There have been some spectacular goals scored recently in the NHL. Buffalo's Drew Stafford made Toronto's Mike Van Ryn and Justin Pogge look foolish as he pulled off a circus move to score. Florida's Richard Zednik jumped over Islanders' defenceman Brendan Witt while controlling the puck before slipping the puck past goaltender Joey MacDonald. Toronto's Niklas Hagman, who had been laid out by referee Greg Kimmerly earlier in the play, absolutely undresses Florida's Nathan Horton, skates past Jay Bouwmeester, and slides the puck behind a sprawling Craig Anderson. Goals like these make hockey one of the most graceful and creative games on Earth, and only reinforces how athletic and talented the players are in the NHL. Let's look at the favorites for Goal of the Year thus far in the NHL.
Candidate 1: Boston's Blake Wheeler against the St. Louis Blues.
Wheeler beats, in order, Patrick Berglund and Carlo Colaiacovo, David Perron, Trent Whitfield, and Manny Legace. All while playing shorthanded. Wow.
Candidate 2: Buffalo's Drew Stafford against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Through his own legs past Van Ryn on a nifty deke, and then Stafford buries it forehand. Phenomenal full-speed move.
Candidate 3: Florida's Richard Zednik against the New York Islanders.
Zednik flips the puck past Witt's face before hurdling Witt, recovers the puck while in midair, and scores. Holy. Cow. That's incredible.
Candidate 4: Toronto's Niklas Hagman against the Florida Panthers.
A quick list: taken down by ref. Hit in face with puck. Hard work. Through Horton's legs. Powers through Bouwmeester. Red light lit behind Anderson.
There are your four early candidates for Goal of the Year. I'm informally doing this little vote, so post your selection in the comments below. Frankly, all of those goals are spectacular. If I had any video editing ability, I could create a highlight reel that would be nothing more than phenomenal goals. Let me know who you think deserves the early running for Goal of the Year!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!