There’s still no movement on either Nazem Kadri or Cody Franson, and training camp is still about a month away, so it’s time for another clip show!
The spin-o-rama has become a hallmark move in the NHL, even if it’s not without controversy. Here’s the 5 best in blue in white at twisting and turning heads.
5. Nazem Kadri is really, really, really skilled. Like damn skilled.
We’ll start of this clip show with a real beauty of a goal by Kadri during the 2011-2012 season. Kadri passes off to Joffrey Lupul in the left wing corner and sneaks through to the top of the crease. Lupul’s shot shanks off the Wild defender. Kadri, reading the ricochet, pivots on his right skate and bats the puck out of the air on his backhand to give the Leafs a 1 – 0 lead. Just incredible hand-eye coordination on this play, and totally worth a new contract… Dave.
4. Jason Blake… backhand
Jason Blake. Remember him? Seriously, do you? Do you remember when the Leafs made THAT free agent winger mistake in 2007? Anyway, I’m not saying you have to like the guy, but this is a pretty sweet shootout goal nonetheless. Blake carries the puck out to the right wing before taking a more direct line towards New Jersey netminder Scott Clemmensen.
Then, as if unbound by the laws of physics, Blake stops on a dime dead centre at the top of the crease and spins counter clockwise, backhanding in this beauty. Perhaps the most amazing part of this goal is seeing how tremendously underprepared Clemmensen was on that move. He’s like two feet out of the net and a foot off the ice.
3. James van Riemsdyk scores the first Leaf playoff game winner in nine years
May 4, 2013 was a special day to me for several reasons, and this was one of them. James van Riemsdyk cruises towards the net, slows and turns to receive a Mikhail Grabovski pass. He takes Grabovski’s pass with both feet firmly planted in the crease, standing almost on top of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. After trying to tap the puck in between his legs, he swings on his right foot and puts the puck to his forehand, barely sneaking the puck past Rask’s outstretched right leg before tumbling to the ice.
He probably would have scored higher on this list were it not for the dismount, but this was probably the most exhilarating goal of the 2013 season for me.
2. Mikhail Grabovski… forehand
Another shootout goal, but boy this one is a beauty by Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski, like Blake, cuts wide to the right wing as he prepares his attempt on Ty Conklin. But Grabovski chose to attack at an even wide angle, getting as far over to the hash marks before veering towards the net. He spins in a counter clockwise direction as he cuts to the left in front of the net, waits out a sprawling Conklin, and lightly flicks the puck into the top half of the net.
This goal is so incredibly because Grabo had the time, space and ability to complete the 360 THEN score. Absolutely masterful move and it would be the winner if it weren’t for…
1. Killer with the OT dagger in the Gardens
Clearly anyone can score on a spin-o-rama in front of the net. A real winner does it behind the net. An even real-er winner does it in a playoff game. And Doug Gilmour does all of that in double overtime.
Seeing Blake and Grabovski’s spin-o-rama goals in the shootouts, you think to yourself about the focus and timing required to make that play. Everything has to be moving in just about perfect order in perfect time on this risky play. What makes Gilmour’s so incredible is that he held the puck behind the Blues net for a full five seconds before making this dastardly move.
As Gilmour starts to move, the Blues left defenseman first breaks to intercept him. Then Gilmour cuts the other way, forcing the defenseman and the Blues net minder Curtis Joseph to cover the far post. Gilmour completes the pirouette, skates up and shovels the backhand just inside the near post to give the Leafs the victory. Just incredible.