The NHL lockout is over, so your days of relying on the KHL for your top-level hockey highlights are numbered. (You may still have to rely on lower-tier U.S. leagues to meet your personal quota of all-out brawl viewing, however.) You are probably happy about this, with reason – the NHL is still the best league out there, even though this season’s games, at least at the start, are likely to have a slapdash quality to them.
Still, don’t sell the KHL – and its players’ ability to produce mind-bending highlight plays – short. Take this penalty shot at the league’s recent all-star game (the fact that the KHL is dead in the middle of its season is a nice reminder of how long the NHL lockout dragged on) by Jori Lehtera of Sibir Novosibirsk, who used some of the most clever trickery we’ve seen to fake out a goalie:
Yeah, yeah, no one really tries in all-star games (the final score in this one was a hilarious 18-11), but this was impressive regardless, and seems like it could work in a real game situation. Well, maybe it has less of a shot at working now that goalies are more likely to be on the lookout for it, but if it’s sold well enough, it’d have a shot. Good thing for Lehtera it worked, too – if it hadn’t, it might stand as the ultimate player-not-trying-in-an-All-Star-game moment (“He didn’t even try to shoot!”), but instead goes down as one of the cooler hockey highlights of the season. Let’s hope the NHL’s return gives us more like it.