Bouchard's winning spin

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Whether or not you've grown to love the shootout, the tiebreaker is a great way for NHL players to market themselves.

Case in point: People still can't stop talking about Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard's spinorama.

And when was the last time you heard Bouchard's name mentioned around the water cooler?

"I've had a lot of interviews -- TV, radio -- even from back home in Montreal," said the diminutive 22-year-old product of Quebec, whose team downed the Flames 3-2 in a shootout last night in which he didn't get the nod for an encore. "I'm pretty lucky it went in. It's a pretty risky move. If you don't have it, you can look like a fool."

Bouchard was no fool Tuesday night.

Rather, he was the hero after scoring the shootout winner with a last-second spinning backhand against Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin at the Xcel Energy Center with Blackhawks coach Denis Savard -- who perfected the move as a player -- looking on.

Had Bouchard missed and the next shooter scored to steal the two points in sudden death, the talk could have a very different tone.

It's not a move Calgary Flames winger Alex Tanguay is sure he'd pull off unless he was last to shoot.

"I don't mind guys trying moves in shootouts, it's certainly made for that," said Tanguay. "I'm not sure myself if I'd try something like that.

"But hey, if it works, why not? It's certainly spectacular for the fans. If I was his coach, I'm not sure I'd like him to try that move but it worked and helped them win a game -- I think that's what it's all about."

Bouchard had no doubts as he lined up at centre ice for the attempt. He'd never done it in a game but has practised it over and over since his four-years-younger brother Francois showed him the manoeuvre two summers ago while shooting at a friend in Quebec.

"I had it in mind to do it. We were still tied and needed a goal," said Bouchard. "I knew that if I do that move, it's a good chance it's gonna be a goal."

Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire -- who played with Serge Savard, the inventor of the spinorama, in Montreal in the 1960s and '70s -- had no problem with the move but did tease his player for slipping at the finish.

"Usually he does it and doesn't fall," said Lemaire with a laugh.


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