COLUMBUS – Carey Price and Jiri Sekac helped pace Team Foligno to a 25-19 win over Team Toews at the 2015 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Nationwide Arena on Saturday night.
Sekac wasted little time putting his terrific skill set on display, showcasing his speed early on in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater event. The Czech forward went up against Florida Panthers rookie Aaron Ekblad, and proceeded to claim the two-skater race in 13.863 seconds.
Despite winning the heat, Sekac admitted that the designated track didn’t necessarily fit his skating style.
“I didn’t like it, really. The turn is very sharp. Once you get some speed, it’s a little bit uncomfortable to make the turn. I would rather go the whole lap [of the ice] than do that. I usually get speed in the turn, so it was harder for me,” offered Sekac, who still soaked in everything he possibly could during the evening. “It was just a great experience for me. You just look at the guys sitting next to you on the bench. It was a big thing for me. I’m very happy.”
The 22-year-old also demonstrated just how quick his hands really are, making a valiant attempt to beat Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo during the Discover NHL Shootout. Unfortunately, Luongo came out on top this time around with a highlight-reel stop.
“It’s just me. It’s nothing else. Everybody else would put it in,” cracked Sekac, who came within inches of besting Luongo, only to see the 15-year NHL veteran make a sprawling save when it seemed like he was down and out. “I usually think about my moves a little bit, but I thought I would go to the backhand. I tried it and I get robbed. It was a great save.”
Like Sekac, Price also enjoyed the All-Star Skills Competition experience, applauding players on both teams for their efforts to entertain a packed house in downtown Columbus.
“I thought the guys were pretty creative during the breakaways. It’s kind of a hard thing to do. You have to really think outside the box, and I thought they did a really good job of it,” praised Price, who scored a pair of empty-net goals during the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay. “We’re just out here having a good time. There’s no pressure. You get to hang out with some guys that you don’t get to see very often. We all get along pretty well. Everyone’s pretty courteous. We all respect each other. It’s been a pretty good time.”
The highlight of the night, however, would undoubtedly have to be Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber’s 108.5 mph slap shot during the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event that garnered its fair share of applause.
“That’s kind of what I expected from him,” shared Price. “I get to see him workout in the summertime. He’s an animal in the gym.”
The Canadiens’ netminder will be back in action at the 2015 NHL All-Star Game which gets underway on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. EST.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
All-Star Skills Competition - Price and Sekac
Riding along with Carey Price
The Great Outdoors
Dreaming wide awake