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22 Years Ago Tonight Steve Yzerman Sent The Blues Home With This Legendary Laserbeam

As a young hockey player growing up in a Stanley Cupless St. Louis, this clip stirs up a lot of conflicting feelings when it arises every once in a while. It is simultaneously one of the coolest hockey goals of all time while being an absolute dagger against the team I grew up with. I’ve spent my whole life vehemently hating the Red Wings and their seemingly endless success, but also couldn’t help but respect the shit out of Steve Yzerman. He is the ultimate Captain, was an extremely skilled player who put up numbers, and played his whole career with one team. The type of dude you contractually have to root against but can’t convince yourself is actually a bad guy, not unlike Jonathan Toews. This double-OT game winner is something that transcends personal biases and is undeniably a classic moment.

The short video on Twitter is obviously the famous one you might have ogled at over the years. The way it jumps off of his stick, the way it rises before touching iron and going south, its just an all-time beautiful hockey video. No fancy stickhandling, no incredible passing, just a guy taking it into the zone and scraping the ceiling before he BLASTS it past the goalie.

Aside from the pure hockey porn that is that shot, there are so many interesting layers to this legendary goal. First, as I mentioned before, the shot from behind the net is obviously ingrained in hockey fans minds and has been used in highlight packages for decades, but the part no one remembers is Gretzky having a chance to very clearly possess that puck before the goal. The Great One’s turnover in 2OT was the difference between that loaded Blues team coming one step closer to St. Louis’s first Stanley Cup. He was 35 and not at his peak physically at that point, but its still very uncharacteristic of the consensus greatest player of all time.

Second, when you look back at that Blues team on paper, it seems as if they were a heavy favorite to have won it all. 7 future Hall Of Famers were on the roster that season in Gretzky, Hull, MacInnis, Anderson, Fuhr, Hawerchuk, and Chris Pronger. However, its somewhat underreported when remembering this goal that Detroit had won 62 games that year! The team lost two times from February 18th until the rest of the season. They racked up 131 points in an era before the “extra point” was guaranteed and games would just end in ties. That is good for the second most of all time. Taking one of the most dominant teams in history to a Game 7 0-0 overtime and losing on an somewhat unscreened shot from the blueline is really heartbreaking and SO Blues. I guess the good news is it can’t get a whole lot worse, heartbreak wise, than that.

Here are the OT highlights in one place.

And lastly, however dominant the Red Wings were that season, they would go on to lose in the next round to Colorado. Without that goal, we may not get the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry that lasted into the early 2000’s, one of the greatest hockey rivalries of the past few decades. In a butterfly effect argument, Wayne Gretzky’s mistake on the boards may just deserve credit for causing some of the best hockey fights of my youth. What a legend.

P.S. – It may be unpopular but I LOVE those 90’s Blues jerseys. They are so ugly that they’re gorgeous. The Blue and Red clashing, the slanted numbers, the crowded area around the logo. There’s just something so over the top about them and I love them. I wish the Blues would bring these back as a 3rd Jersey.