ESPN has clearly been increasing their coverage of the NHL in preparation of bringing the game back to the Worldwide Leader. They have actually started including most every NHL game highlight to SportsCenter and have included pullouts and spotlights - like what they did with their minute-and-a-half Winter Classic highlight. Last night, as it was a Barry Melrose night, they had the famous mulletted puppet on to talk pucks. They led the show with a remarkable Rick Nash goal and then had Steve Levy and Melrose gush about it. Here it is:
Now both of them called it the goal of the year, maybe of the last two years, before reigning in that comment by showing the Ovie-on-his-back goal. That may prove to be the goal of the century - whatever. The Nash goal was fantastic, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't even the goal of the year - this was:
And now I'll tell you why: While Nash's goal came at a better time (last minute of a tied game with 4-on-4 action), Toews' was more impressive; the baby Hawk did it against better defenders, at full strength and at full speed!
But if you are that hung up on context, then look at it this way - Nash's goal won a regular season game for Columbus against Phoenix - two mediocre young teams that will likely miss the playoffs. Toews' goal may have proven to be the spark that will reignite one of the Original Six franchises. It showed Chicago fans that the kids that the Hawks accumulated were actually the real deal and helped get the ball rolling to make them relevant again. ESPN has always been given to a bit of over-dramatization, especially when it serves their best interests. In this case, you shouldn't don't believe the hype, just admire the skill of both players and feel heartened because the NHL will be back on a real station soon.