The Forsberg Drift Still Works
New York Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot rekindled visions of a famous Olympic memory during a shootout at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
Drama had built as the Blueshirts' Henrik Lundqvist and Calgary's Kari Ramo matched saves all night. A 3-3 tie dictated overtime, and the scoreless extra frame led to the shootout. Stalemates there led to a seventh round, at which point Pouliot's number was called.
He decided the occasion called for a legendary maneuver, and he executed it to perfection:
Pouliot was only seven years old, living in a small Ontario town, and no doubt was transfixed by the proceedings in Lillehammer, Norway. His Canadians were locked in a shootout with Sweden, with the winner claiming the Olympic gold.
It, too, went seven rounds. Here is how they unfolded, with Peter Forsberg capping the action by introducing a move that was, like his eventual career, subtly spectacular:
(Scandinavians might note that the announcers continued their North American tradition of butchering foreign names. Dudes, Håkan Loob's first name is pronounced HOE-kun! How hard is it to ask before the game?)
For a nation where hockey is king, Forsberg's goal finally secured Sweden's first-ever Olympic gold medal. The country went berserk -- an old word the Norse coined to described an intense breek of Viking fighters, by the way -- and a legend was born.
Great moments in hockey -- no matter by whom -- must be indeliby inscribed into the Canadian mind. It seems Pouliot was one who long remembered. And well.