The NHL has a handful of stars in the league that wow you with their incredibly high level of skill and ability to make moves that seem unreal, even for a video game. Anaheim Ducks’ forward Trevor Zegras seems to have the trophy won in that regard, but every once and a while, a shootout move goes viral and it’s not a move that comes from the best league in the world.
International leagues are known for being full of players who are gifted offensively. In an environment where there’s a bit less emphasis on defense and physicality, there’s a propensity to get creative, and former Edmonton Oilers’ forward Teemu Hartikainen did just that in a recent game between Sweden and Finland in the Swiss EHT tournament. Sweden won, but the shootout attempt by Hartikainen is all anyone is talking about.
The Hartikainen Shootout Move
A left-handed shooter, Hartikainen took his stick in his right hand and slid the puck around his body towards his backhand, then scooped the puck (still on the front blade of his stick) and tried to shovel it into the net, narrowly missing the goal. It caught a lot of attention from the announcers and Hartikainen looked frustrated that he wasn’t able to finish off the move. It was something he appears to have tried numerous times because it was about as fluid as fluid can be.
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The reactions on social media are varied, with many people saying it was an incredible attempt and something they’d never seen before. Some took to partially criticizing the player because the puck didn’t go in and perhaps Hartikaninen was being too flashy given the importance of the shot attempt.
Either way, it was the kind of play very few players could have pulled off and it will certainly be a move more players will try to emulate.
Was Hartikaninen This Type of Forward in Edmonton?
Elite prospects listed Hartikainen as a big forward who could play anywhere up front. He wasn’t known as a highly-skilled forward, instead being the kind of player who could be strong along the boards, good around the opposing net, and possibly get a few minutes on the powerplay. He was known more to be a player who could play with grit and physicality than one that might showcase the all-world skill that this move suggests he has.
All that said, he barely got more than a cup of coffee in the NHL as he played a total of 52 games over three seasons between 2010 and 2013. For most fans who remember him, seeing this move might surprise many who would be shocked to learn this kind of skill was a part of his game.
Does It Count If It Doesn’t Go In?
The debate now is, should fans be gaga over a move like this if it doesn’t go in? The Oilers have had plenty of skilled players try to make it in the NHL, namely Rob Schremp and Linus Omark come to mind as players who had insane levels of skill, but could never translate their game over to the NHL. In this case, Hartikainen tried a move that looked incredible but didn’t work.
Is it fair to revel in the attempted move itself? Or, does it have to go in to be something that should catch the attention of the masses and go viral like the move seems to be doing on Saturday?
Needless to say, a lot of Oiler fans are shocked to be hearing about a name from the past and they’re certainly surprised to see Hartikainen’s name linked to such an insane shootout move — a move very few fans knew he had in his arsenal.