The NHL prides itself on a no-nonsense ethic and a down-to-earth sensibility among its players.
But, last week, the league also made room for something quirky, entertaining and clearly non-traditional, for which it deserves a "Bravo!"
When Kaspars Daugavins of the Ottawa Senators conjured a bizarre scoring attempt in a shoot-out against Boston, he was roundly applauded, even though he missed and the Bruins won the shoot-out 3-2.
The shot? The 24-year-old Latvian pressed the puck to the ice with the toe end of his stick, and skated towards the net. When he reached Tuukka Rask, the goalie, he spun 360 degrees to his left and tried to tuck the trapped puck inside the right post. Instead, Rask thrust his left skate out in time, just, to block it.
Daugavins expressed disappointment and said: "Now I look like a fool." A few fans dismissed it on chatboards as "a circus shot" and "silly", but his surprised coach, Paul MacLean, called it "pretty creative". He asked rhetorically: "The shoot-out is a skills competition, is it not?"
Several Senators and Bruins used variations on the word "courage". Daugavins actually used the weird shot successfully in the minors in 2010. Failure against Rask didn't dampen the general tone of enthusiasm.
"Awesome," Marc Methot of the Senators told the Canadian Press. "It was exciting for fans, and as a player I enjoyed it."
So kudos to Daugavins … and to his supporters.
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