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Bear Essentials: All-Star Sunday

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
All-Stars West  2 6 3 0 11

All-Stars East  4 4 3 0 12

Scoring: ASW, Tkachuk, K. (01:16 in 1st), Marleau, P. (19:48 in 1st), Souray, S. (03:29 in 2nd), Boyle, D. (05:14 in 2nd), Nash, R. (08:27 in 2nd), Hejduk, M. (09:02 in 2nd), Souray, S. (10:34 in 2nd), Iginla, J. (16:46 in 2nd), Doan, S. (00:32 in 3rd), Toews, J. (02:32 in 3rd), Kane, P. (15:19 in 3rd).
ASE, Ovechkin, A. (06:26 in 1st), Staal, E. (09:30 in 1st), Kovalev, A. (16:34 in 1st), Markov, A. (19:23 in 1st), St. Louis, M. (01:21 in 2nd), Parise, Z. (02:11 in 2nd), Malkin, E. (07:45 in 2nd), Kovalev, A. (13:35 in 2nd), Heatley, D. (02:17 in 3rd), St. Louis, M. (13:19 in 3rd), Bouwmeester, J. (16:21 in 3rd), Kovalev, A. (00:00 in 2nd OT).
GOALIES:ASW, J. Giguere , R. Luongo , N. Backstrom. ASE, H. Lundqvist , C. Price , T. Thomas
East wins Shootout and takes All-Star Game '09, 12-11.
Shootout Results:
Western Conference goalie Roberto Luongo, of the Vancouver Canucks, talks with Eastern Conference goaltender Tim Thomas, of the Boston Bruins, following the NHL hockey All-Star Game in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
Luongo stops Lecavalier.
Thomas stops Doan.
Kovalev beats Luongo.
Thomas stops Nash.
Ovechkin scores. East Wins. Thomas with the victory. Two years straight!
0:00 - Shootout. Wow. Of all the luck for Tim.

53.0 - Another save by Thomas.

1:12 - Very tight...

2:35 - Getzlaf for hooking. You're kidding.

3:03 - Ovechkin stopped by Luongo.

3:39 - Save of the game by Thomas...split to his right to stop Iginla.

4:15 - There was a nice hit in front of Luongo.

5:00 - Start of Overtime.
Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins looks on from the bench during the 2009 NHL All-Star game at the Bell Centre on January 25, 2009 in Montreal, Canada.
0:00 - End of Regulation. Wow. OT!

27.0 - St. Louis stopped by Luongo.

1:12 - Thomas stops Brown.

2:19 - Thomas stops Boyle twice.

3:49 - Bouwmeester ties it back up at 11.

4:42 - Kane gets a homerun pass and beats Thomas. It's 11-10, West.

5:10 - Getzlaf stopped by Thomas (and help).

6:41 - St. Louis ties the game at 10. It's funny how things are getting a little tighter. Nobody likes to lose.

7:29 - This time Lecavalier is stopped by Luongo, who has been outstanding.

8:40 - Carter stopped by Luongo.

9:05 - Thomas stops Boyle.

9:20 - Thomas pounces on a chance by Getzlaf.

11:20 - Luongo with two nice saves...

12:18 - Thomas with a diving save on Marleau.

13:19 - Thomas with a butterfly save on Boyle. He holds on.

14:18 - The Canadiens fans are chanting, "Thomas, Thomas, Thomas."

16:20 - Kane stopped by Thomas.

17:28  - Toews beats Thomas, glove side, high. It's 10-9, West.

17:43  - Marc Savard passes to Heatley to tie the game.

18:17 - Tim stops Iginla (Marleau?).

19:18 - But Timmy couldn't stop Doan. It's 9-8, West.

19:35 - Dustin Brown is stopped by Thomas.

20:00 - Beginnning of the Third Period. Thomas vs. Montreal native Roberto Luongo.

The Bruins were all over Versus Top Ten Plays of the Season: Lucic's hit on Van Ryn was #10, a Thomas save was #6, and a Wheeler goal was #3.
Eastern Conference goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of the New York Rangers, is scored on by Western Conference's Milan Hejduk, of the Colorado Avalanche, during the second period of the NHL hockey All-Star game in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
0:00 - End of the Second. It's 8-8. As one of the writers in the press box just said, "It's Timmy's to win or lose."

Tim Thomas to Versus about meeting Johnny Bower on Saturday: "It was great. As i was getting into my late 20s and still hadn't gotten an opportunity, he was someone I really looked up to his story - hey, Johnny Bower did it, you can, too"

1:03 - Tkachuk shoots, Lundqvist saves.

1:28 - Lecavalier shot, glove side low. Backstrom with the save.

