Since its introduction to the NHL six years ago, the shootout has been one of the greatest spectacles to watch in the sports world. It has been a medium for the NHL's best to showcase their skill and creativity.
Some people think that the shootout isn't a great way to decide the outcome of a game—see the Flyers sneaking into the 2010 playoffs on a shootout win against the New York Rangers. But regardless of your view of the appropriateness of the shootout, you have to admit that you absolutely love the emotion and tension involved in the shootout.
Who doesn't love seeing their favorite players grab the spotlight for a few seconds and try to prove themselves to be the slickest player to ever grace the ice?
Interestingly, it's not always the highest scoring players or the most talented players who blow people's minds on the shootout—but it's a great way for players whose shiftiness and cleverness go unnoticed to show off.
Without any further ado, here are the 15 sickest, slickest moves ever pulled off in the shootout.
To start off, here is a rather cheeky move. I began with this one because, as awesome as it is, technically speaking it's not legal.
This move was done in a competition rather than an actual game. Niederreiter throws one of his gloves toward the goalie and then one-hands the puck top-shelf. Still, this move takes some slickness and some boldness to perform.
We're all familiar with the spin-o-rama shootout move.
It's been done on every level. Everyone has seen this move both pulled-off and failed miserably in every level of the game.
Nobody does it better than Jason Blake, though. It's his trademark move and he does it better than anyone I've ever seen.
T.J. Oshie pulls off this incredible move on the international stage.
He really sells the fake-shot well and the goalie goes down hard, leaving a gaping net to slam dunk the puck into.
When Oshie took his first go at the NHL shootout, what better move to go to than the same one that he already used so successfully?
Here's another beautiful fake-shot goal.
The beauty of this shot, however, is that whereas Oshie throws the fake shot with his hips and keeps the puck on his stick, Vanek doesn't touch the puck and just whacks at the air before actually ripping the puck past Hedberg.
This is the only video clip that I could find for this goal, and it includes the whole shootout sequence. Skip forward to the :57 mark to watch Vanek's goal.
Martin St. Louis, among many other things, is famous for his go-to shootout technique in which he turns his back to the goalie and backhands the puck into the net.
This video is from the 2011 All-Star game. The clip shows him using his deadly technique twice. The first time, he just backhands the puck in (which is a brilliant move in and of itself because the backhand is so hard for goaltenders to read). On the second go-round, he switches his stance, acting like he's going to backhand the puck again and then turns his body back around and goes around the goalie.
He's also pulled off the move in many real games. Check out this particular variation of his deadly backhand.
I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a goalie and see Pavel Datsyuk come in on you alone.
This is the first of a few slick Datsyuk moves in this slideshow. What else do you expect? It's an article on slick shootout moves and Datsyuk is the slickest guy in the NHL.
This particular move is just ridiculous—it's almost as if Datsyuk is taunting Carey Price. He just starts waving his stick around in the air right above the puck, as if daring Price to guess which way he's going to deke.
I can almost hear Datsyuk, in a little kid voice, saying to Price, "Which way am I going? Which way? Am I in your head?"
This move isn't even complicated.
It's simple—bounce the puck off the outside of the skate and then rip a snap-shot past the goaltender.
What's slick about this goal is its simplicity and how casually Turris pulls it off. He also pulls it off so fast that Lawson hardly even reacts to the shot because it happens so quickly.
This move really is pretty slick, and if the shooter can pull it off as well as Kopitar does, I imagine it's pretty hard for a goalie to stop.
Kopitar goes one way with his body, getting Thomas to go down, and leaves the puck going the other way and reaches over Thomas with one hand to guide in the disc.
There aren't many players in the league who are shiftier or slicker than Mike Ribeiro.
Ribeiro really gets slick with this move.
He takes Kopitar's one-handed reach goal and adds a through-the-legs deke to the sequence.
What's even better about this goal is Ribeiro's celebration. It doesn't get much more cheeky or slick than this. Ribeiro takes Kopitar's move and one-ups him—and did I mention that this goal was performed against the Kings? Kopitar's team?
Ribeiro skates by the L.A. bench after scoring, and stares down Kopitar and puts his finger to his mouth in a shushing manner.
The times are few and far between when the NHL gets to see a quality between-the-legs shot that ends up in a goal. Often times, when it does occur, it happens during a loose-puck scrum in front of the net.
Pulling off this move during a shootout takes some skill.
Malik executes the move flawlessly and makes one of the NHL's great goaltenders look silly.
Here's Rob Schremp looking incredible a few years back while he was still in the AHL.
Fast forward to the :32 mark of this video to see Schremp's lacrosse goal.
He also takes two more shots after the lacrosse goal. The first fails, but watch the third to see an even slicker move. This kid is shifty.
Check the awesome video here of a 10-year-old pulling off a similar move.
And here's an equally sick move pulled off by Rob Hisey in the Juniors.
Grabovski really gets insane with this goal.
He shows some fancy footwork and creativity. Ty Conklin thinks Grabovski is going for the typical spin-o-rama, but Grabovski then keeps his body rotating and pulls out of a full 360-degree spin to pot home the puck into a wide open net.
Really smooth skills and patience shown off in this one.
Linus Omark is somewhat famous for having pioneered a different shootout goal, which is paid tribute to by Pavel Datsyuk in the next slide. However, Omark is very skilled and embarrasses Tampa Bay's goaltender with this tongue-in-cheek move.
The skill that the move itself took isn't what made this goal so slick—it's not a goal that requires a ton of skill. What makes this goal awesome is the confidence and shiftiness it exhibits for the young Swede.
Just to be fancy, Omark starts out with a spin-o-rama just after picking up the puck at center ice. He then fakes a slap shot, making the goalie think that he's going upstairs and then just puts the puck five-hole along the ice.
The hockey community was in an uproar the morning after this game when the replays were shown over and over again on every major and minor sports broadcasting network.
Could anyone else but Pavel Datsyuk pull off this move?
It just works so brilliantly because goalies give him so much respect—as they should—and get anxious and go down quickly. Datsyuk does his thing and out-waits the goalie and then lobs it over him.
Check out the original performance by Linus Omark here. The coaches laughing on the bench says it all—this is one of the best shootout goals of all time—and it's pretty slick, too.
Does it get any better than this?
Datsyuk throws a large handful of dekes before finally throwing a fake shot and then backhand toe-dragging the puck around the goalie and then slamming the puck home.
To make it even better, he has pulled off the exact same move on more than just this occasion.
This is as dirty as it gets. Thank the hockey gods that the NHL Entry Draft goes longer than five rounds.