Watch Zack Kassian play a few games and you’ll notice a major difference between the Canucks’ prospect and many of the power forwards to whom he’s often compared: the kid can pass the puck. Kassian’s size tends to be his most discussed trait — which is fair, since it’s the first thing you see when you look at him — but he has superb vision and playmaking ability for a big man.
Case in point: the absolutely insane floater pass Kassian made during a visit from the Abbotsford Heat over the weekend, setting up Darren Haydar for a highlight-reel powerplay goal. This, friends, is incredible.
Man. Henry Rowengartner’s mom is impressed with that floater. Impressively quick work from Haydar too to get this puck from his mitt to his stick, but nothing is going to overshadow that feed. My goodness.
The question, of course, is whether or not Kassian meant to do that. Wolves’ play-by-play guy Jason Shaver originally describes the pass as an attempt to bank the puck off Barry Brust and into the back of the net. If that’s the case, this is, like Donnie Darko, an accidental masterpiece. But colour analyst Bill Gardner disagrees with the assessment. From where he’s sitting (which is right next to Shaver), Kassian really did have the presence of mind to float this puck over Brust and right into the quick mitts of Darren Haydar.
I’m inclined to agree with him, for a number of reasons. First, it sure looks intentional, especially from the other side. Second, we’ve been touting Kassian’s surprising vision for awhile now, so this isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Third, we’ve been watching the Sedins for nearly a decade; when it comes to unbelievable passes, the realm of possibility has become pretty vast. And finally, speaking of the Sedins, Kassian spent part of his summer training with them. Ask Alex Burrows: those two tend to rub off on you.
Intentional or otherwise, it counted, and it would stand up as the game-winner, as the Wolves closed out 2012 with a 3-2 win.
s/t to Jeff Angus for the tip and Vladimir Len for the clip.