KELOWNA, B.C. -- At the skills competition at the 2010 Top Prospects Game, Nino Niederreiter put on a show in the Breakaway Challenge, tossing his glove while skating in and scoring one-handed.
Watching was Tim Bozon, who, like Niederreiter, is a native of Switzerland. He decided he wanted to work on his own one-handed move, and spent two years figuring out a way to best his countryman.
Tuesday at the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Bozon, in his first season as a forward with the Kamloops Blazers, showed off his pet move.
Scooping the puck up on the blade of his stick, Bozon kept the puck in place as he held his stick high over his head while he skated in on net. He finished with a spin-o-rama, but when he tried to score lacrosse-style, the puck landed in the crease and bounced wide of the net.
Regardless, it was the highlight move in the highlight event of the night. He received a total score of 27 out of a possible 30 from the three judges, the highest in the first round.
"Everyone remembers his one-hand goal, so I tried to do a different one with one hand," Bozon told NHL.com. "I didn't score -- almost scored -- but I tried the creativity he (Niederreiter) had two years ago."
Kitchener Rangers forward Radek Faksa won the event for Team Orr, scoring twice on his three opportunities and receiving a final-round total of 26 to edge Bozon.
Faksa's first move was the one that didn't quite go the way he had planned.
"I was skating in forward and turned around backward at the top of the circles," said Faksa, "and then once I got near the goalie I put it through my legs and while I was going backward and tried to score that way. It didn't work out for me."
That was the only thing that didn't work for the player ranked fourth on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft, as he came back and scored on his next two attempts as the players tried harder to score rather than be fancy.
"It was a bunch of confusion before the game," said Faksa. "The coach was telling us to score goals, the scouts don't really want to see fancy stuff, then the judges were telling us they were only going on fancy stuff. It was a bit of mixed emotions before. I tried a little fancy one at the start, then I got told to try to score the second time. I did that and it worked out for me."
London Knights forward Andreas Athanasiou was the favorite going into the event. He showcased his creativity over the summer and the NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp in Toronto, and told NHL.com earlier Tuesday that after watching Saint John's Tomas Jurco dazzle at last year's event, he had something even better planned.
"If I'm able to follow through with it, it'll look pretty cool," he said. "It'll give the judges something to look at. It's a good little move, and it'll look really cool. I've practiced it a couple of times, so I'm a little familiar with it. If I'm able to pull it off, it'll help my confidence. I'm kind of banking on this one move so hopefully I can pull it off."
When his turn came up, however, Athanasiou was unable to pull off his move, which consisted of him picking up the puck on the butt end of his stick and skating in on goal that way.
"It's like a rotation move," he told NHL.com. "I pick it up on my stick, kind of rotate it over my body or over the head, over and back, on the butt end of the stick. I was doing it perfectly this morning, I was practicing it a lot, but the puck didn't like me today. I practiced for a while, had it down pat, but I guess I got a little nervous and it got a little slippery."
Regardless of the move not working, the event still was the most fun as the players were able to showcase their more creative side.
"They tell us to try to be creative and show people we have some skills," said Bozon. "We just go there and try to do what we know."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK