DALLAS - Sheldon Souray may have lost his crown as the NHL's slapshot king to Zdeno Chara at last night's NHL SuperSkills competition, but his rival had actually wagered on a Souray triumph.
The Canadiens' power-play king was dethroned in the hardest shot competition, his 100 mile-an-hour blast topped by the 100.4 m.p.h. shot of Boston Bruins defenseman Chara. Souray had in fact predicted Chara might win last week.
'I could have been better tonight but I also think he could have been better, too,' said Souray, who shared the title at the 2004 all-star game with Adrian Aucoin at 102.2 m.p.h. 'I thought we'd both shoot harder tonight.'
Chara downplayed his win.
'My money was on Shelly,' said Chara. 'I got lucky.'
Chara still has his work cut out for him in the second half the season if he hopes to catch Souray, who leads all NHL blueliners with 16 goals, doubling up Chara's eight goals so far this year.
In his NHL All-Star baptism by fire, Cristobal Huet took part in the first round of the shootouts and the "In the Zone" competition. The Canadiens' netminder made his mark with stops on four-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom and San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau. Huet flexed some muscle by stoning former Rocket Richard Trophy winner and two-time all-star Rick Nash, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski and former Hab Yanic Perreault.
In the end, the East topped the West 15-11 in the SuperSkills contest, snapping a string of four straight victories for the West.
Souray and Huet will also look to lead the Eastern Conference to a victory tonight at the 55th annual All-Star Game. The East has come out on top in five of the last six All-Star games. Souray will be in the starting lineup, while Huet will guard the crease in the second or third period.
The puck drops in Dallas at 8 PM EST.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com. With files from CP.