We all love words. And numbers. Words and numbers are our thing, and we here at the Rink can't get enough of either one. And yet we all know that words and numbers can only bring you part of the story; the true enjoyment of hockey (and of the characters who play the game) comes from simply watching it.
So with that in mind, we're pleased to introduce a new weekly feature designed to showcase some of the wonders the camera has captured over the past seven days - the best plays, the funniest moments, the weird things that have to be seen to be believed and really anything else that tickles our collective fancy. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, just think how much a moving picture would be worth!
For our first go-round, we're going to cheat and expand our timeline just a bit beyond the customary week in order to bring you the very best that we (and by "we", of course, we mean our resident GIFmaster Brendan) could find. Give them all a look, and at the end, vote for your favorite
And away we go...
The amazing thing about this whole sequence is that it is both incredibly cool and incredibly unsurprising because of who it is: Alex Ovechkin.
Notice how Ovechkin manages to muscle his man to the boards, losing his stick in the process... but does that stop his pursuit of the puck? Of course not! Ovechkin has no need for the tools of puny mortals. He does not require the assistance of a hockey stick to make a perfect pass right onto the stick of an approaching Steve Oleksy . For he is Alex Ovechkin, Man with the Magic Foot.
Tom Wilson admitted that he hadn't intended to basically lift up and drop a full-grown man with his bare hands. Nonetheless... that's exactly what happened. And because it's a pretty stunning feat of strength from a 19-year-old kid, and because no one's skull cracked open, it's a pretty badass moment.
(Note: no Lance Boumas were harmed during the making of this GIF.)
Moving from one 19-year-old kid to another...
This moment is full of awesome. It features a young player's first NHL goal (and a pretty slick one at that), what has to be one of the nicer up-ice saucer passes Marcus Johansson has ever dished out, the first Caps home goal of the 2013-14 season, and the beginning of what would end up being a thrilling comeback victory. Connor Carrick, we salute you.
Sometimes the cameras capture more than just the action on the ice - sometimes they get the reaction, as well, and those reaction shots from the Caps bench have given rise to some comic gold over the years.
This one goes into that category. It's short and sweet, but hilarious, and it's all because Joel Ward is a chest-bumping ninja.
All Jay Beagle appears to be trying to do in this moment is pat Marcus Johansson on the head. That's all. He just wants to reach past Ward, do a celebratory head-pat, nothing too fancy when BAM! ...Joel Ward's torso. Throw in Adam Oates looking unimpressed and strangely bobble-headed Martin Erat and there's just all kinds of stuff going on here. Even if it all goes by in a split second.
Hockey hugs are the best, aren't they? So much joy, so much love, the complete disregard for personal space and well-being - and without them we'd never know that Nicklas Backstrom has some sort of gravitational pull that allows him to bring his four teammates in to him very quickly and in perfect sync. Which is a pretty neat trick, if you ask me.
Rounding out the week, we're back to Ovechkin as he makes a quick trip to Greece to be Russia's first torch-bearer in the Olympic flame's journey to Sochi. It's a two-fer - a before and after, if you will.
Note the perfect form in the practice run, the straight up-and-down stature of the torch, the elegantly understated wave and the familiar, gap-toothed smile... all of which translates over to the real thing, with the added bonus of the genuine excitement and joy on Ovechkin's face as he has a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Very cool.
So, what's your pick this week?