Welcome to my world, which primarily revolves around family, friends, sports of all stripes, and a passion for the written word! I'm a Boston-based freelance writer and editor, husband, father, hockey and soccer coach, and an unrepentant sports nut. And, like a lot of folks who refuse to grow up, I'm torn between Old School and "old's cool!" It's all about your perspective, and staying in the game.
Every now and then I'm lucky enough to get to see something that makes even This Old Jock sit up and take notice. Check out this video. The shooter is Oliver Wahlstrom, who plays for the Portland Junior Pirates in Maine. The setting is NESN's Mini 1-on-1, which airs between periods of the Bruins games. The shot is simply amazing, and the goalie's reaction -- "What the heck just happened?" -- is absolutely classic.
The video was making the rounds like wildfire this morning, especially among hockey circles. The general consensus was, "Get that kid on the Bruins." One of the more clever posts said "The Bruins just traded him to Toronto!" Unfortunately, what was equally incredible was the number of people who felt it necessary to post comments on the Boston.com web site, criticizing young Oliver for having the skill and cajones to make such a move. Here's just a short sampling:
Just about as dumb as doing a triple axle then scoring. Any defender with a brain would take 2 steps and end this kid as he turned to the net. The people on this post obviously never played the sport.
The only thing missing is the goalie coming after shooter with his stick, shaking off gloves and having the two pound away at each other.
Very talented kid, but he needs to learn that someday he won't be the big fish in the small pond and he will get his lunch handed to him if he does that to the wrong opponent.
The showboating is the kid chose to embarrass his opponent with a very high-skilled manuever that should not be allowed in a competition like this. If it were a H-O-R-S-E like game, fine, knock your socks off, but this kid chose to embarrass the goalie, not just put the puck by him.
Huh? Have these people lost their minds? Is this what youth sports have come to? I'm a goalie, for crying out loud, and I can appreciate the remarkable skill required to make this move (and to put it in the net). Plus, the kid had to have ice water in his veins to pull it off in competition.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for sportsmanship, as any of the players on my Squirt hockey team, not to mention their parents, will tell you. But there's a time and a place to really let loose, and I can't think of a better place than some made-for-TV competition. Plus, I didn't see Oliver "show up" the goalie with an exaggerated fist pump or any other histrionics! He simply raised his arms, the traditional salute for a goal scored. Plus, he's just a kid! I congratulate him, not only for his skill, but for the hours and hours of practice he must have put in to be able to pull off such a difficult move. Best of luck, Oliver. You're going places in this great sport!
And for anyone who thinks this skill is useless in a game, just go to YouTube and search for Michigan's Mike Legg and his fantastic goal against Minnesota in the 1996 West Regional final, scooping the puck up behind the net and depositing over the unsuspecting goalie's shoulder. Brilliant, and ballsy!