Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
Washington Capitals defenseman Steve Oleksy has been scratched for the last seven games. From the press box he watched dudes like Tyson Strachan and rookie Patrick Wey get jerseys instead of him. On Sunday, Oates gave Oleksy another chance as the Caps readied to play their second game in as many days.
Oleksy responded in a humangous big way.
The Michigan native scored his first goal of the season, also his first goal in 45 games– a span that stretched two seasons and 273 days. Both of Oleksy’s two career goals have come against the Rangers, which is also pretty neat.
Watch as Oleksy completely baffles Henrik Lundqvist, tossing a softball on net.
What a beauty. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)
Oleksy scoring like this seems a bit too coincidental for me considering last night’s Coach’s Corner. Oh, you didn’t watch? Take a look at the 2:17 mark.
“Feather the puck in, kids,” Don Cherry says (or stammers, I’m not sure which) as he shows replays of NHL defensemen scoring on change-ups. “Don’t just put your head down and blast it.”
I cannot agree more. It doesn’t matter how hard you can bomb the puck in if a goalie of Lundqvist’s caliber can see it. But if you move to a better position on the ice and accurately shoot enough pucks at 35 MPH towards a screened goalie, you’re going to score.
Oleksy’s night was great beyond the goal. Peter tells me he also allowed a team-low four unblocked shot attempts while on the ice 15.5 minutes of 5v5 play while also directing a team-high 16 shot attempts towards Lundqvist.
That’s a turnaround from the possession numbers Oleksy was putting up earlier this season. If he keeps playing like this, don’t worry, Emily, Binky will continue to roam free.