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Team Chara, Team Alfredsson select Skills lineups

Friday, 01.27.2012 / 3:48 PM / 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Team Chara, Team Alfredsson select Skills lineups

OTTAWA -- Soon after Zdeno Chara walked into the room, he whipped out his phone and sent a text message to teammate Tyler Seguin. Chara had to ask Seguin if he would be cool doing the All-State NHL Breakaway Challenge on Saturday night at the 2012 Molson Canadian All-Star Skills Competition.

Chara and his assistant captain, Joffrey Lupul, didn't necessarily need help in picking which player does what for Team Chara in the skills competition at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night, but they also wanted to avoid putting any of the guys in an awkward, uncomfortable position.

However, soon after Chara had his phone in his hand, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan walked into the room. Bettman greeted Chara and Shanahan quickly offered his opinion on whom Chara should select as the rookie to take part in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater.

"Greening just won the Ottawa competition," Shanahan said, referring to Senators rookie Colin Greening.

Lupul went to the board, stuck Greening's name up, and Chara offered Shanahan a thank you for the help. Lupul, though, then saw he had a text message from Phil Kessel asking him to not put him in the Fastest Skater competition.

He ignored it and put him on the board as the first forward up. He even ignored the second text from Kessel that read, "You better be joking."

"He's one of the fastest guys in the League," Lupul said with a smile.

Chara and Lupul continued their selections, making sure to discuss and agree on each pick before the name went on the white board. Chara had to convince Lupul to be one of the right-handed one-timer shooters in the G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay. He also didn't pick Seguin for the Breakaway Challenge, but he did put him in the Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout.

The two All-Stars spent a lot of time formulating their roster for the Challenge Relay. With only three openings remaining, NHL Hockey Operations Manager Rob Blake, who was overseeing the selections, had to remind them both that the rules said they had to pick two rookies for that competition. They moved a few names around and got Cody Hodgson and Gabriel Landeskog in the mix.

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Once that was done, they rolled through the contestants for the Breakaway Challenge and the Blackberry Hardest Shot. However, the Canadian Tire NHL Accuracy Shooting competition stumped them for a while as they tried to make sure participation was evenly porportioned.

When they came down to the final event, the Elimination Shootout, Lupul asked Chara if he wanted to go.

Chara quickly said no way, and filled out the rest of the rest of the roster, taking more than 20 minutes at the conclusion to make sure they had everyone involved and taking part in the proper events. Chara even went through everybody's name to make sure all of the All-Star skaters were in at least two competitions.

"I don't know, what do you think?" Chara asked rhetorically. "We're taking forever. We should be done. It's hard to please everybody."

As Chara continued to contemplate his list, Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Lundqvist were waiting outside the room. Fifty minutes after they started, Chara and Lupul were finally done. They left as the Swedish duo entered.

Alfredsson and Lundqvist quickly went to work after Blake's primer. Their selections took 35 minutes.

They started with the Hardest Shot competition and immediately grabbed Weber's name plate and put it right next to Chara's on the white board. At last year's Skills competition, Chara set the record with a 105.9 mph shot and Weber was second with 104.8. Jason Spezza went on the board for Hardest Shot next, but they moved on to the Fastest Skater competition and immediately put Carl Hagelin on the board as the rookie.

Alfredsson said he thinks Hagelin will win the event. Lundqvist begged off from being the goalie for the Fastest Skater, so Alfredsson gave it to Jonathan Quick.

"I'm not that fast," said Lundqvist, who also chose to place Brian Elliott as the goalie in the Breakaway Challenge.

They moved on to the Accuracy Shooting competition and after initially putting in James Neal along with Jason Spezza and Steven Stamkos, they remembered that Daniel Sedin won the competition last year by hitting all four targets in 7.3 seconds. Neal came off the board and Daniel Sedin went on, with Henrik Sedin going in as a passer.

The discussion on their picks for the Skills Challenge Relay started in Swedish. Picking for this competition proved to be quite difficult, as it was for Team Chara, because the Swedes had to contemplate right- and left-handed shots, who should take a one-timer from where on the ice, and where to fit in the two rookies that neither captain knows very well.

After finally getting through the Challenge Relay, they plowed through the Elimination Shootout contestants.

"Does it look good," Alfredsson asked Lundqvist?

