Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and the Best Trick Shots in Hockey
Each season, there are a handful of mind boggling goals scored that will be remembered for years to come because of the sheer skill and creativity needed to make them possible.
Alex Ovechkin announced his arrival to the hockey world in 2006 when he scored what is simply now known as, "the goal," against the Phoenix Coyotes during his rookie campaign.
Owen Nolan beat Dominik Hasek with maybe the most memorable goal ever in an All-Star Game in 1997 on the tally referred to now as "the point."
Many other lesser known players like Mike Legg, Linus Omark and Rob Schremp have made names for themselves in large part due to their legendary goals that became instant YouTube classics.
With that in mind, here's a look at some of the best trick shots in recent hockey history.
No. 10: Mike Legg
Mike Legg's incredible lacrosse-style goal.
Even some of the most avid hockey fans may not have heard of Mike Legg, and who could blame them, considering the 36-year old London, Ontario native finished his career in 2003, after a couple of seasons in the ECHL.
However, Legg scored one of the most imaginative goals of all time while playing for the University of Michigan in 1996. With his Wolverines down a goal against the University of Minnesota in the Western Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament, Legg picked up the puck on the blade of his stick from behind the net, and beat the stunned Golden Gophers goaltender with a lacrosse-style shot.
The move has been replicated on a number of occasions, as Sidney Crosby and Mikael Granlund scored identical goals in more recent years, but Legg's originality is what sets him apart, which is why the stick he used on the goal now sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
No. 9: Steven Stamkos
Stamkos' behind the back tally.
Before Steven Stamkos burst onto the NHL scene as the top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, he had established himself as one of the most gifted goal scorers in the OHL's recent history.
At a skills competition in 2008, Stamkos displayed his silky hands with this jaw-dropping penalty shot goal while playing for the Sarnia Sting.
Stamkos glides in towards the net, and upon reaching the bottom of the circles in the offensive zone, he shifts his stick behind his back, and launches the puck into the top corner of the net past a bewildered netminder.
It is just one of many amazing goals scored by Stamkos in his career, but it served as a sign of things to come for Tampa Bay Lightning fans.
No. 8: Wayne Gretzky
Gretzky's baseball swing of a goal.
As the greatest goal scorer in the history of the game, there are a number of Wayne Gretzky's tallies that could have made his list.
With that being said, Gretzky's goal against the Vancouver Canucks stands alone because of the creativity and superior hockey sense required to make the play possible.
After releasing a shot near the top of the circles in the Canucks' zone, Gretzky's rebound drifted through the air. Upon tracking the puck down, Gretzky, in one motion, bats the the puck out of mid air into the right side of the net.
The hand-eye coordination and imagination it takes to execute a play like this is off the charts, but that's why Gretzky is widely considered the greatest player of all time.
No. 7: Rob Schremp
Rob Schremp's shootout moves.
Though Rob Schremp has struggled to find his way as an offensive threat at the NHL level, there's no questioning his abilities with the puck.
As a member of the London Knights, Schremp demonstrated his skill and creativity on a nightly basis as he scored 145 points in 57 games during his final season in the OHL.
The following year, as a member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Schremp put on a show at the AHL's Skills Competition during the shootout segment of the event.
On his first penalty shot, Schremp skated down the middle of the ice, picking up the puck on his blade and cradling it back and forth over his shoulders like a lacrosse player. Upon reaching the top of the crease, Schremp makes one last fake before rifling it over the goaltender to the delight of the fans.
Though he was stopped on his second shot, Schremp looked good in the process, as he flipped the puck up into the air and attempted to bat the puck over the goaltender. His third shot is a little less impressive by his standards, but he still managed to fire a between-the-legs shot past the goalie for his second goal of the competition.
No. 6: Owen Nolan
Owen Nolan calls his shot.
Over the course of his 18 seasons in the NHL, Owen Nolan was selected to play in the league's All-Star Game five times.
Though each experience was obviously memorable for the longtime San Jose Sharks power forward, his performance on home ice during the 1997 edition of the All-Star Game was by far the most memorable.
After potting two goals, just eight seconds apart at the end of the second period, Nolan was hungry for a hat trick. With just over two minutes left in the game, Nolan streaked down the left wing, and found himself in all alone on eventual two-time Hart Trophy winner Dominik Hasek.
As Nolan prepared to shoot, he takes his bottom hand off his stick and points to the top right corner of the net, effectively calling his own shot.
It worked perfectly, as Nolan completed his hat trick by unleashing a bullet that beat a stunned Hasek, sending the fans at the Shark Tank into a frenzy.
