In this edition of our Every Goal series, it’s time for another forward leaving via free agency: Jeff Tambellini. The pint-sized forward joined the Canucks on a league-minimum contract, hoping to contribute to the team he grew up idolizing. Let’s take a look at every goal Jeff Tambellini scored in 2010-11.
The most immediate thing that stands out is when Tambellini scored all of his goals: they all came within the span of 67 days, 9 goals in 18 games played. Outside of that 18 game streak, he went 44 regular season games and 6 postseason games without a goal, which is why he’ll be playing in Switzerland rather than the NHL. It’s a storyline that has become too common in his brief NHL career: a hot start punctuated by scoring streaks followed by long stretches of ice cold offense.
But that’s too much negativity: let us instead focus on celebrating the good times of Tambellini’s brief time with the Canucks, when his ability to hit the top corner of the net from the right faceoff circle seemed downright magical and the Canucks didn’t lose a game in his first 10 appearances in the lineup.
The fifth goal in a 5-1 blowout, Tambellini shows his breakaway speed by speeding away on a break…away. The feather-soft pass from Henrik is a highlight as is the nonchalant way Tamby roofs the puck past Jose “Alvin Simon” Theodore. The leg-kick makes him look like a miniature version of Ryan Kesler.
His next goal came in his next game as Tambellini once again skated with the Sedins while Alex Burrows was injured. Tamby’s Burrows impersonation is about as good as his Kesler impersonation, as he throws a hit to free up the puck then heads straight for the net. The Sedins pull off their typical wizardry and Tambellini makes no mistake.
One of Tambellini’s best attributes is how quickly he can get the puck on net and this is a prime example. Alex Edler’s point shot takes a couple crazy bounces and lands directly in front of Tambellini in the slot. The puck barely hits the ice before he swats it towards the net. It’s a good decision, because he didn’t have time to get off a proper wristshot and with Kesler heading straight to the net, a rebound would likely have resulted in a goal anyways.
Once again, Tambellini scores in back-to-back games, with this goal bearing a strong similarity to his third goal. Another rebound off an Edler point shot finds Tambellini in the slot and he wastes no time getting the shot on net, though he has to corral the puck first. Ray Ferraro, the best colour man in hockey, astutely points out that it’s Tambellini’s speed on the forecheck that creates the offensive opportunity in the first place.
I expected the common theme of these goals to be Tamby’s Magic Shooty Spot, but this makes for three goals in a row where Tambellini uses his soft touch to direct in a rebound rather than rip a wrister. This goal comes after a Malhotra centering pass slips past Tambellini to Hamhuis at the point, who just throws the puck on net. Tamby deftly deflects it, handcuffing Curtis McElhinney and leaving an open net for him to tuck home the rebound. He also scored the shootout winner, one of only two on the year in five attempts.
Tambellini’s only powerplay goal of the year comes off a beautiful centering pass by Mikael Samuelsson. The key to this goal: look where Tambellini comes from. After covering the point for the pinching Dan Hamhuis, Tamby streaks directly through the 4-man box to the net. With the threats of Burrows and Hamhuis on either side, this is the last place from which the penalty killers expect the attack.
Finally, a goal from Tamby’s Magic Shooty Spot. His release and accuracy are thoroughly remarkable, but my favorite part of this goal is Jannik Hansen in his role as the bumbling sidekick that accidentally helps the hero. With Ehrhoff driving the middle of the ice, Hansen slips up, sliding on his stomach, disguising Tambellini as he streaks towards his necromantic circle of dæmonic accuracy.
This is a nicely executed 2-on-1, as Kesler smartly turns and lifts Sam Gagner’s stick to ensure his own stick is free for Tambellini’s return pass. Tambellini only has eyes for his Magic Shooty Spot, however, and snipes a wristshot over the sprawling Ryan Whitney and the goalie’s left Khabi.
Tambellini capitalizes on some stellar work by Kesler, who splits the defense and rings a shot off the crossbar in his bid for a hattrick. Tambellini taps the rebound into the open net, but what in the world was Oskars Bartulis doing? After he fails to catch Kesler, his one responsibility is to pick up the trailer: he’s got two options, as both Tambellini and Hansen skate hard, while Jeff Carter coasts on the backcheck like he was just traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bartulis picks up neither Hansen nor Tambellini, however, leaving both of them wide open in front of the net. Granted, it was the 6th goal in a 6-2 game, but we’re never going to re-name the blog Pass it to Bartulis with plays like that. At least jump on someone’s back, for Pete’s sake.
Tambellini’s final goal of the season capped off a 6-game point streak. It was 14 games before he notched another point and he ended the season with a 25-game drought. That is a commitment to streakiness the likes of which I have never seen before. Farewell Tambellini. We wish you well in the future and I pray your Magic Shooty Spot follows you wherever you end up. I hear Europe has a strong tradition of wizards. Best of luck!
Tags: Canucks, Every Goal 10-11, featured, Tambellini, Tamby's Magic Shooty Spot