NHL All-Star Skills Competition

With the second half of the NHL season under way all teams are pushing for a playoff spot.

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NHL All-Star Skills Competition

At the peak of the NHL season all team are now looking to push for a Playoff Spot and compete for the Stanley Cup.

At the peak of the NHL season all team are now looking to push for a Playoff Spot and compete for the Stanley Cup.

At the peak of the NHL season all team are now looking to push for a Playoff Spot and compete for the Stanley Cup.

At the peak of the NHL season all team are now looking to push for a Playoff Spot and compete for the Stanley Cup.

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The NHL season is at its peak with all teams’ eyes now solely on making a final push for the playoffs. The NHL All-star Weekend signifies the mid-point of the season with players from all around the league coming together to compete in different games and events including a three on three tournament where the winning team wins one million dollars to split amongst its players.

 

This year players competed in the NHL Fastest Skater, Puck Control, Save Streak, Premier Passer, Hardest Shot, and Shooting Accuracy.

 

This year Adidas made the All-Star jerseys out of recycled plastic taken out of the Oceans.

The Fastest Skater competition was first, and USA Women’s National team Kendall Cyone set the bar high with a final time around the rink at 14.346 seconds. That time was quickly beaten when Columbus Blue Jackets Cam Atkinson finished with a final time of 14.152 seconds. Mathew Brazal had strong intuitions to win and he did not disappoint, with a blistering time of 13.780 seconds.

Lastly the two people everyone was watching this event for Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid and Eichel were the number one and two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft, with both players being known for their speed and puck controlling skills. Eichel started strong

Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres finished second in the Fastest Skater competition.

and learned from last year’s competition to skate hard the whole way around. Coming into the last turn, Eichel looked as if he was going to put up the biggest fight McDavid would have to face. Eichel finished with an impressive final time of 13.582 seconds.

Defending his throne, McDavid has won this same competition for the past two years in a row and this year he looked to do no different. McDavid had a rough time to beat but he was the person who could get it done. As he came into the last turn, he gave it all he had, which was just enough to edge out his competitors, defend his crown and win the skating competition for the third year in a row his final time was a tremendous 13.378 seconds.

One of the most impressive skill competitions was up next following the fastest skater was the Puck Control Play. Patrick Kane was first and did not disappoint, cradling the puck with ease and maneuvering on skates on a dime. With flawless turns and impressive carrying ability, it looked as if the first person up was going to win and Kanes final time backed that up, finishing at 28.611 seconds. All players after Kane looked like they weren’t going to even touch his final time, until Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau won this same competition in 2018, and like McDavid looked to keep his crown. Right after the starting whistle, he messed up the first cradle but quickly bounced back with an immaculate run, flawlessly executing the puck lifting portion to take down Kane and keep his title for the second year in a row.

The Buffalo Sabres had two All-stars including Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner.

Following Puck Control, Goal Tenders get a shot to show their skills in the new Save Streak competition. This is the second time this competition was used and after great fan reactions the NHL brought it back. Goalies finally get a shot to show off their acrobatic saving styles by trying to stop fellow all-stars from scoring on them in a breakaway fashion. Last year Marc-Andre Fleury won the competition and this year also looked to keep that same mentality. Unfortunately this year was not his best showing only putting up a score of six after last year putting up a score of 14. This year looked to someone new and that person was Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. Lundquvist is known to be one of the best breakaway goalies in the NHL so it is no surprise here that he won beating Fleury and scoring a 12 this year after not even competing the year before.

After the goalies we move to the Premier Passing competition, which is widely regarded as the hardest competition for players today. The favorite coming into this competition was Erik Karlsson being known for is expert passing ability and precision puck placement all eyes were on him, and he did not do what was expected he posted a final time of 118.824 seconds finishing seventh out of eight contenders. The star of this skills showing was Leon Draisaitl from Edmonton. With a winning time of 69.088 seconds. This competition is said to be the hardest, due to the small nets in the middle where players need to perform a cross ice pass over a barrier into a small net that is meant to be used for indoor knee hockey for 5 year olds. NHL fans and enthusiasts, like Senior Ed Coombs, says “The competition is not real enough, and to perform a cross ice saucer pass is too hard and boring for viewers to repeatedly watch someone fail.” People think that this needs to change by perhaps adding a moving target to show a realistic environment.

LHS Senior Zach Yelich has this to say about the passing competition “I feel it is to difficult and to watch players fail over and over gets boring and people lose interest, this should be changed in almost every way.”

Following finesse and passing, the biggest players in the NHL get ready to show their strength and see how hard they can shoot in the Hardest Shot competition. Last year’s winner, Alex Ovechkin did not participate in this year’s competition, so his crown was up for the taking. Brent Burns hoped to win and fans could teel he came ready to play, his first shot could have been the winner but he missed the net meaning the shot did not count. But even after his second shot that did count, he fell to the new champion and Ovechkin teammate John Carlson who shot at 102.8 MPH to secure his victory.

For the final event players got to show their accuracy in the Shooting Accuracy Competition. Brock Boser was the winner last year but did not elect to compete this year so the crown was up for grabs. David Pastrnak was dedicated to, winning going 5/8 and putting up a winning time of 11.309 seconds, a whole second faster than the second place finisher Kris Letang. Pastrnak was an underdog coming into this competition. Letang was the sure winner, but Pastrnak put everyone to silence stunning everyone and winning the competition.

This year’s All-Star break is now over and all eyes are on the quest for the cup and we will have to see whether or not these players’ skills will come in handy for teams to wing this year’s Stanley Cup.