2:14 - Two beautiful saves by Lunvqvist.

3:10 - Iginla scores. Chara almost made the save on that. The score is tied, 8-8.

4:13 - Nice pass from Ovechkin to Savard. Backstrom says no.

5:17 - Kovalev hits the post to Backstrom's left.

6:24 - Kovalev made a nice defensive play, created his own breakaway and scored on a backhand, glove side high. 8-7, East. That was Alex's second.

7:15 - Parise had a nice shot on goal turned away by Backstrom, who has settled in.

8:59 - Backstrom stops Kovalchuk.

9:26 - Souray with his second. Lundqvist was beat glove side. We're tied.

10:58 - Hejduk put it under Lundqvist, low stick side. It's 7-6, East.

11:33 - Nash, backhand, top-shelf, glove side. It's 7-5, East.

12:17 - Malkin scores with shot with his stick between his legs. Gorgeous. Poor Backstrom.

12:39 - St. Louis hits the post...

13:06 - Bouwmeester shot on goal, Backstrom holds on.

14:46 - Boyle beats Lundqvist. The floodgates are open...It's 6-4, East.

16:31 - Souray scores to bring the West a step closer. He banked it off the post. Hejduk with the assist.

17:49 - Parise shot, got his own rebound and scored. It's 6-2, East.

18:39 - St. Louis rounds the back of the net and scored past Backstrom.

19:11 - Souray shot. Save Lundqvist.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. Lundqvist and Backstrom are in.
Western Conference's Keith Tkachuk, of the St. Louis Blues, scores on Eastern Conference goalie Carey Price, of the Montreal Canadiens, during the NHL hockey All-Star Game in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
0:00 - End of the First. It's 4-2, Eastern Conference. Savard has two assists.

11.5 - Marleau finds a hole in Price. It's 4-2, East.

37.0 - Markov scores. From Savard, who passed from behind the net to Ovechkin who dished to Markov. It's 4-1.

2:03 - Souray stopped by Price.

3:26 - Kovalev scored on a touchdown pass breakaway. Five hole shot through Giguere. East leads 3-1.

6:17 - Robidas hit the post behind Price. East leads in shots, 8-7.

9:15 - Savard spinarama for Markov, who pays homage to the Canadiens legend who was just introduced to the crowd.

9:25 - Komisarek shoots. Giguere save.

10:30 - Staal scores. It's 2-1, East. Helper to Bouwmeester.

11:08 - Iginla's first shot is tracked down by Price.

12:10 - Chara hears the boos when he grabs the puck...

13:34 - Ovechkin scores. Gorgeous pass by Savard on a tic-tac-toe play to the Russian sniper.

14:02 - Savard to Heatley, Heatley hit the side of the net.

14:43 - Price makes a save and holds on.

15:18 - Malkin with some nifty moves through the middle. Broken up before a shot...

16:56 - Robidas shoots and Price stops.

18:44 - Tkachuk scores. West 1-0. From Nash.

18:52 - Savard and Chara are on.

19:08 - Giguere with a nice save on Markov.

19:59 - The East won the draw.

20:00 - Start of the First Period: How about a story, Bruins? BTW: I am going to, obviously, try to concentrate on our B's...

Let's switch to time on the clock...

Eastern Starters:
Lecavalier, Kovalev, Komisarek, Malkin, Markov, Price
Western Starters:
Getzlaf, Toews, Niedermayer, Campbell, Kane, Giguere

6:13 p.m.
The lineups are being announced...

Coach Julien got more cheers than I expected. Tim Thomas got the usual mixed response. Chara got the boos, but also got quite a few cheers. Savard got boos, too.

Resounding applause, obviously for Price, Komisarek, Markov and Kovalev.

6:09 p.m.
Cirque Eloize performs before the NHL hockey All-Star Game in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
Cirque Eloize is performing the pregame show. Very impressive.

6:05 p.m.
Savard is centering Ovechkin and Heatley.

5:56 p.m.
A colleague of mine just passed by and looked at my flu-riddled face and red watery eyes and asked, "Are you having fun?"

I said, "How could I not?"

"That's right," said the journalist. "Who cares about the game -- it's a celebration."

It was the most appropriate phrase about the weekend I've heard.

No, the All-Star game is no longer a representation of the game as it is supposed to be played and frankly, I doubt that it ever was.

These days, the All-Star festivities are a good excuse to bring the best players in the world together, put them on one sheet of ice, and play a pickup game.

And that might be why All-Star games remain popular, long after many journalists have written them off solely as money making machines. That's because as little boys and girls, we've all been here.

Down on the corner or on the pond, choose up sides and have a friendly game.

