Before we get into why Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich is catching some flack for his celebration at the end of Wednesday’s Battle of Alberta game between Calgary and Edmonton, let’s say this: ‘Rittich had a heck of a game’.
The Oilers out-shot the Flames 34-28 and Rittich kept the Flames in it. He made key saves that were the difference in the game and while Mike Smith played well for the Oilers, Rittich was the better of the two netminders.
That said, one could argue he didn’t make a single save in the shootout, thus his celebration was a bit over the top.
As the two teams went into the “skills competition” aspect of a regular season hockey game, Rittich got saved by the post on shots by both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid. Both players had him beat but couldn’t beat the iron. When Leon Draisaitl lost control of his toe drag on the third attempt, Rittich celebrated like he’d stoned all of Edmonton’s shooters, staring down Draisaitl and throwing his stick in the air.
There are some who love his passion and excitement. I’m among them and only think this bodes well for more exciting action on Saturday when the Oilers and Flames meet again. Others aren’t so sure.
Outside of Edmonton and Calgary, the take on Rittich’s celebration is catching a lot of attention. Likening his stick flip to Jose Bautista’s bat flip of the Toronto Blue Jays, video of his celly have made the rounds on social media and a lot of people think he might be the most entertaining netminder in the NHL.
The best part, aside for a good celly in hockey, is the fact that you know behind the scenes, Oilers players have seen this video over and over. There’s really no chance they love that an important loss is being replayed on Twitter, YouTube and by mainstream media.
An already great tilt between the two teams on Wednesday, there’s just more good stuff to take out of these key hockey games and it appears that things will only get more exciting from here.
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