You’d be hard-pressed to find a hockey fan that would claim last night’s bizarre, series-clinching goal was not the strangest OT-winner they’d ever seen. The goal, scored by Kevin Bieksa when the puck hit a stanchion and squirted out to him at the point, fooled almost everyone, including every play-by-play guy calling the game (except for John Shorthouse). Chief amongst the players fooled was Antti Niemi, who lost sight of the puck, and didn’t find it again until it was bouncing out of his net and Kevin Bieksa was streaking down the ice a hero.
But Game 5 also saw another hero emerge, and his story is only beginning to be told. Here I refer not to Ryan Kesler, who fought through a leg injury of some sort to tie the game up with thirteen seconds to go, but to the Rogers Arena stanchion that orchestrated BOTH the game-tying and game-winning goals.
Here’s the game-winning goal again, just to refresh your memories.
Now, some of you might think that the fortuitous bounce — a fluke that the media are now calling the Immaculate Deflection — was the stanchion’s only contribution last night. You would be wrong. Remember the icing call that led to Ryan Kesler’s goal?
Many have observed that the puck hits Daniel Sedin, and it does, grazing his shoulder on its way out of the zone. But, the only reason it does this is because it takes a weird bounce off a stanchion. Take a look for yourself in this slow-motion replay:
If the puck doesn’t jump off the stanchion, Daniel likely contacts it along the end boards. He’s not quite in position to hold it in, however, so either he slows it down and it doesn’t go the length of the ice, or his touch is more visible, and the officials don’t blow the play down for icing. In short, without the stanchion’s generous redirection, chances are the Canucks don’t get the crucial offensive zone faceoff that leads to Kesler’s generous redirection.
What makes this is even more interesting is that it’s the exact same stanchion. After the puck hits Daniel, the camera follows it out of the zone, and you can see that it came off the fifth stanchion in from the Sharks’ bench. The first one is wrapped in a red safety pad.
And here’s a freeze frame of the bounce that led to game-winning goal. Again, counting from the red pad, you can see that Edler is in the process of putting the puck off the same stanchion.
Last night, some moved for the Vancouver faithful to Retire The Stanchion, or, at the very least, give it a spot up in the ring of honour next to Thomas Gradin. But that was before we knew the full breadth of its contributions. Now, retiring the stanchion seems about the least we can do.Tags: Bieksa, Canucks, Edler, featured, retire the stanchion, Round 3