Chara blasts Team Staal to SuperSkills victory during all-star weekend
RALEIGH, North Carolina — Zdeno Chara’s record-breaking slapshot was part of Team Staal’s victory over Team Lidstrom at the NHL SuperSkills competition on Saturday.
The 105.9-m.p.h. blast from the towering Boston Bruins defenceman was one of the highlights of the fan-friendly skills competition ahead of Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, and helped Team Staal post a 33-22 victory in the six-event showcase.
“I actually wasn’t feeling that great tonight,” Chara said. “Thanks to the fans. They got me going.”
Chara came into the hardest shot event as the three-time reigning champion and record holder with a blast of 105.4 m.p.h. set at the 2009 competition. Chara and Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber posted the hardest shots in the preliminary round with shots of 103.7 and 104.8 m.p.h., respectively.
In the final round, Chara skated up for his first shot and blasted it into the net at 105.9 miles per hour to win the event for the fourth straight time.
Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders had the quickest time in the fastest skater category. The speed burners opened the night’s festivities, hoping to break Mike Gartner’s record time of 13.386 seconds, set in Boston in 1996.
In the rookie race, Grabner posted a time of 14.061 to beat Taylor Hall of Edmonton. Grabner then raced against Hall again in the final round and won with a time of 14.238.
Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won the breakaway competition. Ovechkin was the final shooter for Team Staal and on his third shot he went down on a knee before popping back up and slipping a low shot past Montreal’s Carey Price from the left side.
The fans voted on the winner of this event, and Ovechkin earned 38.5 per cent of the vote, while Montreal’s P.K. Subban took second place with 21.3 per cent, even though he failed to score. He may have won points with the crowd when he donned the No. 53 sweater of Carolina Hurricanes rookie star Jeff Skinner. Loui Eriksson of Dallas, who scored on a backhand from in front after skating around the net twice, grabbed third place with 13.4 per cent of the vote.
Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks was the winner for the accuracy shooting event. Team Staal won four of the six rounds in the qualifying round with Sedin getting the fastest time for Staal’s squad thanks to his 7.3 mark. Patrick Kane of Chicago was the quickest for Lidstrom’s team with a mark of 8.7.
Sedin then grabbed the extra two points for his squad in the final round as his time of 8.9 seconds beat out Kane for the win.
The only event of the night that Team Lidstrom won was skills challenge relay. The event consisted of five skills; a one-timer competition, where three shooters from different angles must one-time the puck into the net; a passing competition, where a passer must direct the puck into each of six nets; a puck control relay that has a skater guide the puck through a series of cones; a stickhandling skill that sees the skater control the puck through an array of pucks; and an accuracy shooting event that has one shooter hitting four targets in the net.
The first round saw Team Lidstrom, with a time of 2:09, beat out Team Staal’s 2:18. The next round also went to Lidstrom’s team thanks to a time of 2:33, edging out the competition by one second.
The last event of the night was the elimination shootout that Team Staal won by a score of 8-5 with Corey Perry declared the winner for going 3-for-3 in the event.
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