Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preference of Respect

As the whole imaginary debacle about Linus Omark's "disrespect" in the shootout against the Lightning on Friday night is dying down-- it got me thinking what can be construed as disrespect. The term seems to be thrown around a little too loosely these days in the NHL, and in hockey in general. Yet, when you look this goal in comparison to another recent goal; the question should arise about which is worse.

First, if you haven't seen the move he pulled on Dan Ellis, it's here below.

Now, you compare that to another spectacular YouTube sensation from Oscar Milton in the second-tier Swedish league. Again, if you haven't seen it-- here it is below.

As a player, I think the Milton goal is much more "disrespectful" than Omark's move-- and here comes the (non) science. You see, the shootout is a gimmick and when it comes to gimmick events, you expect gimmick plays. We've seen it from Thomas Vanek's around the world all the way to Marek Malik putting it between his legs to end a marathon shootout. You expect guys to pull out all the tricks because they really have nothing to lose in doing them, especially if it won't affect the outcome. The point is try to lure the goalie into getting faked out.

That said, Milton's goal was a little more of a showboat effort. While it does take incredible skill, poise, and timing-- the fact he's doing it in a game is something that never sits too well with me. People can go on and on about respect, but if you wanted to play lacrosse-- pick up a twig and go for it. I can't say it's not impressive, because it is, but in the end-- if you're pulling off this stunt when it comes to a game-play situation, you deserve the karma you'll get in the end for doing it.

Which brings me to the point about the term "respect" being used way too commonly when it comes to hockey. Some people are up in arms about a shootout goal, but it's almost like it's being put on the same par with head-shots, hits from behind, and other, more evil things that are plaguing the game today. These two should not correlate to each other. Ever. When you talk about respecting the game, it should be about when it comes to the actual game scenario-- not a skills competition. There's much more pressing issues when it comes to "respecting the game" than a young kid who has been known for the exciting moves in shootouts. You want to worry about Omark respecting the game, clean up the hits, get the dirty shots to the head out of the game, then-- and only then-- can you talk about a great skill move in a skills competition.

All of this said, both Milton and Omark's goals are fantastic and most of my jealous is the fact I couldn't make those moves because I'm a lumbering defenseman. Luckily, Dustin Byfuglien is stepping it up for the big man when it comes to being a finesse player.

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