OTTAWA – Kaspars Daugavins rarely makes headlines for the Ottawa Senators, but his shootout attempt Monday night against the Boston Bruins had everyone talking.
The Senators forward surprised a sold-out Scotiabank Place crowd as he carried the puck straight towards Boston goalie Tuukka Rask by pinning it with the toe of his stick, then tried a 360 spin move before failing to jam the puck between the post and Rask’s skate.
The Bruins went on to win 3-2.
At Tuesday’s practice, and on social media, Daugavins move was the topic of the day.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Ottawa defenceman Marc Methot. “It’s exciting for the fans…and as a player and a fan of the game I enjoyed it. It’s as good as a shot attempt that misses.”
Daugavins admitted he was a little worried that coach Paul MacLean might be a little angry with him for trying something so different, but MacLean had no problem with the play.
“I had no issue with it at all,” MacLean said. “I thought it was pretty creative. The crowd seemed like they enjoyed it. It didn’t go in, but imagine if it had gone in the net. If it caused this much of a stir by not scoring, imagine if it had gone in the net.”
In MacLean’s opinion, the shootout is an opportunity for players to display their creativity.
“Some people might say it’s against the rules, but there are no rules it’s a shootout. You’re just trying to score goals,” said MacLean. “The shootout is a skills competition is it not?”
Daugavins has actually pulled the move off in the past when he played for the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, and he figured he would give it another try.
“For me I tried that move like eight times and it worked every time so I thought it might work in a game again,” Daugavins said. “Obviously there’s going to be somebody who doesn’t like it or says I shouldn’t have done it because we’re battling for a spot or I’m a young guy. It’s always going to be like that even if I score.”
Senators goalie Ben Bishop admitted a number of players had been encouraging Daugavins to try the move and were glad to see him finally give it a shot.
“It takes a lot of courage to go out there and do it,” Bishop said. “It’s unfortunate that he didn’t score, but it’s not like it was just going out there and having fun. He’s practised that quite a bit and he’s good at it and he’s effective.”
As a goalie, Bishop says he has no problem with players wanting to try new moves.
“I know when I saw it the first time I wasn’t sure if he was serious or messing around,” Bishop said. “He’s beat me a few times with it because he can do different things off of it which makes it really effective.”
Fans quickly jumped on Twitter to share their opinion, which ranged from supportive to disappointed.
One comment read “That shoot out attempt was awesome last night. I hope more guys get creative and make it exciting again.””
Another stated “Shootout last night was a silly circus trick, especially against Rask.”
Even popular hockey personality Don Cherry joined the conversation, and was surprisingly supportive.
“People are putting down Kaspars Daugavins for putting the blade of his stick upside down on the puck in the shootout last night,” Cherry tweeted. “He missed after twirling around and Krejci went next and scored which made it even worse. I don’t blame the kid at all. Lets face it the shootout is a gimmick anyway. Fans loved it and besides it worked for him in the AHL.”
MacLean said he would have no problem with putting Daugavins back in the shootout again.
“We’ve used him three times, why wouldn’t you use him four?” asked MacLean with a smile. “I’m not sure if we’ll hold him back, but we might want to check with him and say what can I look forward to.”
Notes: RW Chris Neil and D Sergei Gonchar were given the day off. … LW Milan Michalek continues to be sidelined by a knee injury, but remains day-to-day. … MacLean didn’t name his starting goaltender for Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.