The NHL’s Goal of the Year

Stop whatever you’re doing and watch this 62 seconds of glorious athletic achievement.

Until yesterday, I was pretty sure that Marek Malik’s shootout magic would stand as the goal of the year. That was until I saw Alexander Ovechkin, the Russian rookie wunderkind, score while sliding away from the net on his back with a Phoenix defenceman draped all over him. It’s a piece of hockey improvisational genius.

Sidney Crosby is going to be the most talented runner-up for Rookie of the Year in the history of the game.


  1. You’ve *got* to be kidding, matt. Malik did what every hockey player practices from Peewee on. And he did it with no defender.

    Ovechkin scored, as Darren notes, after moving around a defender, a defender that brought him down, without even being able to see what he was doing once he was thrown to the ice, one-handed sweeping the puck into the net. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ovechkin scored a more spectacular goal.

  2. Many players would make the blind effort knowing that one in ten thousand times it will both go on net and that the goalie is going to be caught unaware or bobble the effort to stop it – and any goal is a good goal.

    It just happened to Ovechkin.

    “As to most talented rookie…”

    Ray Bourque won the Calder, Gretzky’s first year in the NHL – does that count?

  3. Kennedy: I don’t think that’s true of any player. In fact, I think many players would just take the dive and draw a penalty.

    Regardless, it isn’t the attempt that makes the goal, it’s the successful attempt.

    I figured somebody more informed than me was going to prove my most talent rookie comment wrong–it was totally off the cuff.

    As for Crosby being better than Gretzky, ask me again in 10 years. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to make a fair assessment, as Gretzky played in a very different NHL.

  4. Kennedy: According to the standard repository of knowledge, Gretzky wasn’t eligible for the Calder in his first year, otherwise he might have won it.

    And Matt: I think I agree with you. Ovechkin’s effort was amazing (and maybe “better” from a technical standpoint), but he is one of the best rookies of the year. The fact that a goal like Malik’s, came from a *player* like Malik – that’s what amazes me the most. You’ve gotta have chutzpah to try a move like that on a shootout, when you’re an otherwise unnoted, low-scoring defenseman.

  5. When I actually saw the goal on Sportsnet’s highlights, I was glad that they showed it about 4 times from different angles, for the simple fact that you just had to watch it about 4 times just to see *how* he did that. A beautiful goal, indeed. If I had a vote, it would be the goal of the year.

  6. Probably little attention making it to these comments by now… But..

    Gretzky – yeah I wasn’t sure if his WHA-Racers tour of duty made him ineligible. (A double standard – Selanne’s rookie record of 76 goals holds, though he was 22 and had played 4 year pro in Finland.)

    “Never be able to make a fair assesment…” Always the case from one sports generation to another… Howe/Gretzky Sawchuck/Roy Orr/Bourque

    And I never said ANY player…
    It’s more about the effort in the moment – and that one in XXX times when circumstances are right.

    Boucher gets himself in a bad position / underestimates the chances of it going in (or rather, goes with the realistic odds and loses).

    Credit Ovechkin with the effort of trying. Like Gretzky putting one in from behind the line off the Goalie’s shoulder. The vision to try is great, and both players have exceptional skills which make it more likely than if you or I… or… Turner Stevenson making the same attempt – but at brass tacks, it’s a fluke. Or else we’d see it all the time.

  7. One last thought on that:

    It’s still pretty fun to watch it when it happens. Because it’s such a once in a lifetime thing.

  8. jason spezza’s overtime winner was way nicer than either of those goals. In both of those goals the golies are out to lunch.

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