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All-Star: Faulk Skates Through Skills Competition

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

LOS ANGELES - Just as soon as Justin Faulk was showcased in the 2017 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, his portion of the even was over.

But that's actually a good thing, because that means he didn't fall down and he didn't lose the puck as he deftly weaved around cone-like objects that resembled Gatorade bottles. Faulk's quick work of his leg combined with his teammates' performance helped the Metropolitan Division claim victory in the Skills Challenge Relay.

"Don't lose the puck. Don't fall down. Don't hit a cone. It's kind of hard to tell if you do well or not, but our team won the relay, so it couldn't have been too bad," Faulk said. "It was nice to get the event done early, and then you could just sit and relax and enjoy the rest of the competition."

Tweet from @NHLCanes: ��������� Didn't fall down��������� Didn't lose the puck��������� Success!@JustinFaulk27 and the Metropolitan Division with the early edge. #NHLAllStar

One of the highlights of the night came during the Four Line Challenge, a new event that replaced the Breakaway Challenge. In the Four Line Challenge, players took turns shooting from the blue lines, the red line and the far goal line. From his own crease, Mike Smith drained a full-ice shot in the five-hole slot, which appeared to be not much wider and taller than the puck itself, which gave his Pacific Division team the runaway win in the event. I would like to see the Breakaway Challenge return next season - it's one of the more unique Skills Competition events and allows for players to showcase their creativity and personalities - but that shot from Smith was something else. (And I'm not just saying that because we share names.)

Faulk singled out that shot and Ryan Kesler's kid, who came out in the Four Line Challenge and the Discover Shootout to shoot for his father. In the shootout, he skated in on Carey Price, took the quick shot and scored.

"It was pretty cool that Kes brought his kid out," Faulk sad. "He dangled Price pretty good and scored. He probably didn't let that happen, of course. He's too much of a professional and wouldn't just let anyone score on him."

Video: All-Star: Justin Faulk talks after Skills Competition

Some other observations from press row: Sidney Crosby is unreal. His performance in the Accuracy Shooting event was efficient and tremendous. Connor McDavid? He's fast, so very fast. He didn't best Dylan Larkin's one-lap record of 13.172, set last year in Nashville, but he's got some serious wheels.

Up next is Sunday's 3-on-3 NHL All-Star tournament. Faulk's preparation begins now.

"Grab dinner. Get a great night's sleep, probably 8-10 hours. Warm up in the gym tomorrow morning before I get on the ice. All those things that are attributed to being a professional hockey player. No days off," Faulk said with a wry wit. "Maybe some pre-scout. I'll see if Huffer can send me some clips."

The Atlantic Division won the Skills Competition and selected the Metropolitan Division as their opponent in the second semifinal of the 3-on-3 tournament. The winner will play in the final shortly after.

"I think we'll be all right," Faulk said. "We've got some good guys up front."

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