If you don't already know the name Nicklas Lindberg, you'll remember it after witnessing this incredible behind-the-back goal for the IHL Port Huron Icehawks in a shootout against out Kalamazoo Goaltender Joel Martin during a 3-2 loss last night:
The 28-year-old center from Stockholm has bounced around the minor leagues for the last few years (Pensacola Ice Pilots of the ECHL, Corpus Christi Rayz of the CHL) but has 79 points in 72 games for the Icehawks this season.
If you read this blog, you know we have fundamental problems with the competitive fairness of an individual skills competition determining the victor in a team sport (and having that victory valued the same as one in regulation). But we're willing to concede this point: The shootout, and immediacy of online video, allows some players a moment in the spotlight they may not have otherwise earned.
Ryan Shannon has 19 points in 32 games for the Ottawa Senators this year, but his spin-o-rama shootout goal against Nikolai Khabibulin of the Chicago Blackhawks last season remains his most prominent highlight. Sweden's Linus Omark, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick, now has "Forsberg on a postage stamp"-type pre-NHL hype thanks to his chip-shot shootout goal that's gone viral around the hockey world. You're reading about Lindberg here because of what he did in the skills competition last night.
Love it or hate it, at least the shootout is serving that function well.
(Big thanks to Puck Buddy Linda L. for the tip on the clip.)