As you may have heard, Mario Lemieux is hanging up his skates after an extraordinary career rich with achievements and fraught with obstacles overcome. For sheer talent, I’ve never seen a better hockey player.
Here’s a video clip of my favourite Lemieux goal. That’s a bit of a misnomer, because he never actually touches the puck. He is, however, vitally important to the puck getting into the net. With apologies for the lousy video quality and the hair rock (I edited it out of a longer Team Canada tribute thingy)
Every person watching the game, from the players on the ice to the folks at home, thinks Lemieux’s going to shoot the puck. He’s in the slot, has a clear view on net and is among the best scorers in the world. Instead, with the kind of improvised genius that make good athletes great and sports wonderful to watch, he lets it pass between his legs. That’s not an uncommon move in football, but nearly unheard of in hockey.
Paul Kariya–no scoring slouch himself–has an easy shot to tie the game at 1-1 against the Americans in the 2002 Olympics gold medal game.
For some bonus grainy videos, here’s Lemieux’s first goal in the NHL (on his first shot, on his first shift) and an excellent goal against the Minnesota North Stars. In all cases, you can improve the video quality by shrinking it to its original size. Do this in You Tube by clicking the first of the three boxes in the control bar under the video (doesn’t work for the above embedded video–you have to go to the site itself).