The Houston Aeros posted this video of Mikael Granlund pulling a few stickhandling tricks on its website yesterday. Upon viewing the video, it only confirms what we already knew: Granlund has a magic pair of mitts (you might remember reading the Wild.com feature "Granlund's Puck Magic").
Here is the Wild.com running diary of the video:
0:10 - "Yeah, I'm ready to do that." Short, simple and to the point. One thing we're starting to learn is that Granlund lets his play do the talking. No different than his introduction on this video.
0:15 - 0:20 - Ten shots in five seconds from in close. Unfortunately, the camera angle wasn't panned out on the first two shots, but by my count, seven of the next eight hit the crossbar (with one hitting the Marsh Pegs hanging down from the top of the net). So, if he was aiming for the crossbar, that's darn impressive. If he was aiming for the peg, not so much. I'm no Nate Silver, but my calculations allude he was aiming for the bar.
0:22 - 0:27 - Hat cam! I looks like the first two out of frame shots, in fact, did ring the crossbar, and the shot that hit the peg, might've caught a piece of the iron. Not too shabby.
If you pause the vid at the 23-second mark you can see Granlund's curve. It looks like a mid-toe curve with just a tiny bit of an under hook. No relevance unless you're a total hockey nerd.
0:32 - Backhand-toe-drag through a spattering of pucks. It might be one of the most ambitious moves to pull off during a game, with no real reason to ever try it, unless you have a pair of hands like Granlund. Executed in live game play, the move will have even the most veteran of hockey observers asking, "What did he just do?"
0:41 - 0:50 - I wonder if the media guys down in Houston were like, "Okay Mikael, you have to keep your head down during these drills so our hat cam will capture the action," because the puck and his stick are constantly going out of frame. It must be hard for him to actually try to keep his head down while he is stick handling.
1:08 - 1:13 - Dangling half speed around a stationary defender, not that impressive…OH MY, SWEET BABY IKEA MONKEY! (Frantically moving back the time bar). YouTube desperately needs a slow-mo button for times like these. Granlund toe-drags the puck onto the forehand of his blade and pops it up like a bagel coming out of the toaster. He then gathers the puck and whips it over his left shoulder, all very nonchalantly. Merlin is impressed.
1:15 - This little backhand shelf is much more difficult than you might think, simply because the Finnish forward makes it look so easy. Whipping the biscuit high on the backhand is something every hockey player at the high school level can do. However, to move it from the forehand to backhand with his feet firmly planted and going bar down, well, that's why he was a first-round pick and the rest of us are sucking down wind and Bud Light in beer leagues.
1:18 - Shows he's human by missing the net. I'm glad. I was beginning to think this tape was doctored somehow.
1:25 - 1:30 - Seriously, who practices this move?
1:42 - "Yeah, no problem. This is fun." Yes, yes it is. Gandalf, err, Granlund out.