A great night for hockey last night as the best in the game got together for the NHL Skills competition. Some thoughts from last night’s event and some predictions for today’s all star showdown.
- Bad job by the NHL changing the way fastest skater is done. The classic way of going all the way around the rink has been replaced by a up and back format. It stinks. But congrats to NY Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin for taking home fastest skater. Loved seeing the goalies get into the act as well.
- The breakaway challenge provided some great moments. Patrick Kane as superman, Corey Perry with the mini stick, and how about Carey Price “Tebowing” and acting like a clown every time a player skated in on him were some of the highlights. It has to be tough for the players to come up with ideas for this event, always seems like using props is the best way to go. Nice job by the Isles John Tavares showing some great skills with his hands, lightning fast moves by JT on 2 of his 3 attempts.
- The accuracy challenge was a let down. Always hope for a guy to go 4/4 at some point to energize the crowd. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars came the closest as he went 4/5 as the last shooter of the event. Hate that the timer has been added as well.
- I understand that they need to clean the ice, and that they need to sell advertising, but do the players really need an intermission for a skills contest? No….probably not.
- Could they make those nets any smaller that the guys have to thred passes into during the relay challenge, yikes. Saying that, anyone better than the Sedin twins at it.
- They should just not allow Chara to be in the hardest shot anymore, it’s not even fair. The guy is a freak…108mph…c’mon. I guess that’s why they have the individual one on one battles now in the hardest shot. Was pretty surprised to see Alfredsson throw a 101mph up there. Phaneuf got scared by the Ottawa crowd and clearly did not want to beat Spezza.
- The goalies for the most part took center stage in the elimination challenge. Lundqvist was outstanding along with his teammates Brian Elliott and Jon Quick. Some great performances by Tavares and my pick to win, Steven Stamkos. Stamkos’ 2nd round goal against Carey Price was especially brilliant.
- The locals did not disappoint at all in the skills. Tavares showed his talents in a number of events, Lundqvist was great when out there, and Carl Hagelin winning fastest skater was a nice touch. Team Alfredsson wins it by the final of 21-12, which could also very well be the final of today’s game.
As for tonight, I like team Alfredsson to win over Chara. Like the goaltending better for Alfredsson and the home town crowd behind them. I’ll go 11-7 Alfredsson with Jason Spezza winning the MVP.
I’ll have updates all throughout the game today so keep it here at Hockey This Week.
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