Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | January 30, 2012

Skills Competition Funtimes

2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition

21-12 Alfredsson

Fastest Skater winner: Carl Hagelin (Alfredsson)

Breakaway Challenge winner: Patrick Kane (Chara)

Accuracy Shooting winner: Jamie Benn (Chara)

Skills Challenge Relay winner: Team Alfredsson

Hardest Shot winner: Zdeno Chara (Chara)

Elimination Shootout winner: Steven Stamkos (Alfredsson)

We’re going to do things a little differently and instead of “the good-the bad-the ugly,” we will focus on notable things. If you’re a statistics nut, here is the entire scoresheet for the event. Numbers!

Emma: I keep reading all this rhetoric in The Hockey News’ newsletter about how “hardcore fans” don’t like the All-Star festivities. To those fans I say well phooey on you! This weekend is all about fun, for the players participating, for the players who get a little free time, for the fans who want to have a good time–and have a good time I know I did.

For the fastest skater, it’s too bad they didn’t put in Tim Thomas (or, as I now affectionately call him, Ron Swanson Goalie since his face and political views remind me of Ron Swanson from the excellent Parks and Recreation) so we could’ve seen another #timmydown (sorry, Scott Hartnell) like last year. #timmydown actually tends to be good luck for his team, even. I also think Tyler Seguin should’ve gone instead of Phil Kessel; Seguin is deadly fast with the puck–maybe not as fast as last year’s champ Michael Grabner, but it’s like you blink and all of a sudden Seguin is halfway down the ice with a head of steam.

Nice toque.

Speaking of Hartnell, though, while I still greatly dislike his team and such, I do think his #hartnelldown initiative of $1,000 for Ed Snider-spearheaded inner city hockey in Philadelphia is a good cause. $4,000 total was donated because of his lack of balance. That’s not so bad.

The breakaway challenge may have been the funniest part of the night. I’ll let Krista talk at length about Patrick Kane‘s appearance, but there was some seriously cool stuff going on here. How about Corey Perry‘s excellent work managing to hold the puck on his stick when you think gravity would dictate otherwise!


But then he had to go and top himself on his third of three attempts by skating up to Brian Elliott, stopping, throwing off his gloves, dropping his stick and reaching into his shorts (at which point I think some folks thought he might do something quite different)…to pull out one of those souvenir mini goal sticks they sell at the team store. Hunching and taking to his knees, he went in on Elliott and sent it home.

If you don't know the context of this photo, you might think the NHL is really hard up if they make their guys play with mini goal sticks.

My text vote went to Kane, but if we could’ve voted for a goalie in this event, I would’ve texted in a vote for Carey Price. His antics had me practically in stitches. From covering his head with his mitt and using his stick like a blind man to doing the Tim Tebow pose (although John Tavares scored on him when he did that), going full sprawled-legs turtle to making a backwards save against Sean Couturier by watching the reflection in the glass, Price was hilarious.

Again, context is everything in this photo.

Poor Seguin was terrible in his part of the accuracy shooting, but after a rewatch I discovered why: he couldn’t tell who was sending him the pass. Right, left, both at once–some miscommunication there. Jamie Benn was a complete beast, though; deadly accurate, almost as good as the legendary performance put on by Ray Bourque. Appendectomy? What appendectomy? (The kind he would’ve died from 100 years ago, according to Ron Swanson Goalie.)

Both teams put on very good shows during the relay, though Alfredsson took all three possible points. Pavel Datsyuk and Gabriel Landeskog were both exceptional in their segments, making it look so easy. All the shooters who had to shoot from that bad angle–Joffrey Lupul, Steven Stamkos, Benn and Tavares–also had a difficult task and completely killed at it!

Bow in the presence of greatness.

108.8. At this rate, next year Zdeno Chara should plan to surpass 110 mph during the hardest shot competition. That’s not to say the other shooters didn’t do well, just that Chara was in beast mode. The standing ovation he received from the crowd was really nice too. Chara is a good guy and they still like him in Ottawa.

Congrats to Stamkos for winning the elimination shootout, the round in which Alfredsson secured and extended its victory. He joked that hopefully coach Guy Boucher was watching and would take note of his performance there. No kidding!

All in all, a good time was had by all–except for those haters.

Krista: Ah, where do I begin? Well, Patrick was hoping to be included in the breakaway challenge, especially since Alex Ovechkin had withdrawn from the ASG and consequently wouldn’t be defending his title. He only found out the day before, and that evening he solicited ideas via Twitter (mine was kinda meh – wear his shades and play hard to get with the goalie). I was pretty psyched when the time came, and I had to endure some ho-hum performances by Ryan Johansen and Sean Couturier (chalk it up to rookie nerves). But then came Patrick’s turn, and I was excited to see him trying to juggle the puck on his blade as he skated toward the goal. He flubbed up and dropped it, so the first try of three was a wash.

The second one, though…he came out and waved to someone on the bench – it was Marian Hossa, who became his partner in crime for this round. Let’s let the video speak for itself:

Someone pointed out that with those glasses, Patrick looked kind of like the Hanson brothers from Slap Shot. Yeah, I can see the resemblance.

On his third try, he didn’t even take off the cape and glasses:

And he naturally won with 47% of the fan votes (yes, mine was one of them).

So here’s the backstory: the idea for the Superman trick was based on Dwight Howard’s slam dunk at the 2008 NBA All-Star game. While Patrick went to the rink to practice his shots on Saturday morning, his parents and the Blackhawks PR guy went out and bought him the cape and glasses; on the way to the rink, he asked Hoss to help him out with the props. As for the exploding puck, he actually cut a puck into four pieces and glued them together.  Great on-the-fly ideas for having only 24 hours’ notice!

So I might’ve given him an idea for next year involving a Jedi robe and me crocheting him a hat with Yoda ears on it. If he does that next year in Columbus, just remember that it came from me. But for now, he can be my superhero.

They call him Superman, he's here to rescue me, er, you.

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