Now Reebok is scurrying to please players with a version that has the same sleeker design but incorporates last year's fabric. for example, for example, four Canadiens who perspire heavily have changed to the new-new jerseys, and the whole team was planning to make the move after Christmas. The Lightning will change its jerseys en masse in late January. As for the old-new uniforms, maybe they'd best be stored wherever it is that the NBA keeps last year's revolutionary new synthetic balls.
A Defining Gaffe
WHEN THE NHL veers into the Twilight Zone, it generally involves a perp-walking owner or a stick-swinging goon, but Patrik Stefan, an erstwhile Dallas Stars center, accomplished the bizarre with nothing more than a puck, a stick and an empty net. On Jan. 4 in Edmonton, with the Stars leading 5--4 and time winding down, Stefan got the puck at the Edmonton blue line. The Oilers goalie was off for an extra attacker, and Stefan skated toward that empty net, preparing to backhand the puck in with 12 seconds left and put a bow on a Dallas victory. But as he neared the deserted crease the puck inexplicably leaped over the blade of his stick.
If Stefan had carried the puck with him as he stumbled into the corner boards, his gaffe would have been worth nothing more than a postgame chuckle. But the feckless Stefan slipped and shoved the puck behind him, allowing the Oilers' Jarret Stoll to corral it and start a rush. With two seconds left, Edmonton's Ales Hemsky backhanded the puck past Stars goalie Marty Turco, tying the score, forcing overtime and earning conference-rival Edmonton a point in the standings. The Stars won 6--5 in a shootout—"We turned a disaster into a debacle," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish—but the play was a piercing disappointment for Stefan, who'd had a mediocre career after being drafted first in 1999.
"I said [to myself], 'Game's over. We won.'" recalls Turco, "Then the puck jumped in a way that defied the laws of physics. That's the most unbelievable thing in hockey I've ever been part of."
Stefan, who was not re-signed by Dallas and who retired in October—at age 27—after playing three games in the Swiss League, predicted after the game that his mistake would be seen "a million times for years to come." Maybe. As of last week, the three most-visited YouTube sites showing it had been hit more than 700,000 times.
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