This is too pure.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins produced an awesome moment of sportsmanship Friday night. The Columbus Blue Jackets were playing the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers shutout the Blue Jackets 4-0. NYR goalie Igor Shesterkin had an unbelievable game, stopping all 31 shots he faced for the shutout. The goalie at the other end was Merzlikins, who showed great respect for opposing goalie Shesterkin.
With New York leading Columbus 4-0 in the final minute of the game, Merzlikins told his team to not go up the ice to try and ruin Shesterkin shutout. After the buzzer sounded, Merzlikins then raised his stick up to salute Shesterkin.
This was super cool by Elvis Merzlikins. With Igor Shesterkin about to post a shutout, Merzlikins tells his team to hold back & then raises his stick to salute Igor pic.twitter.com/YloRKmj10W
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 30, 2021
The New York Rangers even acknowledged the act by Elvis:
First class, Elvis. 🤝 https://t.co/90DzIn99R8
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 30, 2021
This was the sportsmanship moment we needed after a ugly week in the hockey world. With the focus on the Chicago Blackhawks investigation and how poorly it was handled, a moment like this reminds us how great hockey can be.
Merzlikins is quickly joining Marc-Andre Fleury as one of the most-liked goalies in the NHL. The Blue Jackets’ netminder has a great personality and always speaks honestly with the media. Merzlikins is also playing with a heavy heart this season after losing former teammate Matiss Kivlenieks in a fireworks accident during the offseason.
Some fans were upset Merzlikins held his team back, as they felt it showed a lack of competitiveness and was “soft”. The reality is Columbus was trailing 4-0 in the final 30 seconds of the game and had no chance of coming back. Merzlikins simply made sure Shesterkin had his moment.
Moments like these don’t come along often, so tip of the cap to Elvis Merzlikins.