On Saturday night, John Quenneville of the Brandon Wheat Kings – a first round draftee of the New Jersey Devils – scored not just a filthy goal.
It was a Pigpen-level, out-of-your-seat, go-find-your-eyeballs-and-replace-in-your-sockets, hit “share” a thousand times filthy goal.
The rocket-like, thread-the-needle, outlet pass made by Ivan Provorov, connecting with Quenneville, delivered an individual moment tethered to our hockey emotions. We love skill. We love “did you see that” plays. We love when it happens.
And it just so happened on the grand stage of the Memorial Cup. It didn’t take long to spread across the internets like wildfire, thanks to our accessibility with technology these days that allows everyone to hit retweet, share, and post.
PuckDaddy, who serves the NHL’s readership daily sweets, picked up on it.
He was on LBJ’s tail.
The hockey digital sire, aka John Buccigross, aka BucciMane, picked up on it.
And for sure, the Devils couldn’t ignore it.
Of course, it’s not like this is the first time someone has gone between the wickets and roofed one. It was a move yours truly practiced in the driveway with his middle school buddies back in the 90’s (and failed with flying colors). Back in the 90’s, Jaromir Jagr pulled it off. Marek Malik pulled it off. Most recently, Tomas Hertl blew the Shark Tank’s mind and pulled it off. Downtown Everett even saw it by one of our own, one of the most iconic goals in Tips history.
Now Quenneville gets the honors. Just go back and watch that goal again, then consider the elements at hand:
- Provorov starting the breakout, in an idle position, 200 feet away from the Rouyn-Noranda net.
- Provorov spinning away from an oncoming forechecker, to manufacture more time and space.
- Provorov then heaving a 160-foot rocket pass up ice – melting the Huskies defense like a hot knife through butter.
- Quenneville then accepting said 160-foot rocket nearly onto the tape (think how hard it is to hit the tiny hole on one of those center ice car contests) – he kicked it to his stick blade – and then getting a breakaway.
- Quenneville then reaching into his bag of tricks and pulling out … no, not a forehand deke … no, not a backhand roofer … ah, the ol’ “just zoom on net at a high rate of speed and casually reach behind my left leg and flick one bar down” move. #nbd
Needless to say, that’s confidence.
How much confidence? Well, you better know what you’re doing. That’s why we call that move, “high risk, high reward” in this business.
You think coaches agree? I texted Mitch Love on the goal. His response:
“My feeling is …. if you’re confident to pull it off then why not? …”
The game has changed.
“… 15 years ago when I played in the league if you pulled that off, you better spend the rest of the season series looking over your shoulder. Haha.”
Tough return for Brandon. They lost (emphatically), 9-1 to Dale Hunter’s London Knights, assuring London a spot in the tournament semis. Brandon – the WHL champs – has to beat Red Deer to stay alive.
- Sutters Storm the Centrium: Fascinating to see the Sutter brothers congregating in one photo in Red Deer, accepting the WHL Milestone Award on Sunday night. Riley Sutter must be proud (his Dad, Ron, in the middle dressed in the blue shirt). Silvertips broadcast alumnus Jon Rosen detailed more, since Ron’s brother Darryl coaches the Los Angeles Kings and has two Stanley Cup rings. Good read here.
- EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: Tampa Bay can close out the Pittsburgh Penguins to secure their third berth in the Stanley Cup Final tomorrow night. Remarkable to consider the Lightning have done this sans Ben Bishop, Steven Stamkos, and front page headline avoidance by Evgeni Malkin.
- WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: San Jose can close out the St. Louis Blues, remarkably, on Wednesday at the Shark Tank and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever after crushing the third period in Game 5 with three unanswered goals. Joe Pavelski scored the game-tying goal, the game-winning goal, and set up the 1-0 goal. Technically, I don’t have a dog in the fight with this one. But I’ve been fortunate to document similar adventures with the Sharks in the playoffs before. Naming Joe Pavelski captain this season was one of their best decisions in the last 10 years. They could have quit down 3-2. They decided the outcome would be different, because, this team is different.
Days until next hockey season: (TBD – though we know it’s approximately four months away!)
Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton will be entering his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips. Tweet at him here.