With only two games left in the regular season for our San José Sharks and 34 games left overall throughout the entire league, there have been exactly 6,963 goals this season with at least 40 more to come over the next 5 nights. Now, everyone knows that every single goal is noteworthy, but for some odd reason NHL.com has decided to ignore the upcoming goals and has already posted a poll for the top 5 goals of the season. And wouldn’t you have already guessed it, not a single one of the Sharks’ 253 goals were nominated, regardless of how many great games our Sharks have won.
The goals that have been nominated are these: To start off with, the nearly unknown Niklas Hagman’s (Toronto) goal against Florida in which he grabs the puck in the corner, dekes around Nathan Horton, dodges three poke checks, then puts it behind a diving Craig Anderson. Then there is the amazing rookie Blake Wheeler’s (Boston) shorty against St. Louis where he takes a long pass, crosses into the offensive zone, lines up three Blues players, spins around, works his way into the crowd and shoves the puck behind a speechless Manny Legace. Then to redeem the St. Louis Blues, they bring in another rookie, T.J. Oshie, in a dreadfully important game against Vancouver. Oshie picked up a nicely placed pass off the boards, avoided a diving Canuck, skated into the slot, waited patiently for Roberto Luongo to commit and put it top shelf into a wide open net. Next, of course, what is any NHL poll without their pride and joy Detroit Red Wings being nominated? Johan Franzen’s early season goal against the Montréal Canadiens off of an O’Byrne turnover in the neutral zone. O’Byrne obviously tried to fix his mistake like any good defenseman, but Franzen was too much as he danced around the stunned defenseman on three separate occasions, before he put the puck behind a surprised Carey Price. And finally, last, but not least, the seemingly conceited (probably rightfully so) Alexander Ovechkin’s (Washington) famous goal also against Carey Price while puck handling and sliding on his bum.
What about the Sharks though? In this season alone, they have broken about 5 league records and at least a dozen franchise records. Certainly, they must have at least one goal that made the media's jaws drop. I mean, yes, they’re known for their garbage goals off of accidental goalie rebounds, but not all of them are like that. So I went through almost every single goal this season by the Sharks (some of them wouldn't load) via NHL Game center and decided for myself which ones were the best—one at a time.
Prepare yourself to watch a lot of U.S. Army recruitment commercials, sorry. Anyways, let's start from the beginning of the year and work our way towards the end of the regular season.
1. To start off the list is a shorthanded marker from the underrated rookie winger, Tomas Plihal, who took a very long pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic—behind the Sharks' net—into center ice. Then broke into the Kings' zone, forced a nervously unprepared Jack Johnson to commit in one direction, went the other, and then roofs the puck over Jason LaBarbera's shoulder.
2. Last year Patrick Marleau had been snubbed repeatedly by the local media, even in the midst of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Mark Purdy would write again and again "Joe Thornton the Sharks' captain." Well here's one to make Purdy shut his fat mouth and look at the giant 'C' on Patty's chest. Just watch Marleau lead the Sharks into Philadelphia's defensive zone, completely pass all of the Flyer defenders, behind the net, and... where did he go? Martin Biron sure the hell didn't know as Marleau speedily swings around and puts in one of the easiest wraparounds you will ever witness.
3. It didn't take much effort for Marty Turco to stop Brad Lukowich's long dump-in shot, after all it was only meant to help kill the last 30 seconds of regulation in a 1-1 tie. However, all was well until the Stars' net-minder tried to lazily clear the puck, accidentally passed it to Marleau, who goes around and leaves Turco in sweet icy tears with just 28.3 seconds left on the clock.
4. The Chicago Blackhawks were only trying to clear the puck from their defensive zone off of the opening face off for overtime. It was a standard passing play, Duncan Keith to Brent Seabrook, return pass, then in comes Big Joe. Takes the puck, dodges a high stick from Keith, passes to Ryane Clowe, return pass, and beyond Cristobal Huet just 45 seconds into overtime! Huet didn't even get a chance to wipe his mouth from the Gatorade....
5. Patrick Marleau was there to help, but in the Sharks' first game against their former coaches (Ron Wilson, Rob Zettler, and Tim Hunter) Setoguchi proved to all around to witness that it was time to take off the training wheels. Simply gaze upon the effortless movements as he leaves both Nikolai Antropov and Jeff Finger dumbfounded mere feet in front of Vesa Toskala before putting the puck in the net.
6. Randy Hahn said it perfectly, "WOW!" What hands! What speed! Holy shit! Here's a 3rd goal by St. Patty. The feeling I get from watching this goal is ineffable. What can you say? This goal was a classic San José play, but with an amazingly unexpected twist. Thornton sends a perfectly timed cross rink pass through the air to Marleau who dances in front of Chris Mason, first nearly giving him the puck, then snatching it away to roof it over the Blue's goalie's desperate flailing attempts to stop him.
7. Just because he plays for Dallas, any goal that makes Marty Turco question his abilities—or lack thereof—is beautiful to me. Exhibit B: Milan Michalek handles the puck whilst on his knees and still puts it top shelf.
8. Michalek on a breakaway and he makes Osgood look stupid! What's that? Another breakaway?! Go Marleau go! Only Red Wing fans care if he was offsides, this game definitely belongs in the Sharks' history books.
9. It has a V12 engine, 640 horsepower, and the shooting arm of a gorilla on steroids. Some say that he is a CIA experiment gone wrong and that his tears are adhesive. Others say that he is illegal in 17 U.S. states and that he can catch a fish with his tongue. All we know is... he's called the Boyler!! Description: Dan Boyle takes a pass from the boards, blasts off from the Sharks' defensive zone, goes around two Sabre defenseman, literally shoves Toni Lydman out of his way, and quickly flashes the puck between Ryan Miller's pads. (Now with soundtrack!)
10. Watching this exciting roller coaster against the Devils—that had a disappointing ending—I had to rewind my DVR to see this goal over and over again asking myself, "How the hell did that go in?!" Three words: Pavelski is amazing. Joe Pavelski = future great captain of the NHL (Sharks or no Sharks, but hopefully Sharks).
11. Just in case you have not noticed yet, I love it when hockey players deke around defenders. But whoever expected it from a defenseman like Christian Ehrhoff?! Forget all those criticisms from Drew Remenda about shooting wide, as he puts this one away in overtime.
12. Almost all Shark fans and opponents know that Joe Pavelski is a near-god in the faceoff circle, but how about this shot from the faceoff dot—surrounded by three defenders—to beat Ryan Miller for the first Sharks' lead of the game. (By request in the comments—this is one of the goals that would not load earlier).
13. When your team allows Milan Michalek to breakaway from play, you know you're about to be in big trouble, that is unless your goalie is a miracle worker. Unfortunately for Kipper, that was not the case as Michalek not only broke away from the Calgary defenders, but he took the time to fake a slap shot and tease Kiprusoff as well.
In the end, all Sharks goals are amazing, because each and every single one is one step closer to the ultimate goal. However, for some dumb reason the NHL doesn't think so.... Perhaps the reason is that it is simply expected of the Sharks to play with such outstanding, raw passion and tenacity each and every single game. Which goal has your vote as so-far the greatest Sharks' goal of this 2008-2009 season?
Keep in mind, these are only my nominations, if you have any other ones either post the link in comments or describe it and I'll try to find it and throw into the post.
AHEM Just to close out this fan post on goals, why not throw in this one for the sake of a big smile :)
74 votes total
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