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(Photo: NHL Flyers)

Who’s got skills? The NHL All-Star Skills Competition pins the East against the West to find the best in six skill categories.

The competition pushes conferences against one another but also acknowledges individual accomplishments for fastest skater, shooting accuracy, relay, hardest shot, breakaway challenge, and the shootout.

According to an NHL press release, Team captains Jaromir Jagr and John Tavares for the Eastern Conference, and Patrick Kane and John Scott for the Western Conference led the team selection process to determine which players will participate in the six Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition events, with each player showing off at least one skill.

Winners rack up points and the team with the most points decides whether it will play first or second in the All-Star Game Three-on-Three tourney Sunday.

 

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™

Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each
match.

If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break Mike Gartner’s record (13.386).

The winner of each match-up scores one point. The team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner’s record an additional bonus point will be awarded. The maximum number of points awarded is six.

Participants are as follows:

East
Dylan Larkin, F, Detroit Red Wings
Erik Karlsson
, D, Ottawa Senators
Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets
Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

West
Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche
Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers

Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge™

A test of creativity a player can insert into a breakaway, three shooters and one goaltender from each team will participate. Each skater will attempt two shots. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.Columbus’ Saad was selected by fans in the Twitter #NHLBreakawayChallenge to participate in this event in an online vote. He was likely selected for his history of goals like this:

But, this challenge gives room for flair, and he said Friday he’s not sure how he’ll approach the event.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’ll have to call Kaner up and see if I can borrow his cape or something. I haven’t brainstormed much but I’m really looking forward to it.”

This is the cape breakaway he’s referring to:

Fans in-arena and watching on television will be able to vote for their favorite player on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will score one point for his team.

Participants are as follows:

East:
Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets
Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, Washington Capitals
P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
Cory Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils

West:
Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche
James Neal, F, Nashville Predators
Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting™

Four players from each team will compete, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The
teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate shot attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins.

This is a fan and player favorite.

Evgeni Malkin said he was looking forward to shooting at targets.

And Patrick Kane is hoping to outperform himself.

“I think last year I got the four in five or six tries,” Kane said. “I’d like to try to beat that.”

Points Available: Five. The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who
hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point.

Participants are as follows:

East
Captain John Tavares, F, New York Islanders
Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers
Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
Passers:
Nicklas Backstrom, F, Washington Capitals
Captain Jaromir Jagr, F, Florida Panthers

West
Patrick Kane, F, Chicago Blackhawks
Joe Pavelski,
F, San Jose Sharks
Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks
Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars
Passers:
Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings
Vladimir Tarasenko, F, St. Louis Blues

 

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay™

This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and one goalie from each team – will consist of five challenges: one-timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; passing, with one passer per team; puck control, with one skater per team; stick-handling, with one skater per team; and goalie goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one-timers, passing, and goalie goals–in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.

Here’s a clip of last year’s relay:

Points Available: Three. The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point. The team with the fastest overall time scores one
bonus point.

Relay 1

East:
One-timer right-handed
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers
Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators
One-time passerPatrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins
Mini-net passer
Nicklas Backstrom, F, Washington Capitals
Puck Control
Justin Faulk, D, Carolina Hurricanes
Stick-handling
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers
Goalie goals
Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals

West
One-timer right-handed
Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks
Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators
One-time passer
Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers
Mini-net passer
Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks
Puck control
Johnny Gaudreau, F, Calgary Flames
Stick-handling
Patrick Kane, F, Chicago Blackhawks
Goalie goals
Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators

Relay 2

East
One-timer left-handed
Leo Komarov, F, Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan O’Reilly, F, Buffalo Sabres
Ryan McDonagh, D, New York Rangers
One-time passer
Jaromir Jagr, F, Florida Panthers
Mini-net passer
Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, Washington Capitals
Puck control
Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
Stick-handling
Dylan Larkin, F, Detroit Red Wings
Goalie goals
Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

West:
One-timer left-handed
Vladimir Tarasenko, F, St. Louis Blues
James Neal, F, Nashville Predators
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames
One-time passer
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche
Mini-net passer
Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars
Puck control
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators
Stick handling
Tyler Seguin, F, Dallas Stars
Goalie goals
Devan Dubnyk, G, Minnesota Wild

 

AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot™

Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour
(mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

The record belongs to Zdeno Chara at 108.8 mph, but Weber won last year with 108.5 mph.

This is one of two skills challenges for John Scott’s All-Star debut.

Five team points are available. The winner of each match-up scores one point. The team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point.

East
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins

West
Tyler Seguin, F, Dallas Stars
Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets
John Scott, F, Arizona Coyotes
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators

Discover NHL Shootout™

This three-round shootout contains 18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players–each goal scored by these players will count as two
points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored and 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

Round 1

East
Jaromir Jagr, F, Florida Panthers
P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens
Ryan O’Reilly, F, Buffalo Sabres
Leo Komarov, F, Toronto Maple Leafs
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers
Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
Roberto Luongo
, G, Florida Panthers

West
Captain Patrick Kane, F, Chicago Blackhawks
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche
Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks
Vladimir Tarasenko, F, St. Louis Blues
Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames
Devan Dubnyk, G, Minnesota Wild

Round 2

East
Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
Nicklas Backstrom, F, Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, Washington Capitals
Ryan McDonagh, D, New York Rangers
Justin Faulk, D, Carolina Hurricanes
Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals

West
Joe Pavelski, F, San Jose Sharks
Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers
Jamie Benn, , Dallas Stars
James Neal, F , Nashville Predators
Johnny Gaudreau, F , Calgary Flames
Dustin Byfuglien, D , Winnipeg Jets
John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks

 

Round 3

East
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers
Dylan Larkin, F, Detroit Red Wings
Captain John Tavares, F, New York Islanders
Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators
Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets
Cory Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils

West
Captain John Scott, F, Arizona Coyotes
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators
Tyler Seguin, F, Dallas Stars
Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks
Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators

The Skills Competition begins at 6:00 p.m. CT Saturday, Jan. 30.

The finalized rosters will take part in a three-on-three format, three-game tournament at 4 p.m. CT Sunday, Jan. 31 at Bridgestone Arena. The winners of the first two games will face off for a $1 million prize. Both will be televised on NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

For those visiting Nashville:

A fan fair with events for all ages is taking place until Jan. 31.

From 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, an NHL fan pass allows access to:

  • NHL Mascots and mascot activities
  • A photo with the Stanley Cup
  • An NHL Trophy Showcase, including the Hart, Vezina, Norris, and others
  • Meet-and-greet past and present hockey legends
  • NHL player Q&A at the NHL Fan Fair Theater
  • Visit the “Hockey in the State of Tennessee” Hall of Fame exhibit
  • Test shooting accuracy in the Bridgestone Shootout
  • Live music performances nightly
  • Create-your-own Upper Deck trading card
  • Test your hockey skills in the Honda All-Star skills zone
  • Collect rare hockey memorabilia
  • Take kids to the McDonald’s Kid’s Zone
  • Lace up on the outdoor ice rink constructed for the All-Star Weekend

Price (Single Day)
$20 Adult
$15 Children (Ages 3 to 12)
$15 Seniors (Ages 65 and over)
$15 College/Military (must show ID at entrance)
Children 2 and under: Free

Music City Music

Scheduled musical headliners for the weekend are Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Lonestar, and a number of other acts.

All-Star weekend is set to give fans star treatment in and out of the arena.

NHL Network and NHL.com will provide comprehensive coverage of 2016 Honda NHL All-Star festivities. (So will The Pink Puck!)

 

(As always, view videos and check bolded links for interesting additions.)

 

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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