Linus Omark (via KHL/YouTube)
The latest KHL skills competition raised the bar for props in the breakaway competition. A rigged up net and Robin Hood costume were two of the best tricks, but Linus Omark’s flaming stick takes the cake.
Over the past few all-star weekends, the NHL has attempted to have their shootout competition mirror the NBA’s dunk contest. Players at the skills competition have used props, judges have doled out scores and fan voting has selected the winner. But if any league has gotten the breakaway contest to be a must-see event, it’s the KHL, where seemingly anything goes.
For instance, take one of the first goals of the competition, when Dmitri Kagarlitsky had the entire net to shoot at. Not because he deked goaltender Juha Metsola out of his net, but because somehow the net was rigged to actually pull away from the netminder:
If Kagarlitsky’s attempt wasn’t bizarre enough, things got even weirder when Anatoly Golyshev stepped up to take his shots. The KHL skills competition has seen outfits used before, but Golyshev went with a full Robin Hood getup:
The most memorable shot, though, came off the flaming stick of Linus Omark. Omark’s attempt itself isn’t much to write home about, but it’s unbelievable he was able to get approval to light his stick on fire:
You may recall that the Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau wanted to attempt this at last season’s NHL all-star break, but the NHL had to shut it down. “Unfortunately I had to be Director of Funland Security on that one after every attorney in our offices had simultaneous heart attacks,” NHL director of player safety Patrick Burke wrote on Twitter.
So enjoy the flaming stick attempt from the KHL, because you’re not likely to see fire involved at the NHL’s breakaway challenge at the end of January in Nashville.