Hey everyone it's that time of year, time for the All Star Break! Yes, the great weekend where defense disappears and all of the players set aside their differences to have fun for the fans (unless you're Alexander Ovechkin, whom I believe is skipping due to his opinion about the Shanahammer suspending him). Tonight is my favorite event, the skills competition, which I was just arguing to my roommate the point that the NHL skills competition is way better than its NBA counterpart. Ahead I will outline what's in store for tonight complete with my predictions for each event. The events tonight will go in this sequence: skating competition, breakaway challenge, accuracy shooting, skills challenge relay, hardest shot (my favorite), and elimination shootout. For more information on the competition and who's participating, check out Skills, Format, Scoring, and Rules.
Fastest Skater: Keep in mind this year's all star setup is Team Chara vs. Team Alfredsson, so from now on I'll lay out the lineup for each squad. This race is NOT a relay race for those who are not familiar: it is five one-on-one heats, plus one extra heat featuring the skater from each team who posts the fastest time. However, each team is required to have one backwards skating player, one goalie, and one rookie. The backwards skating matchup features Brian Campbell (Chara) vs. Kris Letang (Alfredsson). Brian Campbell is one of the smoothest skating defensemen I've ever seen, he gets my vote here. I think Jimmy Howard (Chara) beats Johnny Quick (Alfredsson), Carl Hagelin (Chara) beats hometown hero Colin Greening (Alfredsson), Keith Yandle (Alfredsson) tops Phil Kessel (Chara), and Marian Hossa (Chara) tops Erik Karlsson (Alfredsson). Hossa posts the fastest time and beats Keith Yandle in the final heat.
Score after this event: Chara 5, Alfredsson 1
Event 2, Breakaway Challenge: The fans vote for the winner of this one; this is the fun version of the shootout where players are allowed access to anywhere in the offensive zone including behind the net. I feel that the young guns of team Alfredsson (Logan Couture, Sean Couturier, John Tavares) will get the best of Team Chara (Ryan Johansen, Corey Perry, Pat Kane) here. Point to Alfreddson.
Score after this event: Chara 5, Alfredsson 2
Event 3, Accuracy Shooting: This one is a classic which goes way back. One target in each corner of the net, and first player to hit all 4 is the winner. Like the fastest skater contest, quickest representatives from each team go head-to-head for the title of most accurate shooter.
Team Chara Team Alfredsson Winner
Tyler Seguin vs. Jason Spezza Spezza
Jamie Benn vs. Steven Stamkos Stamkos
Marian Hossa vs. Daniel Sedin Sedin
So a sweep for team Alfie, talk about the mismatch of the century with Benn vs. Stamkos. Stamkos goes on to beat Hossa in the final heat and he wins the title of most accurate shooter.
Score after this event: Alfredsson 7, Chara 5
Event 4, Relay Challenge.
This one is by far the most convoluted of the events in the competition. According to NHL.com, "* Event consist of 4 relays with the following skills;
- One timers -- three shooters, 1 passer (Each shooter must score three goals)
- Passing -- one passer (Passer must complete a pass into each of the six nets)
- Puck Control Relay -- one skater (Skater with puck skates through a series of cones)
- Stick Handling -- one skater (Skater controls puck through a series of pucks)
- Accuracy Shooting -- one shooter (Shooter must hit four targets)
* For one of the relay's the one timer shooters must be lefties and for the other relay they must be righties
* Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next skill. Referee whistles/signals start of next skill
* This is a timed event, with the fastest time winning. "
I'd like to start off by saying the team for relay number one (Chara), consisting of Ryan Suter, Dennis Wideman, Jarome Iginla, Joffrey Lupul, Pat Kane, Pavel Datsyuk, Gabe Landeskog, and Marian Gaborik has to be the most stacked team I've ever seen. They win the first heat and capture the bonus point for having the fastest overall time. Relay 3 vs relay 4 is more of a push, but I'll take Team Alfredsson (Edler, Yandle, Hartnell, Tavares, Daniel Sedin, Craig Smith, Giroux, and Jason Pominville).
Score after this event: Alfreddson 8, Chara 7
Event 5: Hardest shot
Ok this one is pretty easy. I'm sure we all know how this one is gonna go. Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara are gonna duke it out for the hardest overall shot, and in the end Chara will will and get a bonus point. As for the other participants:
Team Chara Team Alfredsson Winner
Dennis Wideman vs. Daniel Alfredsson Wideman
Dion Phaneuf vs. Jason Spezza Phaneuf
So team Chara takes all 5 points here.
After this event: Team Chara 12, Team Alfredsson 8
Event 6: Elimination Shootout
" * Shooters that score move on to the next round.
* Each scoring attempt is officiated in accordance with NHL shootout rules.
* The winner of the contest will be the player who scores in the final round and all the other player(s) miss or
* The event is over if all shooters in any round do not score.
* One shot per player
* Each goalie faces four attempts.
* Shooters who score will continue to move on to the next round in the shootout.
* Goalies rotate after every fourth shooter.
* If one team has one shooter left and the other team has two or more, the one shooter team must wait for all other shooters to go before he goes again.
* Rounds continue until only one player scores and the other(s) don't or if all shooters in any round do not score.
* The last scoring shooter wins.
* If last scoring shooter's team is behind in the competition, the shooter continues to shoot until he does not score. Each goal scored will earn his team a point."
|Team Chara||Team Alfredsson|
|Colin Greening (Rookie)||save||Carl Hagelin (Rookie)||save|
|Pavel Datsyuk||goal||Steven Stamkos||goal|
|Evgeni Malkin||save||John Tavares||save|
|Corey Perry||save||Jason Speza||goal|
vs. Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist
||vs. Goalie: Carey Price|
|Tyler Seguin||goal||Claude Giroux||goal|
|Marian Gaborik||save||Daniel Alfredsson||goal|
|Patrick Kane||save||James Neal||save|
|Jarome Iginla||save||Milan Michalek||save|
|vs. Goalie: Brian Elliott||vs. Goalie: Tim Thomas|
|Jamie Benn||save||Jason Pominville||goal|
|Joffrey Lupul||save||Kris Letang||goal|
|Kimmo Timonen||save||Erik Karlsson||save|
|Ryan Suter||goal||Daniel Sedin||save|
|vs. Goalie: Jonathan Quick||vs. Goalie: Jimmy Howard|
Each goal scores each team a point here, so the scoring prediction gets out of hand at this point, but in the end I think Pavel Datsyuk wins this event and is the last shooter standing, and team Chara ekes out a win in a tight one.