Radim Vrbata's goal against the Senators on December 7, 2014 had to win 4 rounds of tournament action to emerge as champion, including taking out Bonino's alley-oop goal (assisted by Vrbata) in the Final. It wasn't even close. 82% of readers voted for Vrbata's single effort over Bonino's goal, making it unanimous.
Here is the goal once again:
Yannick Weber wins a battle for the puck along the boards in his own zone, quickly feeding the puck ( a short pass) to Daniel Sedin before getting hit. Daniel quickly taps it over to Ryan Stanton, who wastes no time rifling a quick pass to Vrbata, who is streaking up the ice at center. Tape to tape. As Radim the Dream flies into the Senators' zone he has Sens defenceman Chris Phillips cutting off his angle to go to the net. So what does he do? He does a quick stop. He takes a look at what's happening. There is an open Canuck coming (Daniel Sedin), making it an odd-man rush:
So Phillips is gonna cover Dank and let Craig Anderson take the shooter. Anderson, seeing that Phillips has the pass covered, makes up his mind to skate further out of his crease to challenge Vrbata's angle. Vrbata dangles at this point, as Anderson comes out. No longer is passing to Daniel an option. Radim his going to take the puck to Anderson. Rather than wrist a shot at the Sens goaltender (no angle anyway), he decides he has room to go around Mr. Anderson and go for a tuck move. Anderson realizes this could happen and goes for a poke check:
Well, poke checks look good if they work, but when you're dealing with a skilled genius like Verby...well Radim quickly takes the puck wide of said poke check and now Anderson has left him with seemingly a whole lotta love (room) to tuck the puck into the yawning cage. How quickly Vrbata makes this happen:
Vrbata, after dodging the Anderson poke check, had little room for error to make the tuck play. However, look at how much he benefited being a right handed shot on the left side. He just made it happen so smoothly: backhand to forehand. Pulled Mr. Anderson's underwear over his head and made him cash in his P-card. Kicked him in the nuts.
No smile or pump action from the serious Wizard after this brilliance. He just plays it cool in his celebration until a split second before getting the bro love-tap from the Sedins, who are clearly happy to see such wizardry:
Seriously. I'd be doing the knuckle duster and double pump if I scored a goal like that. Not Radim. He's as cool as a Slushee.
When you watch the replays of the goal in the video above, it looks like Vrbata has enough time to make a salami and cheese sandwich with Hellman's mayo before scoring that goal. Ah...the benefits of slow motion. What we do know is that not only is Radim a wizard, but the quick movement and passing by the Canucks prior to the goal also play a huge role in this. But I'm not taking anything away from Radim's brilliance. Like I said: slow-mo makes it look simpler. It was far from that.
Great goal, Vrbata! You win!
A big thanks to all that participated in this tournament by voting. This goal of the season was really YOUR choice!