2006-07 SUPERSKILLS COMPETITION
By Josh Plummer
The Vancouver Canucks, in partnership with McDonald's hosted their annual Superskills competition on Sunday afternoon.
The event gave fans a chance to watch Canuck players in a fun atmosphere while they competed in six on-ice drills designed to showcase their skill and agility.
- Puck control
- Fastest skater
- Hardest shot
- Accuracy shooting
- Pass and score
- Breakaway relay
Team Blue showed their super skills by defeating Team White 12-10 in front of large, boisterous crowd of Canuck supporters at GM Place.
Most of the cheers were for Sami Salo
, who blasted a 100 MPH slapshot to help earn one of two points for Team White in the hardest shot competition.
An additional point was given for having the highest team average; an impressive 96.7 MPH. Josh Green clocked in at 98.6 to earn second spot and help bolster the average for Team White.
Luc Bourdon narrowly edged Jan Bulis in the fastest skater competition. Bourdon took the shortest route possible and finished a lap of the rink in 14.398 seconds, a sliver ahead of the 14.716 time posted by the speedy Bulis.
Defending champion Ryan Kesler
finished 4th at 14.827, while Kevin Bieksa
took 3rd place with a 14.790 finish.
Rory Fitzpatrick shattered four targets in only five shots to win the individual accuracy shooting event. Players received passes in the slot and were given 18 seconds to fire eight pucks at targets in the net.
Trevor Linden was a close second, needing seven shots to hit all four targets, but his Team White still earned the much needed point to keep the overall competition close.
Fitzpatrick's laser-like accuracy made host Dan Murphy wonder why he doesn't shoot more in games?
"I am shooting," smiled Fitzpatrick. "I'm just not scoring. Our defense sometimes gets a bad rap back there, but it's nice to beat the forwards today."
During the final two events, Roberto Luongo
stole the show for Team Blue.
He didn't allow one goal in the pass and score drill - a very impressive stat considering the drill leaves goaltenders flapping in the wind.
Three players have 30 seconds to go in alone, the only rules being they must make at least two passes and each player has to touch the puck.
Luongo stonewalled the trio of Kesler, Matt Cooke and Mattias Ohlund and then for an encore, he blanked Markus Naslund, Henrik Sedin
and Josh Green.
Alex Burrows and Daniel Sedin
didn't make things easy for Team White goaltender Dany Sabourin. The pair skated down the center of the ice in wedge formation while Tommi Santala skated behind them and fired a shot through the unfair screen to give Team Blue the point and draw laughter from the crowd.
"That's something we planned on doing against Dany," joked Burrows. "I don't think he knew what was going on."
The two teams were all tied up 6-6 heading into the final event, the breakaway relay.
Matt Cooke scored twice, and Ryan Kesler
and Josh Green were finally able to put pucks by Luongo for Team White, but Marc Chouinard, Rory Fitzpatrick, Taylor Pyatt, Lukas Krajicek and Tommi Santala each scored for Team Blue to give their squad an overall 12-10 victory.
Both Team Blue and White were joined by Lower Mainland minor hockey players who took part in the drills and earned points for their teams. At the end of the competitions, the teams met at center ice for a photograph and the coveted Ronald McDonald shoe was awarded to Team Blue.
Throughout the afternoon, fans were invited to have their faces painted, pose for pictures with team mascot Fin and even get up close to the Stanley Cup on display in the lower concourse.
Before the festivities came to a close, Alex Burrows and Luc Bourdon each took pies in the face when Kevin Bieksa
and Ryan Kesler
surprised the duo from behind, much to the delight of the joyous crowd.
The annual event has always been popular amongst fans and Sami Salo
took a moment to thank the crowd for their support.
"We'd like to thank minor hockey for all their efforts in raising money for their charities," said Salo. "We'd also like to thank the volunteers for their support of the Canucks for Kids Fund and the fans today for their continued support of the team."
Net proceeds of the event will go to Canucks for Kids Fund, Ronald McDonald House British Columbia and the NHLPA's Goals and Dreams Fund.