That's what we've got here tonight, and I'm sure that every hockey fan, Bruins or otherwise, can find something to enjoy about this edition of the midwinter classic.

5:15 p.m.
Savard Shows Some Savvy
Montreal Canadiens players from left, goaltender Carey Price, forward Alexei Kovalev, defensemen Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek and Boston Bruin Marc Savard, stand on the blue line as players are introduced at the start of the NHL All-Star Superskills competition in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
Overshadowed a bit by the exploits of teammates Zdeno Chara and Blake Wheeler, Marc Savard put on quite a show of his own.

Savard finished second in the Elimination Shootout, bested only by Phoenix’s Shane Doan.

The Elimination Shootout featured 36 skaters and four goalies. Shooters that scored on their attempt move on to the next round, with each scoring attempt officiated in accordance with NHL shootout rules.

"I had a great time, obviously," he said. "Breakaways aren't usually my specialty, but I got a little lucky tonight, and Tim might have gave me one late.

"But it was all in fun, and I really enjoyed myself."

Savard also enjoyed watching the exploits of his fellow Bruins.

"Tim did great," said Savard of Thomas. "He battles on every puck, and he proved it again tonight.  He made some weird saves, let's put it that way."

"And I watched Wheels out there, and I was saying to the boys in the back room, he's got great hands and he did a great job.

"So congrats to him for getting the MVP. 

And Chara's big shot was spectacular.

"I think Zee wanted that more than anything," said Savard. "He'd been working out all day,
I [saw] him in the gym, and it's good for him to win that, especially with the money going to charity."

Looking towards this eveing's tilt, as of last evening, Savard did not know who his linemates would be.

"No, I don't know," he said. " It'll be posted [Sunday morning] probably. 

"It's going to be exciting."

4:21 p.m.
Big Wheels Keeps on Turnin'

Team Rookies Luke Schenn, right,, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, skates past as Team Rookies' Patrik Berglund, left , of the St. Louis Blues, and Blake Wheeler, of the Boston Bruins celebrate during the YoungStars game at the NHL All-Star weekend in Montreal, Saturday Jan. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
This time yesterday, there was probably a pretty good chance that Blake Wheeler was still lamenting certain bounces that didn't go his way earlier in the week.

Today, probably not so much.

Yesterday, the Bruins rookie was named the MVP of the YoungStars portion of the NHL SuperSkills Competition.

"That was awesome," said Wheeler of the experience.  "It was fun to be out there in front of all those people.  The best part of the experience was just seeing the atmosphere, the Montreal fans, and it was just a lot of fun to be a part of it."

As far as suiting up to play alongside young players from other orgainizations, Wheeler said it was not a difficult transition.

"I guess if you think about it, it's a little weird, but at the same time, you've done it a million times, playing with people you haven't really played with before," he said. "Everyone's playing with such great players, so that makes it pretty easy to throw the puck around,  and have fun."

There was the "occasional" boo heard from the audience, but again, to Wheeler, it was no big deal.

Actually, it was appreciated.

"It's a great thing to have that rivalry and hear the fans that are so passionate about that sport to share their feelings about the Bruins players," he said.  "It's a great thing for the sport, it's a great thing for our teams."

Wheeler and the sophomore goalie, the Montreal Canadiens Carey Price, almost collided and Blake summersaulted out of the way in order to save both players from injury.

"I thought I just fell," said Blake. "I just wanted to make sure I didn't slide into him, take him out or anything.  I guess that's just my great skating ability firsthand right there."

It looked as if Price and Wheeler had a laugh about the whole thing and that just added to the fun and the atmosphere.

"We're having a lot of fun on our bench," said Wheeler. "The guys were chirping, and we just wanted to make plays out there – that's what it's all about, making plays and doing things for the fans.

"It's what it's all about….showing the fans what everyone's capable of and just having a good time out there.  It was fun to see a couple guys getting bumps and just having a good time."

Even prior to the evening's on-ice activities, the Bruins, and the rest of the NHL All-Stars were given star "treatment."

"It was unbelievable," said Wheeler of the red carpet arrival. " It's like a Hollywood sort of event.

"And every time you score a goal, to hear the fans booing, it's pretty fun….If the game was in Boston, I'm sure we'd have the same reaction for Montreal."

Reminded that Marc Savard had scored the game-winner in last year's big game in Atlanta, and that Tim Thomas had gotten the win in goal, and that Zdeno Chara was the Hardest Shot champion, Wheeler just smiled.

"We show up at the right time, right?"

2:47 p.m.

