The Greatest Hockey Call Isn’t What You Think It Is

Hockey stick with puck

The Miracle On Ice Is Hockey Legend, but this Shootout Goal is the Greatest Call Ever

There isn’t a baby boomer alive that doesn’t remember the Miracle On Ice. Al Michaels’ legendary call of “Do You Believe In Miracles?!!” deserves its spot atop the list of greatest sports calls ever. The event was immortalized in a movie and is not only one of the greatest hockey moments, but one of the great play calls of all time, in all of sports.

An Innocuous Hockey Call Is Now Legendary

What makes a call great is not only the call itself, but the events surrounding it. In the case of Al Michaels, the words “Do You Believe In Miracles” are not particularly special…but the events and world climate around them are. I submit to you that the Malik shootout goal has reached that near legendary status as well.

What Makes the Malik Hockey Shootout Goal Amazing?

There are a couple of factors that helped make the Malik goal memorable, but it’s the call, not by one announcer but two, that makes it legendary. To set the tone, remember that the NHL adopted the shootout round for regular season play for the 2005-2006 NHL season. The Malik shootout goal occurred fairly early in that 2005 season, on November 26th.

Hockey fans had seen shootouts in the Olympics, but here it was in the NHL now. Fans were excited by the possibility of spending the evening at the rink and not having to leave with a sister kiss.

The Shootout

The shootout went 15 rounds that night, ending with Malik’s legendary goal. This was likely the first really long shootout hockey fans had seen under the new rule, with the hockey season just a couple of months in.

hockey player prepares to take a shootout shot
The shootout was reinstituted for the 2005-2006 NHL season

The Goal

To be clear, the goal itself was legendary as well. While more commonplace today, the between-the-legs snipe wasn’t so back then. Matt Calamia describes it as jaw-dropping in his comments…and it was.

The Call

What elevates the Malik goal to the same stratosphere as the Miracle on Ice was the game call. We said earlier that both announcers contributed to this legendary play call. Mike Crispino and John Davidson shared the booth and the credit, for this legendary call.

The Setup

After 14 rounds of shootout hockey, Marek Malik takes to the ice. In an NHL shootout, players cannot be reused until everyone has had a chance to shoot. A defensive player like Malik who had 33 goals his entire career would rarely be invited to participate in a shootout. Olympic hockey allows the reusing of players, as proven by TJ Oshie’s famed Olympic Shootout.

The Comments

As the camera pans on Malik circling at center ice, the first golden audio nugget is dropped. Both commentators repeat Malik’s name in one form or another, then John Davidson sets the table to effectively lower our expectations;

“6-foot six, 238(lbs), Not a noted goal scorer, but he’s going to give it a shot here.”

John Davidson

As Malik picks up the puck and starts to carry it into the zone, we hear Mike Crispino chime in with those ever-encouraging words that every Ranger’s fan wants to hear:

“Malik has not scored this year.”

Mike Crispino

In retrospect, you simply could not have asked for a better setup. There is no way these guys could have known that these exceptionally timed utterances would become legendary.

The Scream

As Malik moves in towards the net, Crispino continues the narrative; “In on Kolzig…fake…” That’s when we get The Scream. I can’t tell if it was Davidson or Crispino who screamed…Crispy I think, but it was the perfect reaction to a stunning play. The unexpected hero, the lengthy shootout, the trick shot…it all culminates in screaming, laughter and cheering.

The Celebration

Malik’s celebration is every bit a part of the legend, as he swings past the net on the bench side and along the half boards and simply lifts his arms and looks at the crowd, as if…what did you expect? As he reaches center ice he pumps that left arm up and down to encourage the crowed even more.

I didn’t know what to do exactly because all of MSG exploded and all the players were jumping on me. I did something polite, kind of calm, kind of high school reaction. I planned the shootout but I didn’t plan the celebration after that.

Marek Malik – GW Shootout Goal

Conclusion

Everyone has their favorite hockey call. When I need a boost, a laugh, or some quick energy, the Malik Goal is where I turn. This call only gets better with time. Even though the legend is anchored with the unexpected trick shot, it’s really the setup and the scream that cement this in the annals of greatness.

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