The Skills Competition kicked off the on-ice portion of 2016 All Star Weekend tonight. The Skills competition features the Eastern Conference All Stars, captained by John Tavares and Jaromir Jagr, taking on the Western Conference All Stars, captained by Patrick Kane and John Scott. Each All Star competed in at least one of the six events tonight:
· Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater
· Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge
· DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting
· Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay
· AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot
· Discover NHL Shootout
Brandon Saad, the lone Blue Jacket representative, was tabbed by Tavares to skate in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition. Saad also won a twitter vote for the night to compete in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge.
Get your game on, go play! You’re all All Stars. To the highlights!
Oh, and hey Brandon.
Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater Highlights
In the first race of the night, Roman Josi took on Dylan Larkin. Larkin smashed Josi, winning with a time 12.894.
Brandon Saad took on Matt Duchene in the second round. Saad won with a time of 13.634.
Erik Karlsson rook on Taylor Hall in race 3. Kalsson slipped around the last corner, and had to spin to avoid falling over entirely.
In the 4th race, Dustin Byfuglien took on Kris Letang. Letang won by 0.12 seconds.
After the races were over, Larkin had a chance to break the record for fastest skater, challenging Mike Gartner’s 20 year old record because he had the fastest overall time, by 0.7 seconds. Larkin beat the record, despite slipping around the 3rd corner. 13.117 was the new record time for Larkin. Words cannot express how ludicrously fast Larkin looked out there. Larkin was not yet born when Gartner had originally set that record.
Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Highlights
KNEEL BEFORE SAAD!! Up first was Brandon Saad, facing Pekka Rinne. Saad juggled the puck on his stick several times, caught it, dropped it between his legs, kicked it to himself and scored 5 hole.
James Neal beat Cory Schneider for the second shot. He slipped his first shot behind the net, dropped a second puck, and scored it.
Evgeni Kuznetsov was stopped on an uncreative move, denied by Rinne.
Matt Duchene carried the puck on his stick while wearing a cowboy hat, but it fell off his stick and he did not score.
P.K. Subban juggled the puck on his stick 13 times, kicked it up to himself, and hit the puck in midair, but Rinne denied him. That was awesome. Holy cow.
Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns brought their kids out and ran a drop pass play to Burns’ son, who scored.
Saad came back out, played soccer with the puck, and was denied by Rinne.
James Neal brought Dierks Bentley out of the locker room, ran a breakaway play, and Bentley scored.
Kuznetsov missed shooting with his wrong hand, despite Rinne using a guitar instead of a goalie stick.
Matt Duchene scored, after carrying the puck on his stick while waving it in the air. He then scored through his legs with one hand.
Subban came out wearing a Jagr disguise- a gray wig and a Jagr jersey. He scored after hitting the post.
Brent Burns played a montage of his beard on the big screen before scoring in a Chewbacca mask.
The winner, by fan vote, was P.K. Subban, with 31% of the vote. He edged out Burns and Neal.
DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting
Up first was Patrick Kane, and he was heavily booed by the Nashville crowd. He missed several times, not putting up a great performance.
John Tavares was up next. He performed much better, finishing in 12.9 seconds.
Joe Pavelski was up third, finishing in 14.088.
Patrice Bergeron was 4th. He finished in 23.362.
5th was Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. He finished in 13.771.
Claude Giroux followed sixth. He finished in 17.254.
Jamie Benn was up seventh, a former winner. He finished with a time of 16.664.
Evgeni Malkin was the final shooter. He finished with 16.169. Malkin had a chance to set the best time, but missed his 4th shot after encouraging the fans, which may have broken his concentration.
John Tavares was the winner of the competition. The Eastern Conference led 9-3 at the halfway mark.
Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay
14 skaters and 2 goalies from each team took place in this event involving passing, one timers, puck control, stick handling, and goalie goals.
Stamkos struggled with one timers for the Eastern All Stars. Justin Faulk for Carolina showed exception handles with the puck. Braden Holtby scored the empty netter for the East. The East finished in 1:38.410.
Drew Doughty struggled for the West with one timers, as did Corey Perry. Johnny Gaudreau was excellent handling the puck, as was Patrick Kane. Pekke Rinne finished for the West, who lost with a final time of 2:15.371.
Up for the third East team, the left handed shooters. Ryan O’Reilly struggled, hitting the post a lot. Kuznetsov aced the passing portion. Kris Letang struggled with stick handles, losing the puck. Ben Bishop finished up for the second East, with a final time of 1:44.446.
Jamie Benn was solid passing for the second West team, as was Roman Josi handling the puck. Devan Dubnyk finished up for the West with 1:27.687.
The bonus point went to the West for the fastest time overall.
AMP NHL Hardest Shot
Up first in the competition was Dustin Byfuglien. He hit 99.6 MPH with his first shot and 99.4 with his second.
Second was Arron Ekblad, who hit 91.9 MPH in a Kevin Spacey In Space hoodie. He second shot was clocked at 93.4 MPH.
Third was Tyler Seguin, who hit 91.2 MPH and 95.0 MPH.
Fourth was Evgeni Malkin, who hit 97.0 MPH and 94.1 MPH.
Fifth was John Scott (who got a large ovation from fans and players alike), who hit 92.6 MPH and 95.9 MPH.
Sixth was Steven Stamkos, who hit 98.5 MPH and 103.9 MPH.
Seventh was Shea Weber, who was the defending champion. He hit 105.3 MPH and 108.1 MPH, just shy of Zdeno Chara’s record.
P.K. Subban was up eighth. He hit 102.3 MPH and 101.3.
Shea Weber won the competition for a second season in a row. He got one more shot after his victory, and hit 107.8 MPH.
Heading into the final event, the East led the West 12-8.
Discover NHL Shootout Relay
6 skaters and 1 goalie for each team. Discover pucks counted double if a goal was scored with them.
Up first was Patrick Kane, who was denied by Roberto Luongo.
Evegni Malkin scored.
Matt Duchene was denied.
Jaromir Jagr was denied, as was Brent Burns.
Devan Dubnyk denied Subban.
Vladamir Tarasenko was denied by Luongo.
Patrick Kane was denied again.
Evgeni Malkin scored again (the only goal scorer through round 1). Roberto Luongo stopped every shot he saw.
Netminders in round 2: Braden Holtby and John Gibson
Joe Pavelski scored.
Patrice Bergeron scored.
Holtby denied Taylor Hall and Jamie Benn.
Ryan McDonaugh scored.
Justin Faulk scored.
Patrice Bergeron scored.
Nicklas Backstrom was denied.
Following 2 rounds, the East led 25-10.
Jonathan Quick is really good.
John Scott was denied by Schneider.
Tyler Seguin scored for the West.
Drew Doughty was denied.
Brandon Saad was denied.
John Scott’s backhand was denied.
FINAL: Eastern Conference All Stars 29, Western Conference All Stars 12
A warm ovation for John Scott from players and fans alike. That was nice to see.
As the winners of the Skills Competition, the Eastern Conference All Stars had the right to pick if they would play in the first or second 3-on-3 game tomorrow afternoon before playing the Western All Stars in the final. The Eastern All Stars chose to play in the first game "to keep Jags fresh." Jagr, when asked about it, said "If we lose, I can fly home sooner."
Nashville did an excellent job hosting the All Star Game this season. Obviously it was tough to follow up Columbus, but it was an excellent in night in an excellent barn. Seriously, if you haven’t been to Nashville and Bridgestone Arena, go. It’s a great time.
The All Stars close the weekend in Nashville tomorrow night with the 2016 NHL All Star Game. Faceoff is at 5:00 EST.