nathan gerbe

If we’re cutting to the chase: shooting the puck between your legs is not just Not Showboating, but it’s also not that hard (for anyone who plays the game for a living, anyway). And as a righty, if i’m coming across the net right to left, it’s also a damn effective way to protect the puck, shoot across the grain and beat the goalie on his left, my right. I personally believe that using the move is both practice and effective.

The problem, is that North American coaches see it as the opposite, meaning if you try it and miss they think you pissed away a scoring chance trying to make yourself look cool, and you’ll be stapled to the bench. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Earlier this year Tomas Hertl caused a stir by scoring his fourth goal of the game(!) as a rookie(!) by going through his legs and beating Martin Biron (¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Apparently a few people took issue with this, people that are terrible sad untalented jealous old? have differing views on how the game of hockey should be played.

Here’s what the NHL’s 7th leading scorer in the history of the game, Jaromir Jagr had to say about Hertl (which surely applies to Gerbe’s recent goal too):

“I heard some things — ‘It’s not good, it’s embarrassing.’ …No way. Guys who are saying he’s trying to embarrass them, they would never be able to pull that move so they’re jealous that he can do that.

“It’s just a very smart move. You’re just protecting the puck with your body so the goalie cannot poke-check you … It’s harder to score like that, but it’s more safe. Some people calling it a cocky goal, they don’t really understand that.”

Without further ado, here are the 10 (actually, 11) best “through-the-legs” NHL goals of all-time. Feel free to put your own submissions in the comments, and for the love of Pete, can we name this move please?

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#10

Vincent Lecavalier

In what has to be most over-dramatic, overwrought piece of video-making, here’s Vinny Lecavalier scoring a big one in playoffs. The rest of the videos are less painful, I swear.

The craziest part: here he is six years later, scoring between his legs again, against Montreal again. So, we’ll let those stand as a tie for the 10th best “through-the-legs” goals. (Dammit, name this thing already.)

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#9

Jonathan Cheechoo

A popular hockey fallacy is “Jonathan Cheechoo only scored 56 goals that one year because of Joe Thornton.” Now, granted, it was a HUGE reason he did. But he also had some pretty decent skills.

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#8

Rick Nash

The “side of the net” variety of through-the-legs goals might be my favourite simply because there’s no time for planning, it’s purely reactionary. How skilled is that? “My stick will be at a better angle if I put it through my legs” just…happens in these players’ brains in like, under a second.

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#7

Brendan Morrison

Solid execution, love where the shot was placed.

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#6

Nick Foligno

A little outta place amongst some of the names on this list, but man, he made his contribution to it count.

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#5

Nathan Gerbe

The man who inspired this compilation. Dude gets it done at full-tilt. How good is that?

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#4

Mario Lemieux

Again, showing my affinity for the men who do it in a reactionary way. This was simply the most efficient way for The Magnificent One to get the shot on net, so he does it. Plus, this wasn’t A Thing in that era, so it’s even cooler.

Skip to 1:54.

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#3

Daniel Sedin

Sedin gets his hat-trick by executing the move with precision, assassin-style. There might be something to players trying this more in games when they’ve already got a couple goals under their belt, and are feeling extra confident.

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#2

Tomas Hertl

Everything about this goal pushes it this high. The kid’s age (then 19), that it was his fourth goal, how clean the execution was…love it.

And finally, your winner, my favorite…

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#1

Marek Malik

Kinda contradicting myself with the whole “love it when it’s reactionary thing,” but come on. Marek Malik. Huge d-man. 10,000th round of the shootout. Near flawless execution in an era when few people dared try fancy stuff. The understated celebration.

All those things combine to make this the single best “though-the-legs” goal out there. Dare we call it The Malik?