Defenseman Marek Malik announced his retirement from hockey today, after five years in Europe following a 15-year NHL career that stretched all the way back to the Hartford Whalers. But few players, especially with that kind of service time, are so inextricably linked to one meaningless moment as Malik is to his 15th-round, between-the-legs shootout goal on Nov. 26, 2005.
The shootout had only been A Thing for about seven weeks, yet that 15-rounder between the Rangers and Capitals remains the longest ever. It had already descended into the absurd, with stay-at-home defensemen forced to take their turns (with Bryan Muir and Jason Strudwick scoring!), and each team down to two healthy skaters left, when Malik took the ice.
Mike Crispino's euphoric yelp says it all. If you want more, the entire shootout is online (split into two videos, because it took so freaking long). Barring that, read Sean Leahy's reminiscence over at Puck Daddy. While nothing will ever justify the shootout's existence, this came the closest.