(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
Goaltender is an ever-evolving position. Players tend to always find new, and different ways to stop pucks as they fly to the net. While there are techniques players learn, sometimes the survival instinct takes over and you just have to improvise.
Each goaltender is has his or her own inner Picasso or Michelangelo.
Below this is on display in our Top 10 saves of 2014.
10. Kristers Gudlevskis on all of Canada in the 2014 Olympics
The Latvian goaltender made 55 saves on 57 shots on goal in an Olympic loss to Canada. Though he was beat by a Shea Weber bomb late in the third period for the game-winner, this stop with his right glove on the goal line will be one of the lasting memories.
The Minnesota-Duluth goaltender looked down, beat on the play. And then he pulled a Derek Jeter-like move, sticking out his backhand and stopping Cody Murphy. Lucky? Perhaps, but still a great looking save.
8. Pekka Rinne on Damien Brunner in the 2014 World Championships
Was this the save that brought Rinne back to form? The goaltender, who battled double hip surgeries made this blocker stop on the Swiss sniper in a shootout en-route to winning the MVP of the tournament.
Just look at the flying ‘stack-the-pads’ glove move by the Medvescak goaltender. Whoa baby. Very ‘Dominator’ like. And of course, the awesome KHL camera angles totally do it justice.
See the strength of Miller’s baseball move – just swatting the puck out of the net. And he does it with the flair, bravado and flow that only Miller has.
5. Kari Lehtonen’s baseball-like save on Jarret Stoll
They tell infielders all the time to follow the ball into your glove to make a play. Lehtonen stared at the puck shot by Stoll and had it all the way, robbing the Los Angeles forward of a sure goal.
You don’t have to be a goaltender to make this list. Avangard Omsk’s Miroslav Blatak used his players’ glove hand to swipe this shot heading toward an empty net.
The Los Angeles netminder kicked a puck heading toward the net from a weird angle off a shot from Blake Wheeler. It was a great reactionary move by Quick, who summoned his inner Pele to make the play.
2. David Leggio stops a 2-on-0 and then a penalty shot
Great work by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers goaltender. He played his percentages perfectly, stopping a 2-on-0 by moving the net, and then made a save on a penalty shot. Basically he makes this list more for his smart thinking than athleticism.
Even though Hutton totally gets himself out of position on this play, he makes an excellent recovery by diving back toward the net for one of the most absurd glove saves we’ve ever seen.