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All-Star captains pick players for SuperSkills events

Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 3:09 PM / 2011 NHL All-Star Game - Presented by Discover

By Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

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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 GrabnerNew York Islanders
Mike GreenWashington Capitals
Ryan KeslerVancouver Canucks
Marc StaalNew York Rangers
Kris LetangPittsburgh Penguins
Cam WardCarolina Hurricanes

Team Lidstrom
Duncan KeithChicago Blackhawks
Taylor HallEdmonton Oilers
Matt DucheneColorado Avalanche
Martin St. LouisTampa Bay Lightning
Steven StamkosTampa Bay Lightning
Tim ThomasBoston Bruins

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.

BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™

Team Staal 
P.K. SubbanMontreal Canadiens
Corey PerryAnaheim Ducks
Alex OvechkinWashington Capitals
Carey Price - Montreal Canadiens
 
Team Lidstrom
Evgeny DadonovFlorida Panthers
Anze KopitarLos Angeles Kings
Loui ErikssonDallas Stars
Marc-Andre Fleury - Pittsburgh Penguins

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 NashColumbus Blue Jackets
Daniel SedinVancouver Canucks
Eric StaalCarolina Hurricanes
Logan CoutureSan Jose Sharks
Patrick SharpChicago Blackhawks
Ryan KeslerVancouver Canucks
Passer: Dan BoyleSan Jose Sharks
Passer: Paul StastnyColorado Avalanche

Team Lidstrom
Brad RichardsDallas Stars
Phil KesselToronto Maple Leafs
Patrick KaneChicago Blackhawks
Jonathan ToewsChicago Blackhawks
Martin HavlatMinnesota Wild
Derek StepanNew York Rangers
Passer: Nicklas Lidstrom – Red Wings
Passer: Danny BrierePhiladelphia 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 CharaBoston Bruins
Eric StaalCarolina Hurricanes
Daniel SedinVancouver Canucks
Erik KarlssonOttawa Senators
Dan BoyleSan Jose Sharks
Tyler EnnisBuffalo Sabres
Paul StastnyColorado Avalanche
Corey PerryAnaheim Ducks

Group 2 
Kris LetangPittsburgh Penguins
Mike GreenWashington Capitals
Claude GirouxPhiladelphia Flyers
Patrik EliasNew Jersey Devils
Jamie McBainCarolina Hurricanes                      
David BackesSt. Louis Blues
Marc StaalNew York Rangers
Jeff SkinnerCarolina Hurricanes

Team Lidstrom
Group 1
Nicklas LidstromDetroit Red Wings
Brad RichardsDallas Stars
Loui ErikssonDallas Stars
Oliver Ekman-LarssonPhoenix Coyotes
Henrik SedinVancouver Canucks
Martin St. LouisTampa Bay Lightning
Matt DucheneColorado Avalanche
Jonathan ToewsChicago Blackhawks

Group 2
Shea WeberNashville Predators
Dustin ByfuglienAtlanta Thrashers
Phil KesselToronto Maple Leafs
Keith YandlePhoenix Coyotes
Patrick KaneChicago Blackhawks
Martin HavlatMinnesota Wild
Kevin ShattenkirkColorado Avalanche
Danny BrierePhiladelphia 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 CharaBoston Bruins
Alex OvechkinWashington Capitals
David BackesSt. Louis Blues
Tyler SeguinBoston Bruins
Rick NashColumbus Blue Jackets
Patrick SharpChicago Blackhawks

Team Lidstrom
Anze KopitarLos Angeles Kings
Steven StamkosTampa Bay Lightning
Dustin ByfuglienAtlanta Thrashers
Brent Burns - Minnesota Wild
Shea WeberNashville Predators
Cam FowlerAnaheim 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.
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie