“He don’t have speed. He’s lightning.” — Pavel Datsyuk
Surely you’ve seen by now the highlight-reel, Antti Niemi–undressing tally registered Monday night by Andreas Athanasiou, that other fleet-of-foot Detroit Red Wings rookie. (If not, watch it above, in awe.)
But as MLive.com reminds us, Athanasiou scored nearly an identical toe-drag beauty last season as a member of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.
Now the mirror-image markers have been blended together through the power of YouTube. Watch:
“It feels real nice when you pick up that much speed and you get it there in the neutral zone at top speed you know almost that the D is going to back up, hold his ice. It has always been an asset of mine. I’ve worked on it every year,” Anthanasiou explained.
The 21-year-old fourth-round find now has four goals and three assists in 18 NHL games.
“He is like [Dylan] Larkin in that they can skate full speed and make plays. And that play might be a toe-drag, might be a shot, might be a pass. Very few guys can do it. He can do it,” head coach Jeff Blashill said.
“You either separate yourself with speed or you separate yourself with strength, and he does it with speed…. It’s hard on goalies, hard on defencemen when he’s attacking with that level of speed.”
Now, could Anthanasiou use the remaining month of the season to make it hard on the World Cup roster selection committee for Team North America?