One thing I’ll never understand about hockey fans is how much cognitive dissonance it takes for them to get through their everyday lives.
Guys who try to cripple other players are the scourge of the league unless they happen to play for the team for which a fan roots. All stars are divers, except their stars. The All-Star Game doesn’t matter at all but if their favorite players don’t get in then it’s a total miscarriage of justice. The shootout is really stupid unless something cool or bad happens in it then it’s the best or worst, depending.
And that latter bit of stupidity arose once again last night when Ottawa’s Kaspars Daugavins tried to do some kind of wacky shootout move on Tuukka Rask and failed. His failure should, in and of itself, been enough to say that what he attempted was kind of dumb if not outright condemn it (though it could be argued that Rask could have just as easily stopped a wrist shot or traditional deke to the backhand and attempt to tuck it through the five-hole as he did this spin-o-rama puck-topper).
But that didn’t stop David Krejci from complaining about it to the media after the game — though that might have been the result of one of those direct “What did you think about that whole thing?” questions — saying, “I wouldn’t like it if someone on my team tried that move.” That’s obviously not true, or at least wouldn’t be if his Bruins teammate (say, Tyler Seguin) had actually scored on it. Even Daugavins admitted that the move’s failure to work made him look “like a fool.” And that, in the end, is enough to prove it was all stupid and a waste of time.
But somehow people used this incident to talk once again about how important it is to respect one’s opponents when entering into as sacred a competition as the NHL’s shootout, which has been a part of this grand sport lo these last seven and one-half years. Remember when Linus Omark did that spin-o-rama as he picked up the puck around center ice and then scored on Dan Ellis with a fake shot then soft wrister? The Bolts were pissed; Ryan Malone called it “a … joke”. Ellis said it’s “not a very classy thing.” Mattias Ohlund said it was “absolutely” disrespectful.
Ah yes, the sanctity of the shootout. How dare Daugavins and Omark — who, need I remind you, are both young guys from Europe!!! — be so disrespectful as to defame this gimmicky, ridiculous way to decide games for no reason other than ties are somehow bad? It’s disgusting. Why don’t they be more respectful of their opponents, like Chris Neil, who went knee-to-knee on Chris Kelly in this game, or Adam McQuaid, who ran Neil from behind in this game, and about whom their teammates had little in the way of criticism?
Those guys would never try to show up a goalie by using their high skill levels to try to score pretty shootout goals. They play the game the right way.
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