Sunday, 1 September 2019

It Happens Every Year

It seems to be an annual thing in the KHL. Every single year, usually early in the season, there's a goaltender who is victimized by a goal when the shot comes from beyond center ice. Normally, these goaltenders who suffer these goals are fooled by a bad bounce that allows the puck to elude them, but we've seen another example today of how KHL goalies need to be more mentally prepared early in the season when it comes to stopping 200-foot shots. Honestly, this should never happen at the professional level, especially in Eurasia's top league that claims to rival the NHL.

We visit Moscow's CSKA Arena where CSKA Moscow was hosting Avangard Omsk in today's first day of KHL regular season action. With the two teams tied at 1-1 early in the second period, Avangard defenceman Maxim Chudinov, a Boston Bruins 7th-round pick from 2010, came out from behind his net and looked to get the puck in deep for his forwards by firing the puck down the ice. Normally, this would be icing, but Chudinov's shot was directed towards Lars Johansson in the CSKA net. With Johansson playing it, Avangard could hopefully recover the rebound and setup in the CSKA zone. Except that rebound never happened.

Here's what did happen.
While the puck did flutter like a knuckleball near the CSKA blue line, Johansson had 180-feet to line that puck up with his body and pads. Instead, it found the seam through his wickets and Avangard had a 2-1 lead. That's simply awful.

It should be noted that Avangard won the game 3-1, making Chudinov's goal the game-winner. It should also be noted that Cody Franson - remember him? - scored the other two Avangard goals today. CSKA will likely recover from this early setback in the 2019-20 KHL season with ease, but that's not how Lars Johansson wanted to start his season and may prompt CSKA to play starting netminder Ilya Sorokin more often. Yikes.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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