list uan 1d
The new AP top 25
Basketball Poll with
results from the past
1. Kansas (67)
2. Wake Forest
3. Minnesota (4)
4. Kentucky (2)
9. Iowa State
12. South Carolina
13. New Mexico
e votes in parentheses
February 11, 1997
LeO's shot scores
Legg deserves to
be remembered for
ike Legg came out of the lockerroom as always, after
everyone else, striding along slowly. He looked a bit
like James Dean, his face boyish and smooth from his
host-game shave, his hair wavy and stiff, the corner of his
Mouth turned up in a cool, cocky grin.
2 He gave the trainer a playful punch in the stomach, laughed,
Ond ducked into a side room to talk to reporters about the
Wolverines' 3-0 victory over Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 25. He had
mun, answering every question with a joke, a smile and a casual
And then came the question. The one about The Goal.
The goal Legg scored in last year's
< NCAA quarterfinals by flipping the
puck flat on his stick, whipping it
around, and dunking it in the top corner
k . of the Minnesota net to tie the game?
The one that was plastered all over
ESPN last month? The one that won
NICHOLAS J him the ESPY for Outrageous Play of
the Year last night in a glittery ceremo-
ny at Radio City Music Hall in New
he Greek York City? The one that helped give
$~peaks Michigan a national title and Legg
* Remember? Legg can't forget it.
"That's all anyone asks me about anymore;' Legg said, look-
ig down and playing with one of the buttons on his gray over-
oat, his smile gone. "Everywhere I go, it's, 'There's the guy
vho scored The Goal,' or, 'Hey, can you show us how you did
T'All the time."
Who's the freak? Legg never wanted that.
Of course, The Goal has been fun for him. It surely was last
fight, when he frolicked with the biggest stars in sports and
saw more cool things than he ever did growing up in London,
Ontario. (Yasmeen Bleeth and Tyra Banks aren't Canadian.)
But now, one day after he received his award and 10 months
after he scored The Goal, he is still the same player with the
same cocky grin, the same pleasant demeanor and the same
impressive puck-handling skills. He's still the same player who
tied the national championship game but didn't get much atten-
tion, because he used a simple snap shot. He's the same good
player he always was. And no one seems to care, because The
Goal is more interesting.
While senior center Brendan Morrison has supporters court-
ing votes for his Hobey Baker bid, a treasured honor voted on
by a select group of less than 20 experts, Legg had people
plugging him for an ESPY, something for which any idiot with
Netscape could vote as many times as he wanted.
Junior center Matt Herr told his computer class how they
could vote for Legg on ESPN's Internet site.
And senior defenseman Harold Schock, one of Legg's
housemates, still kids him relentlessly.
"I tell him that after his hockey career is over, he can get to
have a sort of halftime show" Schock said. "He can go out
,Wtween periods as entertainment, like the Hanson Brothers."
Entertainment? Outrageous Play of the Year? Is it an honor,
or is it a circus? Legg doesn't seem to know anymore. He just
knows he's the one everyone's pointing at.
"It's not outrageous," Legg said. "I practiced it all the time
before I tried it."
All the time? Legg practiced it thousands of times. He is
always the last one off the ice, often standing alone, helmetless,
with steam rising from his soaked head, practicing on an empty
rink. The place is usually so empty, you can hear the echoes,
the grunts, and of course, Legg's laughs, as he picks up the
*uck and flips it into the net. Over and over again. Every day.
Ever watch warm-ups? The move is the last thing he does
before he leaves the ice. Every game. It was the last thing he
did in warm-ups before the Minnesota game, too.
That's why it was so important. That's why his teammates
mobbed him afterward. That's why it changed the tide of a
game Michigan was losing badly.
Everyone close to the team had seen it before and knew how
hard Legg had worked at it. The Goal wasn't theatrics; it was
the perfect move at the perfect time. But sadly, it's made him a
clown, the answer to a trivia question.
Legg kept the national championship ring he eamed last
spring, but he will send home his ESPY with his father.
It's not that he doesn't care. He does. He'll continue to prac-
tice the move that made him famous. Over and over again.
Every day. Like he did before that game last year.
But one act, one play, no matter how novel or outrageous,
should not make an identity.
"I'm Mike Legg," he said, looking up hopefully. "I'm a pret-
ty good player." And that's what should be remembered.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika can be reached at
Michigan hockey player Mike Legg
brings home an ESPY for The Goal
I've ever seen
Photo credentials were so difficult to get for yesterday's ESPY Awards Ceremony
that the only photo of Legg at Radio City Music Hall was one of him outside of it.
T annaekeLegg r' s 15 mi1nutes
T en and 20 years from now, in the legends of hockey
lore, it will still, even then, be simply known as The
Never before in modern history has anyone done any-
thing like it. But Mike Legg did. Perfectly.
"I don't believe I just saw what I think I just saw,"
barked Michigan radio announcer Al Randall, a full five
seconds after the red light went on.
