I used to be a goalie. It has been more years without playing goalie than it ever was playing, but I still get the mentality it takes to be the backstop. You are the last line of defense, and generally the only one in a group of 1000 guys or gals willing to have vulcanized rubber shot at you at freeway speeds. It takes a special breed, it truly does.
If you have ever interviewed a goalie, or had a conversation with a goalie, they are a bit off. Their personality is generally just sub-level. Weird, strange, bizarre... all are words used to describe the guy who sits in the corner, mentally preparing himself for the task at hand. The only examples that come to mind for an example are the starting pitcher in baseball and the kicker in football.
Don't talk to them, man. They're... off.
One thing goalies generally are not? Whiny. The majority of goalies I have met are self reliant, confident to the point of cockiness, and ready to battle at a moments notice. Donning the gear of a goaltender makes one look like they are headed into a medieval tournament in which no one knows what type of weapons will be used. One cannot be whiny if they plan to win said tournament.
While the strangeness of a goalie can sometimes give them a sullen, quiet demeanor, they are the first to accept blame, and the last to take credit. They are, in general, the most team first people you will ever meet.
Then, there are the whiners. The exception to the rule that make everyone else in giant leg pads look bad. Everyone has an example, someone they know or have played with that is whinier than a two year old, accepting just as much responsibility in loss as the water bottle on the bench.
Last night, Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin (yeah... who?) was scored on by Vancouver's Mason Raymond in the shootout. The move? One we have all seen before here in Minnesota, one which Dennis Savard made famous, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard re-introduced. The spin-o-rama. Here's the video:
For comparison, here is Bouchard's move:
Same thing. Players have done it more times than I can count since the shootout came back. You want to know why? Because it works. It is difficult to defend, and it helps their team win. No problem there, right? Wrong.
Poulin, who only has an NHL job because the Islanders have less ability to manage goaltenders than HWSRN has in conducting a draft, did not looked pleased after the goal. After the game, Chris Botta on Twitter:
Kevin Poulin on Mason Raymond's spinarama goal in the shootout: "It's a show-off move."
Indeed. A show-off move. That's the best Poulin could come up with after being schooled by Mason Raymond. No ownership of his miserable attempt to stop the attempt, no "I should have known it was coming." No, instead, he calls Raymond a show off, and allows the Canucks to skate away with the extra point.
You want to know just how bad this is, Mr. Poulin? You have me defending the actions of a Canuck. Come on, man. Really?
Surely, one goalie whining to a reporter about the move he failed to stop would not warrant such a sardonic post (thank you again, twitter, I love that word). No, if Mr. Poulin had been the first goalie this season to turn into a sniveling bag of crybaby after losing a game, we likely would have mocked him a bit and moved on. However, he wasn't the first.
Our good friend, Mr. Dan Ellis did so earlier this year, after Linus Omark, an Oilers prospect, did a little piroette at center ice before doing a fake shot and beating Ellis to win the game for the Oil. We made our comments here and on Twitter, as well as in private conversation, but we basically left the story to the teams involved, and to the NHL writers. If you do not remember the attempt, here it is:
Yeah. Dan Ellis and his teammates went off, calling Omark "disrespectful," among other things. Being that it was Dan Ellis, the goalie who taught us all how difficult is is to have millions of dollars, the story became an even bigger deal. Everyone and their sister weighed in, with most wanting to know what the big deal was. Omark helped his team win, and Ellis came up short. Take your lumps and move on. No need for the hissy fit.
As you no doubt have read on any one of the blogs writing about this topic today, there is a very simple solution to the entire issue. Should we have a beer summit at the White House? How about a MMA battle in the octagon? Perhaps we could sit down and just talk about it civilly. Clearly, the NHL should put a new rule in place preventing such shootout attempts. Nah. You see, this is much more simple than that. The solution to the entire issue comes down to my firends in the painted masks.
Stop. The. Puck.
Simple as that. You stop the puck, this isn't in the paper, it isn't on blogs, and no one cares about it. Raymond and Omark look silly, and likely get chewed out for attempting a foolish shot. Instead, you can't make the save, and it becomes a highlight reel on Sportscenter. Rather than be a man about it, admit you got beat, and let it pass, you vent your frustration to a reporter and show exactly what a poor sport looks like.
Semantics play a big part in writing, reporting, and general conversation. How we word things makes all the difference in the world. Ask Mark Twain about that. Dan Ellis calls Omark "disrespectful." Poulin insinuates that Raymond is a "show-off." I have a different term for Raymond and Omark.
Now, can't we all focus on the things in life that really are disrespectful?