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About Matt Bradley's dirty goal

By Dan Steinberg

Matt Bradley celebrates. (By Nick Wass - AP)

The Washington pro sports teams that wins most of its games won again on Wednesday night, with major contributions from several grinders. Both Matt Bradley and David Steckel scored goals, and the work done by the Bradley-Steckel-Chimera line earned wide praise.

One aspect of their game that wasn't praised, however, was their post-goal rejoicing. No hot sticks here. No Dougies, either. Like RussianMachine put it:

One trait that hasn't made its way to the grinders: exuberant post-goal celebrations. Steckel looked like he just popped a headshot in Halo.

I didn't see Steckel on Thursday, but Bradley talked to the media about his second goal of the season and first of the month, which maybe wasn't of the highlight-reel variety.

"It definitely hit my skate," he said. "I don't know whether it hit my stick last or not. Either way, I don't care, I'll take it."

Mike Vogel pointed out that it was still a step up from Bradley's previous goal, which was technically scored by the Calgary Flames.

"Yeah, this time I actually hit the puck on my own without their team shooting it off me," Bradley agreed. "Each goal's getting a little bit better. One of these times I'm gonna use my stick."

So I asked about his muted reaction.

"I mean, you get a lucky goal, you're not gonna go in front of their bench and start fist pumping," he said. "I mean, it went underneath their goalie, probably off my skate. It really didn't call for a big celebration....I think a lot of it has to do with how you score. If I get a really nice goal, I could probably celebrate more than a goal like I had last night. If you're Ovi, you can celebrate a little bit more because you do it 50-some times a year. Me, I can't do quite as elaborate a celebration. We're obviously happy to score, but you want to be respectful."

"Act like you've been there before," said Boyd Gordon.

And yet the Caps' master of the ugly goal, Mike Knuble, told me that these are the tallies that make teammates happiest.

"Even if you've got to kick it in, or if it goes off your foot or hits you on the leg, those are even more satisfying probably than putting one in with your stick, because they're the dirty goals," he said. "They're the ones that help you win games. And they're the ones that are probably even more uplifting for the bench. Guys get a kick out of it, they get a little more excited. And you come back in the locker room and someone will always say something - great job...Did it even hit the back of the net?...Beautiful play, pretty goal....

"They're fluky goals, but I think even for guys on the other team, they're a backbreaker, and such an uplifting thing for your team. That's what players use to get out of slumps, and they help you win games. That's a huge goal last night, puts us up 2-0, really disheartening for the Buffalo defense."

Would it have been more disheartening for them had Bradley twirled his stick above his head whilst performing the Dougie? For that, you'll have to ask the Buffalo defense.

By Dan Steinberg  | November 18, 2010; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Braden Holtby on his Holtbyisms


Admit it, Dan, if Bradley had done the John Wall dance after scoring that goal, your head would have exploded.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | November 18, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The John Wall would have been sweet. I wonder if you have to shake your glove off to do it. Maybe one day Wall will get a basket and have the opportunity to bounce himself seemlessly off the pad under the back board. The Wall dance is simple, weird, stupid and somehow really awesome. It is so easy to throw into any celebration. I wish my beer pong career was still active

Posted by: makplan20002 | November 18, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the modesty after watching NFL players strut and preen like a peacock or posing like Adonis after making routine tackles or catching 5-yard passes, or a certain 'Skins tight end strutting after a big pass play when their team's down 35-0.

Would that any NFL player ever wanted to tone down his celebration and have a little respect for their opponent or the game. That would definitely make MY head spin. :)

Posted by: blackjack65 | November 18, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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