Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mike Knuble, Gimmick Warrior

Mike Knuble was the unlikely hero of the Gimmick last night as the Caps defeated the Penguins, 4-3. It was the first time in four tries that Knuble found the back of the net in the trick shot competition. That doesn’t tell the half of it.

Last night’s turn as the solo skater was not only Knuble’s fourth career try, it was his first in more than three years and the first time he was out there in what would end up a win for his team. Here are the other three…

December 3, 2005: Knuble took the ice in the first round of the Gimmick for Philadelphia, facing Nashville’s Tomas Vokoun. Knuble did not have a goal in the hockey portion of this game, but he did have an assist. Vokoun got the Predators off to a good start with a save, and Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya took over from there, each netting a goal as Vokoun stymied Simon Gagne in round two for the 4-3 win in Nashville.

December 19, 2005: This time, Knuble – who had the only goal for the Flyers in regulation – had to wait as the Flyers and Sabres skated in the extra-extra frame. Jeff Carter, Peter Forsberg, and Jon Sim took their turns in the first three rounds, Forsberg skating in the second round and getting the only goal, a tally matched by Tim Connolly in the third round moments later. After Maxim Afinogenov beat Antero Niittymaki to give the Sabres the edge, it was up to Knuble. However, Ryan Miller was up to the task and stopped Knuble to clinch the win in Philadelphia, 2-1.

October 7, 2006: At Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, the Rangers and Flyers fought to a 4-4- tie in regulation, Knuble getting one of the goals for Philadelphia. After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to another extra session. One round without a goal, then two… then three… four… Neither Antero Niittymaki nor Henrik Lundqvist would crack in goal. Knuble’s turn came up in round 10, and he didn’t have any better success, shooting the puck wide on Lundqvist. The contest went to a 13th round, where Marcel Hossa put Niittymaki and the Flyers out of their misery with the only goal of the session, giving the Rangers a 5-4 win.

No wonder he doesn’t like Boudreau tapping him on the shoulder like that.

(photo: AP/Nick Wass)


Norm said...

O.K. - I get it. It's The Gimmick. And I agree in theory with the purity of play to win or tie as Hockey Gods Natural Law.

BUT...if you were at Verizon last night you LOVED watching that shootout. That was fantastic fun.

WHAT? Hockey is actually entertainment? Oh yeah...Maybe The Gimmick is makes sense.

Brian said...

Sorry, Norm. I've been at several games where there's a gimmick...and while I don't leave the arena like some folks, I hate seeing hockey games determined this way. It's ridiculous to take a team game and make it a one-on-one skills competition to drum up fake drama.

It's not exciting, and it needs to go.

Jimmy said...

Norm, I've been to plenty of shootouts at VC and haven't "loved" any of them. Hockey is entertainment, yeah, but the Gimmick diminishes it.