The Champions Hockey League kicked off on Thursday with 30 of the 44 teams involved. The biggest winners of the day were HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Extraliga, who blanked Swiss side SC Bern 7-0, and also provided us with an early candidate for goal of the tournament.
Holding a 3-0 lead late in the second period, Trinec defenseman Marek Trončinský intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and proceeded to channel his inner Tomas Hertl and Marek Malik with a spectacular between-the-legs shorthanded goal:
Trončinský, who has played on past Czech national teams with Hertl, said he knew he would attempt the move as soon as he got around the Bern defender, and that he would have done it if the game were scoreless.
"It's not very hard,” Troncinsky said afterward, unaware of the time I tried this move in beer league and required an ice pack soon after.
The Champions Hockey League features 44 European clubs from 12 countries -- none from the KHL, however. Made up of 11 groups, teams will play six games. The winners of each group, plus the top five runners-up will advance to a playoff round, which will be single-elimination.
With the rebirth of the CHL and the NHL's eyes on how to expand their brand across Europe, how soon until we see the champions of both face-off in an annual exhibition game, sort of like what the Victoria Cup was supposed to be? When that game was last played in 2009, the winners of the first incarnation of the Champions Hockey League played against an NHL team that was taking part in the NHL Premiere Games.
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