No. 5: Sidney Crosby
Crosby's incredible deflection.
Since entering the league in 2005-06, Sidney Crosby has improved as a goal scorer every year, providing hockey fans with bushels of highlight reel plays.
Though this isn't a trick shot per se, it's a play that takes a huge amount of skill from both Crosby, and Sergei Gonchar, who let the initial shot go from the point.
As Gonchar winds up to unleash one of his patented bombs from his usual spot on the power play, he eyes Crosby to the right of the net, and intentionally fires the puck wide.
Crosby, anticipating Gonchar's decision to shoot wide, positions his stick perfectly to redirect the puck between his legs past a helpless Martin Biron.
The touch and composure needed to execute this play are part of what makes Crosby such a special player, and the game needs him to return very soon.
No. 4: Linus Omark
Linus Omark's magical lob against Switzerland.
Before he ever suited up for an NHL game, Linus Omark had become more popular than most fourth round picks, simply because of the dazzling shootout goal he scored during an exhibition game against Switzerland in 2009.
Omark's goal became a YouTube sensation, and though he's yet to establish himself as an everyday NHL player, he's become a fan favorite in Edmonton due to his abilities to pull off moves like the one above.
After picking the puck up at center ice, Omark, a left-handed shot, glides down the left wing, and slowly drifts towards the middle of the ice as he hits the the circles in the offensive zone. From there, Omark fakes a shot from the top of the crease before lightly flipping the puck up and over the Swiss goaltender. The shot glances off the crossbar before dropping gently over the goal line, giving Omark one of the most imaginative shootout goals of all time.
Since Omark's legendary goal, one of the most skilled shootout artists in the game, Pavel Datsyuk paid tribute to Omark by pulling the same move off during a regular season game against Chicago.
Though Omark may never become an NHL star, his shootout goal in a meaningless exhibition contest will be remembered for years to come.
No. 3: Peter Forsberg
Forsberg's golden one-handed shootout goal.
Speaking of goals that have been mimicked by other players, Peter Forsberg's penalty shot goal to secure the Gold Medal for Sweden at the 1994 Olympics has served as a template for dozens of other attempts over the years.
Recently, players like Jussi Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro and Anze Kopitar have used Forsberg's move to beat goaltenders on penalty shots, and the move appears to be just as unpredictable for goaltenders as it was when Forsberg beat Canada's Corey Hirsch with the maneuver over 15 years ago.
The move basically consists of drawing the goaltender to one side of the net with a simple deke, and once he's committed, the shooter pulls the puck to his backhand on the opposite side of the crease, creating what appears to be an easy one-handed tap-in. However, it continues to leave goaltenders, including 2011 Vezina winner Tim Thomas, dumbfounded.
Forsberg's tally stands above all the other one-handed shootout goals not only because it's the original, but also because a Gold Medal was at stake when he attempted the move.
In addition, it continues to be the only shootout goal in hockey history that had it's own stamp created after it.
No. 2: Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin's goal while falling against Phoenix.
Alex Ovechkin has scored over 300 goals during his six NHL seasons, but one stands above the rest because he's the only player capable of pulling it off.
During his rookie year, Ovechkin established himself as one of the most exciting young players in the game, but after this goal against Phoenix in 2006, even Wayne Gretzky was left speechless.
Streaking down the right wing in on Phoenix's Paul Mara, Ovechkin tried one of his signature curl-and-drag moves, but was taken down in the process.
While falling to the ice, Ovechkin somehow steered the puck towards the net with the blade of his stick, beating a stunned Brian Boucher, who appeared to have thought that Ovechkin wasn't much of a threat to score from his back.
After the goal, Wayne Gretzky, Phoenix's coach at the time, was caught on camera staring at the Jumbotron in awe of what had just transpired on the ice, which is a testament to how truly amazing the play was.
No. 1: Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk undresses Dallas' Turco in 2006.
Since the NHL introduced the shootout in 2005-06, Pavel Datsyuk has embarrassed his fair share of goaltenders with his soft hands and quick feet.
However, what will likely go down as his signature shootout move, the backhand toe-drag, was originally unveiled by the Russian playmaker on a breakaway, with opposing players in hot pursuit during a game against Dallas in 2006.
With Datsyuk in all alone on All-Star goaltender Marty Turco, the slick Red Wings' superstar skillfully faked a shot on his forehand, before pulling the puck using his backhand as he glided on one leg towards the opposite side of the net. The move froze Turco, and left Datsyuk with an empty net to flip the puck into.
Since then, the move has become known as the "Datsyuk," and he's it multiple times during shootouts, leaving goaltenders helpless each and every time.