This one-punch KHL KO might be one of the best hockey haymakers ever

September 24, 2020

On Wednesday night, in the Stanley Cup Finals, in his first game action in over seven months, Steven Stamkos picked up the puck in the neutral zone, left his man for dead, and blazed a slapshot past the Stars' Anton Khudobin, giving the Lightning the 2-0 lead in the game and, consequently, the 2-1 lead in the series. That potentially career-defining moment for one of the game’s best forwards, in concert with Dave Mishkin’s instant-classic call, should have sent a shockwave around the hockey world. The only problem? KHL defenseman Oleg Yevenko had already dropped the nuke. Take shelter and hold on tight.

Man, maybe because of COVID and the emphasis on avoiding any unnecessary contact in the NHL right now, it feels like a LONGGGG time since we’ve seen hockey haymaker as good as this. Where most hockey fights are slow-paced wars of attrition, Yevenko is on offense as soon as the gloves come off, pressing forward, stalking his prey at speed before landing a single vicious knockout punch. Oh, and speaking of that prey, Alexi Semenov is 6’5”, 249 pounds. We guess big trees really do fall hard.

How you feel about fighting in hockey—especially the glorification of it, like we’re doing right here, right now—is a person-to-person thing. We are conflicted on it ourselves. But when the punch is this good—this downright artful—you have to give credit where credit is due. Sorry Steven, score another in Game 4 and then we'll talk.