LeNoceur, I couldn’t agree with you more: We DO need more Hope Solo on this site.
After all, is it so much of a stretch to highlight the attractive starting goalkeeper for the United States Women’s Soccer Team on an irreverant hockey blog? She plays a sport that involves scoring goals; WE write about a sport that involves starting goals. Her name sounds like in comes from the Star Wars universe. We’ve got Jarkko Ruutu and Fedor Tyutin. Come to think of it, the NHL needs Hope Solo more than ever – we don’t even have Tommy Salo to mock, ever since Mike Milbury sent him crying back to Sweden.
But the real reason we need to have Hope? Because Mats Sundin thinks soccer can help right the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs lost yet again last night, this time in a soul-crushing shootout loss to the equally hapless Atlanta Thrashers. After a spirited match, the sudden death penalty shots began with Antropov and Kozlov trading goals, likely in the name of Communism. Then Sundin skated to center ice, breathed, and charged. From Slam! Sports:
Sundin appeared to have completed a deke of Hedberg and was poised to put the home side in the lead. But a sprawling Hedberg thrust his legs out and tripped the Toronto captain, causing him to lose control of the puck.
Frustrated, Sundin sat on the bench as Vesa Toskala let in a wrister from Ilya Kovalchuk. And then he gave us his take on the situation:
“If that was soccer, that would have been a goal,” Sundin said. “He took my feet out. I don’t know what the rule is in hockey.”
So let’s say that the refs of the evening DID decide to play by the rules of the Beautiful Game for one night only. Johan Hedberg would get a red card for his actions, and be ejected from the match. Atlanta would then be forced to play one man down. Of course, since we’ve reached the shootout portion of the match, they will likely sub in their other goalie, Ondrej Pavelec, for Jim “A.C.” Slater, who was trememdous in his 4 minutes of ice time. Sundin doesn’t automatically get a goal, to his surprise, but is awarded a penalty shot against Pavelec. And since only Russians are scoring in the shootout tonight, he’ll be denied anyway. The Thrashers win, and advance to the final match against Brazil.
But hey, at least he gets to meet Hope Solo.