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What To Expect At The NHL Skills Competition

A rundown of what events will be contested during this weekend's NHL Skills Competition.

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

When the NHL's All-Stars convene this weekend in Los Angeles, it won't be to simply play a regular All-Star Game by typical All-Star rules and regulations.

As has become custom, the weekend of the NHL All-Star Game features a myriad of events and contests, aimed to celebrate hockey's top players.

The All-Star Game itself, played under a 3-on-3 format, will be this Sunday at 12:30 PST (NBC). The night before will be the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Stars Skills Competition, a league tradition dating back to 1990's All-Star festivities in Pittsburgh. The Skills Competition, for those who've never witnessed it, is almost exactly what its name implies: a contest of individual skills, outside of the format of traditional hockey games.

Where Major League Baseball similarly has its All-Star Home Run Derby and the NBA its Slam Dunk Contest, the NHL's Skills Competition measures individual skills that are related to hockey's overall gameplay.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

RELATED: Get tickets to see the Golden Knights

 

Fastest Skater and Hardest Shot, among others, are annual staples that have been part of the Skills Competition since its inception.

Newer features such as the Four Line Challenge are a more recent invention, designed to keep the Skills Competition fresh and interesting.

Here's a primer on what contests to expect during this Saturday's Skills Competition, which airs Saturday at 4:00 PST on NBCSN. Which although designed as part of a greater competition between the four All-Star teams (All-Star teams represent their division), it often involves into 1-on-1 contests between the league's best.

 

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting

 

A total of eight players will participate - two representing each division. In this contest, four 15-inch targets are places in each corner of the net. Players, receiving passes from two teammates, have to hit as many targets as possible as quickly as possible.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque has long been considered the standard bearer in this contest, although Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin holds the record with four targets hit in 7.3 seconds.

RELATED: Accuracy Shooting: 3 Top Moments

In this competition, two players from each team will face each other 1-on-1. Whoever fares better earns his team a point.

The player who hits four targets in the fastest time also earns his team a point, and a point is available if anyone breaks Sedin's all-time record.

Participants

Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres)
John Tavares (New York Islanders)
Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets)
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)

 

Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot

 

This one is as simple as it sounds. Players line up, gather a full head of steam and uncork the hardest slap shots that they can.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

For many years, this contest was dominated by the Als, Iafrate and MacInnis, who'd regularly breach the 100 mph mark (with wooden sticks)

RELATED: Top Hardest Shot moments

In later years, as stick technology and athletes have evolved, shot power has gotten even higher.

Participants

Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Shea Weber (Montreal Canadiens)
Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets)
Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)
P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators)
Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings)

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

Similar as accuracy shooting, two players from different teams go 1-on-1, with whoever shoots harder earning his team a point.

A point is also available to the team of whichever players has the hardest shot overall, or if anyone breaks Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara's all-time record of 108.8 mph.

 

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

 

Player line up and see who can skate around the rink faster.

RELATED: Fastest Skater: Top 3 Moments

Doesn't get any simpler than that.

 

 Watch: Youtube Video

 

The all-time record holder for this competition is Dylan Larkin, with a time of 12.894 seconds.

Any skaters this Saturday who beat Larkin's time will earn their team a point. Points will also be awarded to players who win head-to-head, 1-on-1 races, as well as to whichever team the player with the fastest overall time is on.

Participants

Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)
Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)
Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues)
Bo Horvat (Vancouver Canucks)
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

 

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay

 

Like the fastest skater, this competition is also a race. However, it's a little more complicated than that.

This contest is more of a relay race. It has four relays with five challenges each: One-timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving onto the next one.

The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time earns a bonus point.

It might be easier to follow by watching it.

 

Watch: Youtube Video


Central Division vs. Pacific Division

One-Timers: Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) vs. Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks), Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)

Passing: Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) vs. Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings)

Puck Control: Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) vs. Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks)

Stick-Handling: Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) vs. Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames)

Goalie Goals: Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) vs. Mike Smith (Arizona Coyotes)


Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division


One-Timers: Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers), Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres) vs. Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)

Passing: Frans Nielsen (Detroit Red WIngs) vs. John Tavares (New York Islanders)

Puck Control: Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins) vs. Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes)

Stick-Handling: Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs) vs. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Goalie Goals: Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) vs. Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals)

 
Honda NHL Four Line Challenge

 

This will be the first year for this competition, in which each team gets four shooters. Each shooter takes shots from the blue line, center line, far blue line and far goal line.

Successful shots score one point for their team, although point totals for successful shots may increase as the competition transpires.

The team with the most points at the end of the event scores one point in the overall competition.

 

Tweet from @NHL: Here is how the skill will work: pic.twitter.com/eF83DKKSSa

 

The other aspect of this compeition that is unique is that fans can vote for which players participate.

 

Tweet from @NHL: YOU decide who has a guaranteed spot in the @Honda NHL Four Line Challenge. Vote now with these hashtags���������#NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/OajYndwhGF


Shooter 1

Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)

Shooter 2

Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers), Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars), Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)

Shooter 3

Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers), Taylor Hall (New Jersey Devils), P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators), Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks)

Shooter 4

Shea Weber (Montreal Canadiens), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche), Bo Horvat (Vancouver Canucks)

 

Discover NHL Shootout

 

Only two of the four All-Star teams participate in this, the final competition - the higher scoring Eastern Conference (Atlantic or Metropolitan) and Western Conference (Pacific or Central) team.

Nine skaters and two goaltenders from each team participate, taking shots in shootout format. And with the special "Discover Puck" in play, extra points can be earned for scoring goals with the custom puck.

As it plays out, it's kind of controlled chaos.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

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