Here at Puck Daddy, we like to have it both ways. For instance, we make no bones about our disdain for the shootout, which remains a thoroughly crummy tiebreaker. (Granted, it's no XFL coin toss, but there are much better ways to decide these matters).
But, like any skills competition, while the shootout may lack as a way to decide a hockey game, it yields an abundance of highlight-reel material, and when it does, we gleefully drop our jaws along with the rest of you.
When it comes to jaw-dropping shootout goals, 2011 was no exception. From the next generation of the spin-o-rama to the fiftuple deke, it was a good year for hockey's divisive solution to ties. Here are Puck Daddy's top 10 shootout goals of 2011. Excelsior!
10. Benoit Pouliot uses his long reach (January 6)
Benoit Pouliot gets us started with the classic Forsbergian drag move, telegraphing the forehand before bring the puck back and letting it slide into the open net as Brent Johnson's momentum carries him elsewhere.
I chose the French broadcast to give this list some international flare right off the hop, and also to bewilder offensively monolingual coach Randy Cunneyworth. He has no idea what's going on right now.
9. Martin St. Louis's delayed spin-o-rama (March 9)
St. Louis puts a new twist on the spin-o-rama with one extra stickhandle, completing the full rotation then pulling the puck back to give himself an extra second to gather the puck and get it up. The hitch works like gangbusters, as Corey Crawford finds himself flat on his stomach while St. Louis has plenty of time and space to observe the open goal and shovel the puck into it.
Should it have counted? Well, it did. So whatever.
8. Pierre-Marc Bouchard undresses Steve Mason (December 27, 2010)
I know, I know. It's not from 2011. But come on, it's four days off, and this post is being published on December 21. Are we really to say that any incredible shootout moves that happen between today and the Winter Classic have no place on next year's countdown?My friends, let us make an exception, especially for this sweet move.
Like a great many American politicians, Bouchard gets Mason to bite by leaning right, then going left at the last second. And Mason bites hard. By the time Bouchard gets in close, he has the whole net to shoot at.
7. Daniel Briere's controversial stop n' go (November 3)
I'm of the mind that great shootout goals are like great WWE matches. It's not enough for one of the two involved parties to do well -- both parties have to exhibit a special kind of chemistry.
This goal puts that principle on display, as Johan Hedberg comes way out, then goes starfish on Danny Briere, who puts on the brakes and gingerly steps around like him. It's like they rehearsed this.
But did Briere come to a complete stop? Perhaps, but Hedberg came to a complete stop first. I say they cancel each other out.
6. Mikael Granlund's classic Forsberg (August 27)
This isn't the first time Mikael Granlund has pulled off the Forsberg classic, but considering how badly the Slavia Prague netminder bites on the deke, you'd think it was. Maybe they don't have Youtube in the Czech Republic?
Granlund makes this look so, so easy. Check out the way the goalie hangs his head in shame as Granlund is sliding the puck across the goal line. I like a goalie that demurely acknowledges his defeat.
5. Todd Bertuzzi's Malik-ian between-the-legs tally (September 25)
Pavel Datsyuk gets all the love when it comes to Detroit shootout specialists, but this clip shows why Todd Bertuzzi isn't far behind. Coming in on Alexander Salak, he puts the puck between his legs ala Marek Malik, but then he adds a twist to the move, throwing the puck to his backhand and going top corner.
4. Mike Ribeiro's 'filthy' shootout tally (March 9)
Mikka Kiprusoff has a history of being posterized when he goes for the pokecheck, and Mike Ribeiro has a history of awesomeness in the shootout, so you knew this was going to be a good showing. Ribeiro goes backhand, then he increases the degree of difficulty by keeping his shoulders turned away from Kiprusoff while bringing the puck back to the forehand for the goal.
I love this clip because the announcers get creative with their adjectives, describing this goal as "filthy", "sauve", "creamy", and "nasty". It's like they're reading from a list of banned Google search terms.
3. Sam Lofquist goes between-the-legs-backhand-forehand (July 17)
Most people assumed that Mikael Granlund would be the star of the shootout competition at Minnesota Wild camp in the summer, but it was defensive prospect Sam Lofquist who had everybody talking after this spiffy move.
He goes between-the-legs to the backhand, pulls the puck to the backhand, then goes back to the forehand before scoring. Granted, a pokecheck from the goaltender might have prevented this from landing on Youtube, but that's why these guys are at camp: to learn lessons.
2. Patrick Kane's fiftuple deke (December 14)
Wherein Gordon Bombaby's tried and true triple deke is rendered obsolete by about 12 additional dekes. While drifting in at a glacial pace, Pat Kane absolutely freezes Niklas Backstrom with more stickwork than Mickey Mouse fighting the brooms in Fantasia.
It's like it happens in slow motion, which makes it even more awesome when you watch it in slow motion. You can actually see Backstrom heave resignedly before Kane even shoots the puck.
1. Mikhail Grabovski's spin-o-rama 2.0. (January 6)
The thing that makes this move so great is that, by now, we've all seen the spin-o-rama a number of times, so we think we know what Grabovski's going to do. Even Conklin is fairly certain Grabovski's going backhand, so he leans back towards the far post and only half-heartedly shuffles across when Grabovski continues past him.
But then Grabovski completes the full rotation, brings the puck back to the forehand, and roofs it. Ladies and gentlemen, the next generation of the spin-o-rama.