Andy Potts Andy Potts
Maria Vlasova Maria Vlasova
exclusive for khl.ru
Our players spend years in practice working out how to beat the goalie, but not many people know that our mascots also work hard on their penalty shots. Now it’s time to find out who has the sharpest shot. In the second round of KHL MascotsMania there’s no lottery, just an honest but unpredictable competition.

The first round, the MascotsMania dance-off, is finished – but voting continues. Support your favorite and pick out the best performance at mascotsmania.khl.ru!

Penalty shot pros

The penalty shot. Hockey’s secret ingredient. Beloved of everyone, except the goalie picking the puck from his net. Every year, the penalty shot contest is one of the highlights of the KHL All-Star. And who could forget Nikita Gusev’s super skills?

If you want to be the best, they say you need to devote 10,000 hours to practising your craft. But nobody mentions that this is just standard practice. At Ak Bars, the KHL’s leading team found that it takes a little bit extra to pull off a true trick shot.

And a couple more flashbacks to the All-Star shoot-outs: where else would you see the coach himself step out from behind the bench to punish the opposition’s foul play?

And what about Linus Omark? Comment is superfluous!

And who else springs to mind when we talk about penalty shots? Pavel Datsyuk, of course. Sometimes it seems that even the puck is in awe of the Magic Man and has no choice but to go where he sends it ... but don’t overlook the skills in those hands.

And what else do you need in a shoot-out, apart from accuracy and flair? A bit of luck, sometimes, and remembering not to celebrate too soon.

Invention and accuracy

Now it’s all about the hockey skills: in the second round of KHL MascotsMania, we’re looking forward to an exciting battle on the ice as our mascots show off their best penalty shots. In the past, when the mascots got together to do this, Barsik from Barys skated off with the prize – but can he defend his title this time around? We’ll find out soon.

Denis Kazansky, journalist, commentator and hockey expert, leads the jury for this round. He announced the terms and conditions: from Feb. 8 to 13 the contestants need to show off their best penalty shot. As before, the contest runs online, with each mascot shooting a 60-second video clip of their skills. They can perform alone, but we’re hoping to see guest appearances from players, cheerleaders and fans.

Each of the videos will be posted on the project website and the KHL’s official VKontakte group from Feb. 8 to 11. Each day brings the mascots from a different division, starting with the Tarasov, then Bobrov, Chernyshev and Kharlamov.

The jury will pick its favorite shot and announce its choice in the final show, but there’s an extra prize for the video that gets the most fan votes on the project website from Feb. 11-13.

Will the mascots go for brute force, or subtle skills? Who will be bold enough to attempt a spin-o-rama? We’ll keep that secret for now, but what does Denis Kazansky expect to see from the contestants?

– How much do you know about the mascots’ hockey skills?

– Plenty. The mascots have long been a part of the All-Star Game. I’ve been to all of them in various roles – presenter, commentator and even assistant coach. So I had every opportunity to see them in action. The mascots aren’t just part of the show – they are the show!

– What are you expecting to see in this round after seeing how the mascots were ready to surprise in the dance-off?

– Expectation is an illusion. I’ve seen all of them in action and I know what they can do. They are like the Marvel superheroes, each one has his own superpower. Spartak’s Gladiator is so strong, Metallurg’s Timosha has a bit of cunning, Sibir’s Snowman brings icy aggression. So, while I don’t know what to expect, I’m certain that in the hockey round, the mascots will be on fire.

– Who really stood out in the dance-off?

– Icebars and Torrik. Everyone was doing modern routines but that Tatar tango was really chic. Just like the performance in Nizhny Novgorod with the ukulele. Leo’s ballet from Sochi was also pretty, like something out of Eurovision.

– How will you choose the best shot?

– Creativity. All these mascots are really bright and, like I said, they all have their own super skills. So to win this round, everybody needs to come up with something special.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
Maria Vlasova Maria Vlasova
exclusive for khl.ru
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