The smile on Paul Ranger’s face before his shootout attempt against the Buffalo Sabres – in the 10th round of a 15-round overtime skills competition – said it all: The veteran defenseman, in camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs, had something in his bag of tricks he was ready to unleash.
And here’s the kicker ...
No, he literally was the kicker.
In a de facto homage to Toronto FC, Ranger executed a kick-stick shot that was more hilarious than effective but, still, hilarious.
OK, hilarious to everyone but Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth, who promptly slashed him as he skated by.
"My first reaction was that he tried to embarrass me there a little bit, but when I look at it now, it's good (the) guy's trying to be creative, I guess," he said.
(Could you imagine the emo-rant that Ryan Miller would have gone on after this kind of shot?)
Ranger, who had been attempting the shot since he was 10 years old, said that he probably wouldn’t have made the kick-shot attempt in a regular-season game. A bold statement, considering no one's asked Ranger to participated in a shootout during his five NHL seasons.
On Enroth’s slash, Rangers tells the CP:
"Not the right thing to do? I'm trying to score. Quite honestly it's fun and, to be honest, I'm not trying to show boat, and if he thought that, then it is what it is. Whatever."
Whatever indeed. The Leafs won the glorified scrimmage, 3-2, on Jay McClement’s deke. But it was Ranger’s goal that had everyone kicking themselves that they hadn’t thought of it first.