November 24, 2011
The Kontinental Hockey League continues to be the world's largest exporter of line brawls and goaltending blunders.
The latest addition to the latter category? Mikhail Biryukov of Yugra giving up a terrible goal from center ice, at a rather inopportune time, against Metallurg on Nov. 23:
Granted, it's a bouncing, knuckleball of a puck. But the only way Biryukov could have played than any more casually is if he were wearing slippers and a bathrobe. The exasperated reaction by defenseman Ivan Lekomtsev was priceless and said it all.
That goal in the third period, credited to Tomas Rolinek, gave Metallurg a 5-3 lead; that would eventually be their margin of victory, as Rolinek's goal came about 18 minutes after Juhamatti Aaltonen's shorthanded goal gave them the lead.
Biryukov gave up five goals on 20 shots in the game, and got the hook after this blunder.
So the Yugra goalie joins Emil Garipov's puck control issues, Steve Valiquette's goalie glove fail and Kari Ramo's rink-length goal in the pantheon of KHL netminder goofs; once again reminding us all: In Russia, sometimes puck plays you.