"This is good," Lundqvist said before shaking hands with Alfredsson.


Here is a look at all the selections:

TEAM CHARA

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

All-Star backwards: Brian Campbell
Goalie: Jimmy Howard
Rookie: Colin Greening
All-Star: Phil Kessel
All-Star: Marian Hossa

All-State NHL Breakaway Challenge

Rookie: Ryan Johansen
All-Star: Patrick Kane
All-Star: Corey Perry
Goalie: Carey Price

Canadian Tire NHL Accuracy Shooting

Rookie: Cody Hodgson
All-Star: Tyler Seguin
All-Star: Jamie Benn
All-Star: Marian Hossa
Passer: Phil Kessel
Passer: Ryan Suter
Passer: Jordan Eberle
Passer: Brian Campbell

G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay

One-timer passer: Ryan Suter
One-timer right-handed: Dennis Wideman
One-timer right-handed: Jarome Iginla
One-timer right-handed: Joffrey Lupul
Passing accuracy: Patrick Kane
Puck control: Pavel Datsyuk
Stick handling: Gabriel Landeskog
Target shooter: Marian Gaborik
One-timer passer: Jordan Eberle
One-timer left-handed: Dion Phaneuf
One-timer left-handed: Zdeno Chara
One-timer left-handed: Jamie Benn
Passing accuracy: Kimmo Timonen
Puck control: Raphael Diaz
Stick handling: Evgeni Malkin
Target shooter: Phil Kessel

* Note: Two rookies must participate per team

Blackberry NHL Hardest Shot

Rookie: Luke Adam
All-Star: Dennis Wideman
All-Star: Dion Phaneuf
All-Star: Zdeno Chara

Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout

Rookie: Colin Greening
All-Star: Pavel Datsyuk
All-Star: Evgeni Malkin
All-Star: Corey Perry
All-Star: Tyler Seguin
All-Star: Marian Gaborik
All-Star: Patrick Kane
All-Star: Jarome Iginla
All-Star: Jamie Benn
All-Star: Joffrey Lupul
All-Star: Kimmo Timonen
All-Star: Ryan Suter
Goalie: Carey Price
Goalie: Tim Thomas
Goalie: Jimmy Howard

TEAM ALFREDSSON

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

All-Star backwards: Kris Letang
Goalie: Jonathan Quick
Rookie: Carl Hagelin
All-Star: Keith Yandle
All-Star: Erik Karlsson

All-State Insurance NHL Breakaway Challenge

Rookie: Sean Couturier
All-Star: John Tavares
All-Star: Logan Couture
Goalie: Brian Elliott

Canadian Tire NHL Accuracy Shooting

Rookie: Matt Read
All-Star: Jason Spezza
All-Star: Steven Stamkos
All-Star: Daniel Sedin
Passer: Alex Edler
Passer: Dan Girardi
Passer: Claude Giroux
Passer: Henrik Sedin

G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay

One-timer passer: Nick Johnson
One-timer right-handed: Shea Weber
One-timer right-handed: Kris Letang
One-timer right-handed: Steven Stamkos
Passing accuracy: Henrik Sedin
Puck control: Milan Michalek
Stick handling: Logan Couture
Target shooter: James Neal
One-timer passer: Alex Edler
One-timer left-handed: Keith Yandle
One-timer left-handed: Scott Hartnell
One-timer left-handed: John Tavares
Passing accuracy: Daniel Sedin
Puck control: Craig Smith
Stick handling: Claude Giroux
Target shooter: Jason Pominville

* Note: Two rookies must participate per team

Blackberry NHL Hardest Shot

Rookie: Justin Faulk
All-Star: Daniel Alfredsson
All-Star: Jason Spezza
All-Star: Shea Weber

Tim Hortons NHL Elimination Shootout

Rookie: Carl Hagelin
All-Star: Steven Stamkos
All-Star: John Tavares
All-Star: Jason Spezza
All-Star: Claude Giroux
All-Star: Daniel Alfredsson
All-Star: James Neal
All-Star: Milan Michalek
All-Star: Jason Pominville
All-Star: Kris Letang
All-Star: Erik Karlsson
All-Star: Daniel Sedin
Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist
Goalie: Brian Elliott
Goalie: Jonathan Quick

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl