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All-Star captains pick players for SuperSkills events

Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 4:56 PM / Nashville Predators All-Star Game Section
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All-Star captains pick players for SuperSkills events
The captains for Team Staal and Team Lidstrom met separately Saturday afternoon in closed-door meetings with Brendan Shanahan, NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development, to pick representatives for each event of tonight's Honda NHL SuperSkills competition. At the end of each meeting, Shanahan explained that the strategy session wouldn't end with the afternoon picks.

"One thing I wanted to make clear is the captains will be the coaches for tonight," said Shanahan. "They will have decisions to make [about which players go head-to-head in events to maximize the overall team point totals}."

Carolina's Eric Staal said he and alternate captains Ryan Kesler and Mike Green couldn't make a bad decision since "everyone is a great player and an All-Star." That said, his All-Star teammates would have to be informed about who is doing what tonight.

"I'm not sure the other players even know were doing this," said Staal. "It should be fun. I am looking forward to see if [Zdeno] Chara can get his hardest shot higher than 105 [miles per hour] and hear the ovation for that little Skinner kid."

Staal was talking about Hurricanes teammate Jeff Skinner, who is not only the youngest All-Star in the game this weekend, but the youngest athlete in any professional sport to make an all-star team.

In contrast, Nicklas Lidstrom is making his 12th NHL All-Star appearance, all on behalf of the Detroit Red Wings. He and alternate captains Martin St. Louis and Patrick Kane made fast work of the Honda NHL SuperSkills white-board in the meeting room.

"I always like to see the [Bridgestone] Fastest Skater event," Lidstrom said. "I am thinking maybe Marty [St. Louis] can break Mike Gartner's record."

Here is the Team Stall and Team Lidstrom lists from today's meetings. The order is subject to change and there might be a few last-minute strategic changes in which players compete in which events.

The NHL All-Stars and Rookies will participate in six events:
  • Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™
  • BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™
  • McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting™
  • G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay™
  • XM NHL Hardest Shot™
  • Discover NHL Elimination Shootout™
Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™ - Order determined on the ice

Team Staal 
Michael Grabner – New York Islanders
Mike Green – Washington Capitals
Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Marc Staal – New York Rangers
Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins

Team Lidstrom
Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
Taylor Hall – Edmonton Oilers
Matt Duchene – Colorado Avalanche
Martin St. Louis – Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Keith Yandle – Phoenix Coyotes

The Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™, the first event of Honda NHL SuperSkills®,
will consist of six preliminary races with two players skating at one time taking one lap of the ice; the players from each team with the fastest time for their team will then meet in one final match race.  One of the races will be between two players skating backwards.  To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here: http://bit.ly/eEOay4

BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™

Team Staal 
P.K. Subban – Montreal Canadiens
Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
 
Team Lidstrom
Evgeny Dadonov – Florida Panthers
Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
Henrik Sedin – Vancouver Canucks

The fan favorite BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™ returns again this year, the event Alex Ovechkin has made his own by taking home the title each of the first two years.  A test of the amount of creativity a player can insert into a breakaway, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will be able to vote for their favorite player by texting the number that corresponds to the player of their choice to 81812.  Each skater will attempt four shots – with no limits.  Shooters can start their attempt from anywhere with full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net.  NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.  The shooter with the highest fan vote will score four points for his team, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.

To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.

McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting™ - Order determined on the ice

Team Staal 
Rick Nash – Columbus Blue Jackets
Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes
Logan Couture – San Jose Sharks
Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
Ryan Kesler – Vancouver Canucks
Passer: Dan Boyle – San Jose Sharks
Passer: Paul Stastny – Colorado Avalanche

Team Lidstrom
Brad Richards – Dallas Stars
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
Martin Havlat – Minnesota Wild
Derek Stepan – New York Rangers
Passer: Nicklas Lidstrom – Red Wings
Passer: Danny Briere – Philadelphia Flyers

From 25 feet in front of the net, shooters take aim at four foam targets attached to the inner side of the goalposts. The objective is to hit all of the targets in the fastest time.  A total of eight points are available.  The winner of each match scores one point.  The players with the fastest time from each team will go head-to-head in the final round for the title of the NHL's most accurate shooter and two additional team points. 

To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.

G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay™

Team Staal 
Group 1
Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins
Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes
Daniel Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
Dan Boyle – San Jose Sharks
Tyler Ennis – Buffalo Sabres
Paul Stastny – Colorado Avalanche
Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks

Group 2 
Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Green – Washington Capitals
Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
Jamie McBain – Carolina Hurricanes                      
David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Marc Staal – New York Rangers
Jeff Skinner – Carolina Hurricanes

Team Lidstrom
Group 1
Nicklas Lidstrom – Detroit Red Wings
Brad Richards – Dallas Stars
Loui Eriksson – Dallas Stars
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Phoenix Coyotes
Henrik Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Martin St. Louis – Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Duchene – Colorado Avalanche
Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks

Group 2
Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
Dustin Byfuglien – Atlanta Thrashers
Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
Keith Yandle – Phoenix Coyotes
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
Martin Havlat – Minnesota Wild
Kevin Shattenkirk – Colorado Avalanche
Danny Briere – Philadelphia Flyers

This new event for 2011 is an all-around competition that will showcase the one-timer, passing, puck control, stick-handling and accuracy shooting in four exciting relays.  In the one-timer event, three shooters (with the assistance of one passer) must score three goals over an eight inch barrier; in the passing event, one passer must complete a pass into each of the six nets set up around the rink; in the puck control event, one skater will skate through a series of cones while keeping possession of the puck; in the stick handling event, one skater will control the puck through a series of obstacles; and in the accuracy shooting event, one player will take aim at four targets.  Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next skill in this timed relay event worth a total of eight points. The group with the fastest time will score four points, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.

To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.

XM NHL Hardest Shot™ - Order determined on the ice

Team Staal 
Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins
Alex Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
David Backes – St. Louis Blues
Tyler Seguin – Boston Bruins
Rick Nash – Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrick Sharp – Chicago Blackhawks

Team Lidstrom
Anze Kopitar – Los Angeles Kings
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
Dustin Byfuglien – Atlanta Thrashers
Brent Burns - Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks

Bruins blueliner Zdeno Chara not only won his third consecutive XM NHL Hardest Shot™ competition in 2009, but his blast of 105.4 miles an hour broke the all-time record previously held by Al Iafrate and set in 1993.  The event returns this year with six head-to-head matches.  Two players will square off in each round, valued at one point each.  The highest recorded shot (by radar in mph) will earn one point for his team.  The players from each team with the hardest single shot will meet in a final match, with two points scored to the winner, to determine the NHL's hardest shooter.

To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.

Discover NHL Elimination Shootout™

The battle between Team Staal and Team Lidstrom will be ultimately decided as all of the All-Stars and Rookies compete in the Discover NHL Elimination Shootout™, a time-honored game of “hockey survivor.”  Shooters who score will move on to the next round in the shootout, with the All-Star goalies rotating after every third shooter.  Rounds of the shootout will continue until only one player scores and the other(s) don't; the last scoring shooter wins.  Every goal scored will count as one point for his team.

To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.

Author: Bob Condor | NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

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