There is nothing worse for the morale and momentum of a hockey team than giving up a bad goal. By definition a bad goal would be a play that a goaltender would normally make on a puck.
The incredible talent and coordination that NHL goalies posses means that they are accustomed to galvanized rubber being projected at their body parts at speeds upwards of 100 mph. A fluky bounce or a momentary lapse in concentration can swing the tide of momentum, kill or ignite a crowd and completely deflate or inspire a team.
Even the best goaltenders in the world have moments where they look mortal. The torque and speed of the rubber puck combined with the unpredictable frozen surface have clowned the best backstops in the world. Conversely, some of the most routine shots in the world count every bit the same as the end-to-end rush that dangles through five opponents.
The not-so-subtle difference between the two is that one goal could be the play of the day in the NHL and the other could be a game-changing, series-changing blooper that defines your career. Here are some of the most insane long-distance shots in NHL history. Enjoy now!
Vesa Toskala has 129 career wins and 13 shutouts in the NHL, but might be remembered more for this goal than anything else he may have accomplished in his NHL career.
Chris Osgood has had arguably one of the strangest career arcs in the NHL. He can be considered underrated with 401 career NHL wins and three Stanley Cups because he is known as much for plays like these.
Beloved despite bedeviling Red Wing fans with his propensity for the weird goal, "Ozzie" ultimately could find himself a spot in the hockey Hall of Fame.
Would you believe that the Red Wings overcame this and went on to repeat as Stanley Cup champions in 1998? The Dallas-Detroit rivalry got pretty good in the late 1990s with the Stars winning the cup the next year with an equally notable goal.
With plays like this, the "Osssssss-gooooooooood" chants would fire up anytime Detroit gave up a goal on the road. As a Red Wings fan, the hat trick Osgood fails is still hard to watch.
Let's wash that bad Osgood taste from our mouths with some more fresh Toskala. In his defense...okay, there is no defending this.
This is one of those career-defining, series-changing goals that will forever be associated with Dan Cloutier. This goal would turn momentum back to the Detroit Red Wings after losing the first two games of their playoff series at home.
Nick Lidstrom is one of the greatest players to ever lace up the skates, but we should hardly expect him to score with any regularity from this distance. Or should we...?
Talk about a back-breaking goal. A center ice shot with time running out in the period can kill a team's confidence. Especially in their goalie. Turek had a couple of great seasons in St. Louis, but will be more remembered for failing in the playoffs and for goals like this.
Ray Emery is glad that this was only in a preseason game, but it is worth noting. I hate to give Matt Cooke credit for much of anything, but his long-distance shot was actually pretty impressive. It beat Emery and five-holes Brent Seabrook.
As I was saying about Nicklas Lidstrom and his long-range sniping: The Red Wings could use him on defense these days, and some of these goals would be nice too.
Miikka Kiprusoff is known for his solid, consistent and often spectacular play. Honestly, I had to watch this replay about three times just to follow the puck, so it's hard to blame "Kipper" for this fluky goal.
Derek Morris does his best Nicklas Lidstrom impression to try and turn the tide of the western conference final last year. He would make Jonathan Quick look human for a moment, but that would be one of the few bright spots for the Coyotes. The Kings would take the series and go on to win the Stanley Cup.
There can't be a long-distance shooting slideshow without giving props to the goalies who have scored from long range. I feel like there should be a Kenny Loggins montage-specific score to the video, but the play-by-play calls will have to do.
For all you young spark plug goalies out there, please pay attention when a defenseman is getting ready to dump the puck in. Your job is to keep your eye on the puck at all times, something that Mike Smith seemed to forget here.
Ondrej Pavelec has nights when he looks like the second coming of Patrick Roy, and then he has plenty more nights that he looks like Ondrej Pavelec. This long-range disaster is a microcosm of the Atlanta Thrashers' existence, memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Johan Hedberg should know better than to take his eye off of Clayton Stoner when he has the puck. With three career goals and a shooting percentage of .029, Stoner can light the lamp whenever he wants to. He just chooses to focus on the defensive part of his game more often.
In reality Hedberg's terrible misplay looks worse because it happened on home ice where the goalie should know the play of the boards like the back of his hand.
Of all the pucks that Corey Perry has put into the net, this might be his least favorite. With his Anaheim Ducks trailing by a goal, they pull the net minder for an extra attacker.
As Perry circles behind the net he centers the puck to no one in particular. The puck glides right into the center of the Anaheim goal to seal the Edmonton victory.
The puck sometimes has eyes, particularly when it is bouncing. Pittsburgh goaltender Sebastien Caron found this out the hard way, surrendering a long-distance butterfly from Washington's Ivan Majeský.
Antero, puck. Antero...? Seriously? As a professional hockey goalie the one thing that is more important than anything else is to keep the puck out of the net. Especially when other players are out on the ice.
Small wonder that Niittymaki hasn't landed on an NHL roster since 2011.
I love how the announcers give Ryane Clowe some type of credit for this. The boneheaded play by Dallas rookie Ivan Vishnevskiy is the singular reason for this own goal. Sure, Clowe poke-checked the puck into the Dallas zone, but that's where his contribution ends.
Vishnevskiy's five-game NHL career is currently on hiatus as he has taken his talents to Atlant Mytishchi of the Russian KHL.
It's hard to qualify this as a shot even if it was intended to be. Max Pacioretty's benign toss towards the Carolina net happened to be his first goal of the year. Unfortunately for Cam Ward, it was not the first goal he has surrendered all year.
It's hard to blame Jon Casey for letting this goal in. After all, it's a top-shelf slapper from Steve Yzerman in double overtime. The hockey gods certainly couldn't have orchestrated a better scenario, unless of course the Game 7 happened to be in the Stanley Cup Final.
At any rate, after a series of horrible misplays, bad bounces, bad luck and a dusting of sorcery, I figured I would end this article with something positive. Sorry if you're a St. Louis Blues fan, but as a silver lining, at least those horrible jerseys your team was rocking in 1996 were removed from the playoffs.