hank's case … well, he's far too beautiful to ever attempt something so barbaric and bad for his hair.
Because there really isn't anything the dude can't do, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings connected on a soccer pass to Henrik Zetterberg for an empty netter against the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009:
If they every allowed soccer-style dribbling of the puck in the shootout, goaltenders would just step out of the way allow Datsyuk to score, knowing resistance is futile.
Speaking of which, here's the Pele of Pittsburgh, former NHLer Jarkko Ruutu, dribbling the puck roughly 45 feet after losing his stick and then sending a pass to Max Talbot that he nearly converted:
Pretty impressive. Wonder if there are any other soccer moves Ruutu is familiar with? Oh, right, that one.
(By the way, the restraint from using a certain sexual euphemism in this post made our hands shake.)