The NHL Column: Just Wait Until a Goalie Crashes a Spin-o-Rama
One of these nights, maybe before the end of this regular season, probably in a game when the second point will not be so vital, a goaltender is going to run an opponent. The shootout participant will be someone like Jason Blake or Mason Raymond or Mikhail Grabovski, one of the growing number of forwards to score over the last year utilizing the Spin-o-Rama.
He'll skate toward the goal and prepare to stop on a dime a few inches inside the crease. Just as Blake and Raymond and Grabovski, Todd Bertuzzi, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and others have done, the shooter will have his head down momentarily as he stops and prepares to spin. (Watch the videos: few have pulled off the move with their head up all the way). In some NHL rink, a goaltender is going to take one bold step for the rest of his fraternity.
In a premeditated, but non-violent fashion, the goalie is going to send one of the Spin-o-Rama boys on his rear end.
It may cost his team a point in the standings. It may cost the goaltender some money, but it will have been worth it. How much longer are goalies going to put up with this? It's bad enough to "lose" a game after keeping a game tied after 65 minutes. Now they have to be subjected to being part of a viral video that ends with them face-first on the ice and a puck in the back of their net?
This has everything to do with what is fair, not about flair. I'm all for the artistry, the showmanship. I'm pro-Linus. I don't care how flamboyantly a player chooses to celebrate a goal. He's the one who has to face his opponents on his next shift.
The Spin-o-Rama, currently legal in the eyes of the National Hockey League, is unfair to goaltenders. The NHL doesn't allow a player to skate directly at the goaltender, stop in front of his crease and dipsy-doodle for a few seconds until the goaltender rips a groin and the puck is deposited into the open space. The Spin-o-Rama, as most recently choreographed by Raymond on Tuesday night against Islanders rookie Kevin Poulin, should not be allowed.
All the way back when John Davidson was a famous commentator on TV, on Nov. 26, 2006, New York Rangers defenseman Marek Malik scored an amazing goal in the 15th round of a shootout against Washington's Olaf Kolzig. The big defenseman, who didn't have a goal all season, pulled the puck back between his legs and flipped it over the flopped goaltender.
Back in the "Hockey Night in Canada" studio, Kelly Hrudey combed the rulebook. A proud member of the fraternity as a former goalie with the Islanders, Kings and Sharks, Hrudey declared the goal illegal as written by the NHL because the puck was not moving forward. The league rewrote the rule so innovative, hugely entertaining moves like Malik's would be OK. After all, the NHL is in the entertainment business. But the league should not allow players to come to a full stop and giving goalies virtually no chance to make a save.
The Spin-o-Rama is operating at almost 100-percent efficiency (there was this stop by Marty Turco on Ryan Shannon), but it should not be allowed much longer. Poulin called Raymond's spin "a show-off move" the other night, but it wasn't. The Canucks' opening goal in the shootout was legal. As long as it's legal, it's fair for the game.
But it's wrong, potentially dangerous, and it should be outlawed. Don't be surprised if a goaltender exacts frontier justice on one of the next players to try it.
First Half All-NHL Teams
First Team: Daniel Sedin -- Sidney Crosby -- Martin St. Louis; Dustin Byfuglien -- Kris Letang; Tim Thomas.
Second Team: Henrik Zetterberg -- Steven Stamkos -- Corey Perry; Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ryan Whitney (now out for the year); Jonas Hiller.
-- San Jose general manager Doug Wilson is never shy about making the big trade (Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Dan Boyle) and he sounds like a man ready to shake up his slumping team. But it's worth debating: should Wilson react to a bad couple of weeks that included some incredible performances by opposing goalies? It's a long, long season. The Sharks' struggles may be no bigger a deal than the early-season surges of teams like the Blue Jackets and Blues.
-- If Cory Clouston cannot rally the troops enough to coax a victory out of his Ottawa Senators over the New York Islanders Thursday night, chances are it will be the last game he coaches for Ottawa. Playing like a relaxed, happy, confident team the last three weeks under Jack Capuano, the Islanders will be a difficult opponent. General manager Bryan Murray may have no other choice but to return behind the bench for the rest of the season.
NHL Elite Four: 1. Vancouver 2. Philadelphia 3. Detroit 4. Tampa Bay
NHL Bottom Four: 27. Islanders 28. Ottawa 29. Edmonton 30. New Jersey
Today's Three Stars: 1. Tomas Sandstrom 2. Patrik Sundstrom 3. Niklas Sundstrom