Head coach Guy Carbonneau of the Montreal Canadiens and Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins speak with the press during the McDonalds/NHL All-Star open practice as part of the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend on Jaunary 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The NHL's big midseason show is tonight and the Bear Essentials will bring you the play-by-play on all of the happenings -- once they begin.

Nothing doing yet, though. The players and coaches and their guests have been enjoying some of the time they have to themselves in and around Montreal and there's little question that the city's famous nightlife was perused after last night's skills competition.

But yesterday, there was some serious talk from Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who talked about returning to the town where whe first cut his NHL coaching teeth.

"I think you've heard a lot of former coaches leave here and say this is the university of hockey," said Julien. "It really is, especially for a rookie coach coming in out of the American Hockey League.

"You're thrown right into the fire as far as the expectations here in Montreal, the media following here.

"It's amazing how much you grow just from being in a surrounding like this.  Hockey is their main sport here, so most of the attention is put on hockey," he said.

Julien spoke about the difference between Boston and Montreal in terms of single-minded media attention.

"In Boston, you realize there's competition with the Patriots and the Red Sox and everything else," continued Julien. "But this is an area here where a coach has a great opportunity to grow, and if I am a better coach today, it's probably because of where I started.

"I learned a lot here."

Julien was asked how special it was to re-enter the Montreal locker room again.

"It is, because it's the first time I walked back in this room since I left Montreal," he said. "It hasn't changed that much, but when you haven't been here for four or five years and you start looking around, it brings back memories; there's no doubt about that.

"You certainly turn the page, but when you come back, it doesn't mean you don't look back at the things that happened here."

But as far as giving any more rah, rah speeches in the Habs famous locker room, Julien said he may take a pass in deference to the current coach of the Canadiens -- Guy Carbonneau.

""He's very familiar with this dressing room," said  Julien. "I'll see if I can coax Guy to give it [tonight]."

Morning Update...
Oh, what a night!
Defenceman Zdeno Chara, of the Boston Bruins, takes a shot during the Hardest Shot contest at the NHL All-Star Superskills competition in Montreal on Saturday Jan. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Paul Chiasson)
Let’s face it. It’s pretty darn hard to have a bad time in Montreal on a Saturday evening. But last night, the Boston Bruins All-Star contingent made sure that all of New England (and some of Africa) had a pretty terrific evening, too.

Rookie forward Blake Wheeler won YoungStars MVP, veteran playmaker Marc Savard finished second in the Elimination Shootout and folk hero/goalie Tim Thomas came up with save after save as the B's cleaned up in the SuperSkills Competition.

But the biggest story was, literally, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who used every bit of his 6’9, 255-pound frame to win his third straight NHL Hardest Shot competition.

Thanks to a side bet with his fellow shooters, Chara also earned $24,000 for the charity Right to Play.

On Thursday, Chara issued a challenge to the five other competitors in this year’s Hardest Shot contest. Each contestant threw  $1,000 of their own money into a pot and it was determined that the winner of the contest will then donate the funds to the charity of their choice.

Additionally, each of the player's respective teams agreed to contribute an additional $1,000 apiece and the NHL and NHL Players Association also contributed $6,000 apiece, bringing the total ante to $24,000.

“Basically, I got involved by talking with my teammate Andrew Ference,” said Chara when asked how the challenge, and his involvement with Right to Play, came about. “He was involved with Right to Play the year before I joined.

“I really liked the idea of [going] to Africa, seeing different locations and how they tried to help families.”

Right To Play is an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

Working in both the humanitarian and development context, Right To Play trains local community leaders as Coaches to deliver its programs in countries affected by war, poverty, and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

The Bruins captain is a "do-er" in every sense of the word, and the mission of Right to Play motivated him to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this past summer. The climb raised awareness and money for Right to Play and allowed the Bruins defenseman to gather an appreciation for the charity’s good works.

“I really like to be involved,” he said. “I think it’s just a great charity program and I am really happy to be a part of it.”

The screen reads 105.4 MPH which was the speed of the record setting shot by Eastern Conference All-Star Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins in the Cisco Hardest Shot during the Honda NHL Superskills competition as part of the 2009 NHL All-Star weekend on January 24, 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
This time, being part of it meant that the Bruins captain Chara recorded a triple-digit shot of 105.4 MPH. That blast won the big blueliner his third straight NHL SuperSkills Hardest Shot Competition and put him in first place in the record book.

The previous Hardest Shot record was 105.2 MPH, held by former Boston Bruin Al Iafrate since 1993.

“Today is a very special day,” said Chara. “Hopefully we can spread this even farther in the future.

“I’m very, very thankful to all the players, their hockey clubs, the NHL and the NHLPA for donating money.

“Hopefully we can do this every year,” he said.

And why not?

Three years in a row is a pretty good start.
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