It is not often that August produces a hockey highlight. It is rarer still that the highlight will leave your mouth agape and your senses frayed. That is, however, the best way to accurately to describe what is bound to be the reaction of most hockey fans (or non-fans) after they watch the goal Kloten forward Vincent Praplan scored in Champions Hockey League action Friday.
Playing Swedish side HV71, Kloten was trailing 3-1 in the third period of Day 2 action of the Champions Hockey League, which is a competition that spans the hockey season featuring top clubs from around Europe. Praplan took a rink-wide pass and from there put on one of the most creative drives to the net you'll ever see. Just watch it for yourself…
That was immaculate. Praplan's drive to the net looked more like a Lionel Messi run than a hockey play. From his first touch of the puck, it's near-artistic.
Praplan doesn't just accept the pass, he one-touches it, spins around the defender and creates all sorts of space for himself.
Next, he has two defenders close in. One trips, but his stick is still in the lane, so Praplan chips it over, weaves between the two defenders and even gets hooked before getting to the puck and making the final move on the goalie to finish it.
The goal scorer is a Swiss national who played in the Ontario Hockey League last year with the North Bay Battalion. Praplan had 53 points in 61 games, but went undrafted in his last year of eligibility and returned to his home club in Switzerland. Perhaps his little show will get him some attention from the NHL's European scouts now.
HV71 recovered from that masterful goal and held on to win 3-2.
A lot went right for Praplan and a lot went wrong for the defense on the play, but the result was one of the prettiest goals we are likely to see all season and for most hockey fans, it hasn't even started yet. Thank you, Champions Hockey League for this wonderful appetizer for the NHL season ahead.