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Before they represent their respective divisions on Sunday in the NHL All-Star Game, the best individuals in the league will put their talents on display in Saturday’s NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Saturday night’s competition inside Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida, features a few traditional skill showcases like hardest shot and fastest skater, as well as a few new events the NHL hopes will catch the eye of the viewer.
Some of the NHL’s best players will have a go at the events, including Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, both of whom achieved success on All-Star Saturday a year ago.
Date: Saturday, January 27
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Six events will be contested during the All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, with an added twist coming to each this year.
The NHL announced on Tuesday that each winner of the six events will be awarded $25,000.
The accuracy shooting competition has received a technological update since the first time it appeared in the skills competition.
In the past, players used to strike the puck at five breakable targets positioned throughout the net, but now the league has implemented LED targets.
The targets will light up in a random sequence, and once a target is hit, it will be removed from that pattern with others popping up more frequently.
The last three winners of the event will all be participating in All-Star Weekend. Patrick Kane took the top spot in 2015, John Tavares won the competition in 2016 and Sidney Crosby earned gold in 2017.
The fastest skater is one of the oldest competitions at the NHL Skills Challenge. Past winners of the event include Sergei Fedorov, Sami Kapanen, Scott Niedermayer and Mike Gartner, all of whom won it on multiple occasions.
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers took the top spot in the 2017 edition of the competition, and he will most likely be going for a repeat inside Amalie Arena on Saturday.
David Becker/Associated Press
The competition features eight skaters who are timed for one full lap around the ice, with the fastest of them all being crowned the champion. If a tie occurs at the top of the standings, the players level on time will take another turn on the ice.
The hardest shot competition has been dominated by Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber since the 2007 All-Star Game, but neither are on the roster for the 2018 edition of the superstar showcase.
With the two defensemen with the hardest shots in hockey out of the running, a new king will be crowned on Saturday night.
Only nine players have placed first in the hardest shot since its inception in 1990, with Al MacInnis, Al Iafrate, Chara and Weber enjoying long streaks as champions. Six players will attempt to claim the vacated hardest shot throne.
The puck will be placed 30 feet from the net for both attempts, and the puck must hit the back of the net for a speed to be recorded. Players are allowed to create momentum and skate up to the puck before firing on goal.
Some of the league’s best passers will get a chance to showcase their skills in the unique passing challenge, which will highlight each player’s ability in three different ways.
The first challenge for the competitors will be a sequence of passing to four lit-up targets. The next task to conquer is called the “Give-and-Go” in which players must make four passes through a course set up in the neutral zone.
Finally, the selected competitors must navigate their pass around barricades around a quartet of mini nets before firing a pass into a regulation goal.
Much like the rest of the competitions on Saturday night, the winner of the passing challenge will be determined by time.
Puck Control Relay
The puck control relay is a test of speed, agility and clever stick work.
The event features three stations in which the competitors must master in order to have a chance at the $25,000 prize.
First up for the participants will be the stickhandling portion in which they must control the puck through a series of eight pucks in a straight line.
Next on the docket is the navigation of eight cones, which is followed by a gate where the player can either shoot or guide the puck through a lit ring.
The puck control relay is one of the oldest events at the Skills Challenge, and some of its past winners include Paul Kariya, Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash.
The goalies will take center stage in save streak, one of the newest events at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
Each netminder will face a full set of skaters from a selected division, which totals a minimum of nine shots.
If the goalie saves the final of the nine shots, which will come from the division captain, he will have an opportunity to continue his streak against another round of shooters from the same division.
For example, if the Metropolitan Division’s Braden Holtby went against the Central Division and he stops captain P.K. Subban, he’ll face more shots from players in the same order as the initial go-around. However, if Subban were to score on Holtby, the goalie’s streak would end and so would his time in the competition.
Joel Auerbach/Associated Press
The save streak can go on as long as possible, but it will end in the additional rounds once a goal is scored.
Aleksander Barkov, Florida
Jack Eichel, Buffalo
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay
Brad Marchand, Boston
Auston Matthews, Toronto
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
Mike Green, Detroit
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
Carey Price, Montreal
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay
Patrick Kane, Chicago
Nathan McKinnon, Colorado
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis
Tyler Seguin, Dallas
Eric Staal, Minnesota
Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg
John Klingberg, Dallas
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis
P.K. Subban, Nashville
Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg
Pekka Rinne, Nashville
Josh Bailey. New York Islanders
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia
Taylor Hall, New Jersey
Alex Ovechkin, Washington
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Noah Hanifin, Carolina
Seth Jones, Columbus
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh
Braden Holtby, Washington
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Brock Boeser, Vancouver
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
Connor McDavid, Edmonton
James Neal, Las Vegas
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim
Brent Burns, San Jose
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona
Marc-Andre Fleury, Las Vegas
Mike Smith, Calgary
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