Say what you will about what the All-Star game itself has become – all though they are on the right path with the 3v3 tournament – the skills competition is still a great blend of fun and opportunity to showcase the talent in the game.
The day started off with the celebrity shootout, featuring some of the best to ever play the game, as well as some well-known celebrities, before concluding with the skills competition itself.
Some notes and observations from the day;
- He was half the size of the rest of them, and he clearly doesn’t have a future in the NHL, but Justin Bieber showcased some great skating ability and speed. He broke free for a couple of breakaways, attempted two penalty shots, and registered two points. Eric Lindros buried a rebound from a Biebs shot, getting him an assist, and then eventually scored on an empty-net.
- How about the Biebs actually drawing a penalty on Ray Bourque? Maybe slightly dive-ish, but impressive nonetheless.
- Of course, he will always be remembered for something that maybe he wouldn’t like to be, getting pressed against the boards by the massive Chris Pronger – who himself pushed the envelopes of what the line is for physicality in an exhibition game like this.
- It was amazing to see players that I grew up watching lace it up and skate again. Was there anything cooler than Joe Sakic setting up Connor McDavid for a one-timer attempt? The Past, present, and future all wrapped into one there.
- Scott Niedermayer is still one of the smoothest skaters I have ever seen and had a breakout pass that would make any current NHLer jealous.
- Cuba Gooding Jr. scoring made my day because I got to post this on Twitter.
Not original, but I don’t care.
On to the skill competition
- I didn’t think I’d like the four line challenge at first, but it ended up stealing the show, in my opinion. It was fun and provided the best moments that wasn’t Ryan Kesler‘s son scoring on Carey Price. Brent Burns flinging a puck from center ice and scoring top shelf? Almost want to see him try that in a game now. How about Mike Smith scoring five-hole from the goal line. That was awesome.
- I feel like the one-timer part of the relay race should be a little more automatic that it appeared to be.
- Sidney Crosby could have done better on the accuracy challenge, must have wanted to give others a shot.
- This morning I picked Auston Matthews and Crosby to finish first and second in the accuracy challenge. I was right, just had them flip flopped.
- The much-anticipated race between Nathan MacKinnon and McDavid fell a little flat. McDavid ran away with it and MacKinnon didn’t have his best showing.
- Watching the race you wouldn’t guess that in fact, MacKinnon is still one of the fastest in the league. If he isn’t second to McDavid, you can count on one hand who is faster than him.
- Man, what a let down the hardest shot contest was. That may be the marquee event at the skills challenge, and it really didn’t live up to years past. Even Shea Weber wasn’t at his best, coming nowhere near what he has shot in years before. Patrik Laine provided the only real threat to Weber’s title, and even the rookie barely topped 100 mph.
- With the win, the Atlantic division got to choose who they play first and whether it will be the first or second game. They decided on the Metropolitan, the division with the best overall record in the league, and they will play second after the two Western conference teams play each other.
- Moment of the night? Easy
On to tomorrow’s game!
Predicted Winner – Pacific Division. They got the home cooking. Atlantic might be the easy pick because of Carey Price. Metropolitan have Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. They have the three of the best four records in the game and probably should win.
Chalk my prediction up to some home cooking.