A goal from center ice in a non-empty-net situation undoubtedly reflects very, very poorly on the goalie who let it by. Here New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider seems flummoxed by Sam Reinhart’s swerving, bouncing 85-footer, and makes a limp stab at the puck on its way by, which has got to be just massively humiliating. But don’t let Schneider’s failure wholly overshadow Reinhart’s nerve and pluck and accuracy to one-time this sucker on goal off a steal at center ice:
It seems almost cosmically unfair that such a feat should be worth only as much as a goal tapped in off a rebound directly in front of the net. Confetti should fall from the rafters, and there should be a laser show, and the whole thing should be like the “multiball” sequence in Futurama. But then you remember that if center-ice goals were worth more, eventually hockey’s James Harden would come along—Yakov Hardenov—and math would say that Hardenov’s 80-foot step-back slap-shots, fired home at, I dunno, a 12 percent rate of success, were some of the best shots in hockey. And over a long enough timeline the center-ice slap shot would cease to be a rare and thrilling event, and would become the dreariest non-event, the actuary’s shot. And that would suck.
Anyway, hockey’s sensible restraint in incentivizing the center-ice goal means Sam Reinhart gets nothing extra for having made a damn goal from center ice. Maybe his teammates could get together and buy him a set of steak knives or something.