ST. LOUIS, MO - The Winnipeg Jets Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck stepped on the ice at Enterprise Center ahead of the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills event with some nerves but those feelings quickly changed to excitement.
"(The nerves went away) pretty quick. It was awesome being on the ice as it's a fun group of guys," said Scheifele.
"A lot of good people out here. It was a lot of fun. Doing the event was nerve wracking but other than that it was a lot of fun."
Video: ALL-STAR | Scheifele at Skills
The Jets All-Star duo each took part of one event. Friday was Hellebuyck's second opportunity in the Bud Light NHL Save Streak challenge after posting a streak of three saves back in Tampa Bay at the 2018 NHL Skills event. The other goaltenders included David Rittich (CGY), Jacob Markstrom (VAN), Andrei Vasilevsky (TB), Frederick Andersen (TOR), Jacob Markstrom (VAN), Braden Holtby (WAS) and Jordan Binnington (STL).
"You just have to take in that atmosphere and how much fun we're having," said Hellebuyck.
"In a moment like this you never know how many of them you're going to get so you just have to enjoy every second of it."
Video: ALL-STAR | Hellebuyck at Skills
The Michigan product started things off with three consecutive saves on Mark Giordano, Anze Kopitar and Matthew Tkachuk before allowing a goal to Leon Draisaitl. Hellebuyck then posted four consecutive saves before closing out his turn getting beat by Connor McDavid. The Blues Binnington was the last goalie to go and ended up taking the event by making 10 straight saves which was followed by a thunderous applause from the hometown crowd.
"I liked it (his performance). Those Edmonton guys (McDavid and Draisaitl)," laughed Hellebuyck.
"I think they're a little mad I shut them out earlier in the year (a 1-0 shootout win at Bell MTS Place on October 20th)."
As for Scheifele, it was his first crack at the Accuracy Shooting event. Last year in San Jose he was featured in the puck control relay - an event that was eliminated for the 2020 edition of the skills competition. Jets captain Blake Wheeler was in the Accuracy Shooting event last year, posting time of 18.585 seconds - good for fifth place.
Scheifele's group included Tyler Bertuzzi (DET), Nico Hischier (NJ), Tomas Hertl (SJ), Leon Draisaitl (EDM), Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA), Jacob Slavin (CAR) and Alex Pieterangelo (STL). The Jets star forward went first and said he would have rather gone later.
"Not first or last. You know, it is what it is. You can't change it now," smiled Scheifele.
"It was definitely a different experience but it was a lot of fun."
Scheifele ended up taking out the five targets (including the five hole) in a time of 15.160 seconds and finished sixth. The Hurricanes Slavin took the event with a time of 9.505 seconds, the NHL used new technology with mixed reviews from the players.
"You know we were all talking about it after the fact. We like the memory of you know hearing the sound of the Styrofoam get broken up when you hit it," said Scheifele.
"So I think we'd rather the Styrofoam it would have been cooler but it's cool to see the technology."
The Jets held their skills competition back in late November and a couple of category winners had better times then the champions in St. Louis tonight. Mat Barzal of the Islanders took the Fastest Skater title with a time of 13.175 seconds ending McDavid's four year reign. Nikolaj Ehlers posted a time of 13.03 seconds at Bell MTS Place.
Mathieu Perreault was on fire in the accuracy shooting part of the night taking out four targets in an incredible time of 7.8 seconds.