My reaction was not surprisingly similar. I joined the
dozens of reporters who climbed back up to the press
box at Munn Arena in East Lansing to take a look at the
replay and see if our eyes were
deceiving us, or if Legg had just
performed the most phenomenal
magic trick ever performed on ice.
To this day, I still can't believe I
was there. I still quiver when I see
replays. No still photographer gof
the shot. All we have is the video"
JOHN footage. And no one will likely Ver
LEROI get the chance to see it again.
Last night's ESPY only brought
Out of to the nation's attention what hock-
Bounds ey fans - college and professional
- already knew.
Legg's goal was the most magnificent in hockey histo-
The goal amazed hockey fans all over the world
It was named the Goal of the Year by Inside Hockea
What was just another one of Legg's quirky stick triks
made him famous. He had done it a thousand times in
practice at least. I've seen him do it. Only there was to
goalie, no defenseman, no pressure.
This time it was different.
There were only 20 seconds left in a Michigan power
play during the second period of the Wolverines' NCAA
quarterfinal match with Minnesota last season.
Minnesota penalty killers were busy covering
Wolverines in front of the goal mouth. Legg found him-
self alone with the puck behind the Golden Gophers' net.
He pressed the shaft of his stick to the ice, flipped the
puck onto the blade of his stick, and, in one fluid motip,
wrapped his stick around the net, tucking the puck past:
Minnesota goaltender Steve DeBus.
The goal was reminiscent of a lacrosse play - a spc6
Legg claims he's never played.
"I've never seen anything like it," a stunned DeBus
said after the game.
He lied. He didn't even see it.
What was even more amazing about Legg's wizzardry
is that it came at a crucial time in the playoffs. Without
that goal, Michigan would have lost.
The Wolverines would have never set foot in
Cincinnati. The national championship they won a week
later would have gone to somebody else.
Michigan was down 2-1 and the Wolverines were
clearly being outplayed. The Wolverines ended up win
ning by just one goal.
Legg's goal. =
"I have to be alone behind the net," Legg said. "If .
there's somebody on me, there's no way I can-do it. B1I
figured I'd give it a shot. It's something I try out and test
and see if I still got it."
He's tried it once in a game since then, but to no avail.
It's something that will probably never be repeated. Not
by Mario Lemieux, not by Wayne Gretzky, not even by
It was a trick he picked up from former Western
Michigan standout Billy Armstrong, who now plays for the
Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League.
Legg and Armstrong practiced the trick together every
week the summer before. It turned into a superstitious habit.
Everyday, before Legg left practice, he performed the
trick at least once, never thinking he would ever use it in
I still can't believe he pulled it off. It's something that 1
will never forget.
I don't think anybody who's seen it ever will.
- John Leroi can be reached over e-maihat
By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports Writer
When Keith Olbermann and Dan
Patrick of SportsCenter announced
the winner for Play of the Year at the
ESPYs last night, some Wolverines
were not as thrilled as you might
expect them to be for a winner from
That's because it was the wrong
Wolverine as far as they were con-
The "right" Wolverine, Mike
Legg, did win the ESPY for
Outrageous Play of the Year, which
was announced during the ESPY
Anticipation grew during the main
broadcast among Michigan hockey
players as the presentation for the
coveted Play of the Year neared.
Legg's lacrosse-style goal, despite
qualifying as one of three finalists,
did not receive enough votes to cap-
ture the prize.
It was former Wolverine and cur-
rent Green Bay :Packer Desmond
Howard, nominated for his 99-yard
kickoff return for a touchdown in the
Super Bowl, that beat out Legg's feat
and one other finalist for the Play of
Left wing Greg Crozier put the
result in perspective just after the
"It's pretty hard when he's up
against Desmond Howard," Crozier
Don't get Crozier wrong, he
thought his teammate should've won,
but he did have his own explanation
for why he didn't..
The only pictures of Legg's goal are
from television footage. No still pho-
tographer got the shot.
"He should've won because he did
something you never see," Crozier
said. "Maybe if the United States
was more of a hockey-oriented coun-
try, Legg would've won."
The ESPY saga began for the
Wolverines almost immediately after
Legg performed the incredible act in
the NCAA West Regionals last
"We started getting on him after
the goal that he'd win an ESPY,"
senior Chris Frescoln said.
Although Legg will bring home an
ESPY today, he didn't get all the
credit he deserves according to
sophomore Bubba Berenzweig.
"We all think that 99 yards is a great
feat," Berenzweig said. "But what
Legg did was pretty incredible."
See CELEBRATION, Page 11
"Maybe f the United States was
counigL woud have won,"
- Greg Crozier
Michigan left wing
"We all think that 99 ards zisa
great fat, but whatLe did
was pretty incredib,"
- Bubba Berenzweig
For more info on
Mike Legg, watch
take on Notre
Dame at Yost this
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