Wobbly feet, shaky hands, unable to decipher friends from enemies, giving stuff away for free, tripping over random shit, face-planting onto a patch of ice—these may seem like the classic and common traits of a man on the tail-end of a booze-fueled bender.
On Tuesday night, however, these were the characteristics of a professional athlete, an All-Star NHL defenceman. And it was a tragic yet beautiful sight to behold.
Upon regrouping deep in his own end and attempting to head up ice for one final rush with the Dallas Stars trailing the Nashville Predators 1-0 late in the third period, John Klingberg zipped through his own crease while the Stars had their goaltender pulled for an extra attacker.
A move that is made hundreds of times a night in the NHL turned comically disastrous for Klingberg, who appeared to clip the goal post with his skate, promptly eat shit, and, as he was falling, delivered a perfect tape-to-tape feed right on the stick of Preds centre Nick Bonino—who buried the empty-net goal and sealed the win for Nashville while Klingberg lay helplessly in a pile of his own shame.
The only thing rivalling this spectacular collision with a stationary goal post is Klingberg’s reaction to the gaffe, as he wound up and launched his stick into oblivion after Bonino sealed the loss for the Stars.
The 25-year-old, despite this little blip, has been far and away the Stars’ best blueliner this season and has blossomed into one of the best all-around d-men in the NHL. He’s been especially great on the offensive side of things, leading all defencemen in points (56), assists (49), and points per game (0.84). Klingberg was selected to his first All-Star Game this season and has a great shot at being a Norris Trophy finalist for the first time.
Dallas may have lost the game on this night, but Klingberg won the hearts and respect of every kid out there who dreams of falling flat on their face in the NHL someday.