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A questionable move

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The morning after their eight-round shootout win, the Habs weigh in on the pros, cons and legality of the penalty-shot spin-o-rama.

The penalty-shot spin-o-rama: fans love it; goalies hate it; and the players that can do it tend to score goals. After seeing it work for them when Lars Eller pulled it off on the Jets and then against them when Evgeni Malkin stumped Carey Price in Tuesday night’s shootout, the Canadiens offered up their take on the controversial move and the grey zone it falls into.

Malkin's spin-o-rama on Carey Price

“I’m not totally sure of the rule. I heard that you’re not supposed to be able to stop, but everyone obviously has to stop to be able to do it – so I don’t really get it. But right now it seems like they’re allowing it to be legal,” pointed out Max Pacioretty, the Habs second shooter Tuesday night. The 23-year-old power forward may have come up short on his attempt, but don’t look for him to start pulling the move in question anytime soon.

“There are a few guys that are able to do it, and if you’re one of the ones that can do it, I’m sure you want it to be allowed. I’ve personally never tried it, but if I knew how to do it, I’d probably want it to be part of the game as well,” confessed Pacioretty. “Maybe I should start practicing it over the summer or something because I’m usually pretty terrible in shootouts.”

While the skaters may have no problem with the move being allowed, the NHL’s goalies likely have a different opinion. Not the easiest deke to see coming, or then to stop once it’s being executed, it’s rare to see a goaltender come out on top against the move in question.

“It’s a great move, but it’s also in a bit of a grey zone. The deke is really exciting and a lot of guys do it and a lot of guys practice it. If you’re a player and you have that move in your toolbox, it’s pretty tough for a goalie to defend against,” expressed Peter Budaj, offereing a goalie’s perspective on the matter. “[Todd] Bertuzzi took it to a whole new level when he did a spin-o-rama but lifted the puck with his backhand to score against Mike Smith. He had his pad in position, but the puck went right over it.”

Bertuzzi's game winning spin-o-rama vs. PHX

“I don’t think the league is about to do anything to make it illegal because it’s really exciting for the fans to see,” added Budaj who just disputed the 250th game of his NHL career against the Capitals on Feb. 4. “It’s hard on the goaltenders, but no one ever said that our job was an easy one. We have to think up a way to counter that move – maybe we all need to figure it out together.”

Meeting with the media post-practice, the Canadiens head coach gave his two-cents on where he draws the line regarding spin-o-ramas.

“Can you defend it? I think goalies will figure out how to defend it, but I think it’s more just a matter of expecting that it might come. The biggest thing for me on that move is how much contact the shooter makes with the goalie,” pointed out Cunneyworth. “I looked at the shot after the game and there wasn’t as much contact as I thought, but if there’s a lot contact then you’re really impeding the direction in which the goalie is going and then it probably shouldn’t count.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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