Without exaggerating, I’d say that I ask myself this question at least 3 or 4 times per year. All these years and I still haven’t seen or heard an actual answer as to what the actual fuck Gunnar Stahl was thinking here. It just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Like what’s the point of the triple deke if you’re just going to stop all your momentum and let Julie get ready for the shot? Not that it was really a triple deke to begin with. It was simply just stick handling. But Iceland is down by 1 in the shootout. They need this goal to stay alive. He’s going up against a cold tendy. Was he really that much of an arrogant asshole that he thought he could just stop, let Julie get settled and then take a weak ass glove-side clapper?
And that’s the thing. I don’t even think his biggest problem here was going glove side. Sure, Julie was ready for it thanks to the brilliant prep work by Bombay really grinding away all those hours in the film room. But even if he wasn’t so fancy and decided to go blocker, Julie still got to stare that shit down for at least 4-5 seconds while he stopped to set up shop.
I mean Gunnar Stahl was the guy at the Junior Goodwill Games. You could make the argument that Adam Banks may have been the best player at the tournament but you’d have to imagine that these guys were both going to go 1-2 in their draft class. So considering he was one of the best hockey players in the world at his age, it’s just a terribly bone-headed decision for Gunnar Stahl to make here. The only reasonable explanation that I could ever possibly come to terms with is just that he hated Wolf Stansson and actually wanted to lose the game because of him. So the whole, “you lost it for me, Gunnar” quote holds a ton of validity. Regardless. Just an absolutely pathetic performance from supposedly one of the world’s elite talents.