As a 5 foot small person myself, I’ve gotten more than used to the trite phrase “good things come in small packages”. Despite how much it annoys me, and anyone under 5’10”, it’ has inevitably become a way of life, proving to people that it’s true. Cue the hockey – many things aren’t small in hockey. In fact there is really only one term in the sport that quickly comes to mind concerning lack, though it’s not lack of height…it’s lack of men. The ever-so-awesome, and at times elusive and mysterious, short handed goal. Short-handed goals are proof that when teams play as though they aren’t down a man and continue with driving force their “good thing” is in the shape of a black piece of rubber hitting the back of a net as a reward. (More after the jump…)
Last year the Boston Bruins sought to prove another trite phrase, that “good things come in threes”, so why not mix two of the most cliché sayings in an all out short-handed goal fest. Boston went down a man after Matt Hunwick was sent to the penalty box for hooking, and after that, as they say, the rest is history. Daniel Paille nearly out skates Carolina defense and makes a miraculous turn-around goal, a David Krejci to Blake Wheeler one-timer 9 seconds later, and wanting to one-up his previous goal, Paille assisted Steve Begin who scored the third goal within a single, two minute penalty kill.
St. Louis can thank the Bruins, though, for something else that has been good, heck – great, but lacking in size. On June 26, 2010 St. Louis acquired from Boston in exchange for draft pick (and Boston U. alumni) David Warsofsky, Vladimir Sobotka. At a massive 5’10”, this Czech sensation has wowed, surprised and amazed Blues fans throughout the 2010-11 season. Sobotka continually proved that his lack of height meant nothing in the way of being a tiny human wrecking ball. Sobotka established he could score, assist, get in to the corners and get (very) physical…and fight if and when needed. As one-time NHL goalie, fellow small friend at 5’5″ and St. Louis’ very own color commentator Darren Pang has said of others, Sobotka is a little guy with a lot of gumption. It’s no wonder Sobotka ended up with the nickname, Vlad the Impaler, after a few short weeks of play wearing the note.
And just because there’s always someone shorter, I present to you – Nathan Gerbe. Ok, so maybe he’s not a surprise after all. He IS playing on a playoff team (Buffalo) and has been the brunt of many short jokes in his time, but I just can’t help but bring up the fact that he’s probably the NHL’s shortest player currently at a towering and fear-inducing 5’5″. Prior to playoffs, Gerbe had a 31 point season with a very pleasant +11 rating. In playoffs thus far, he’s seen one goal, however, at the time of posting he’s scored his second of the playoffs (and the go-ahead goal) and is playing tiny hero against the Philadelphia Flyers. Here’s on for my shorties!
Tags: Blake Wheeler Boston Boston Bruins Buffalo Sabres Carolina Hurricanes Daniel Paille Darren Pang David Krejci Matt Hunwick Nathan Gerbe Philadelphia Flyers St. Louis St. Louis Blues Steve Begin Vladimir Sobotka