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Feeling the need for speed

by Bob Condor
MONTREAL -- To fracture the phrase, the speed is in the skate details. That's the secret for the winner of the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition that is part of Saturday night's Honda/NHL SuperSkills (Versus, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio, XM Radio, 7 p.m. ET)

Those details would be the brand and model, how often they are sharpened, when to break in a new pair of skates (hint: not before Fastest Skater), that sort of thing. But none of the Honda SuperSkills competitors will be contemplating skate features during their one timed lap.

"There's not too much thinking involved in it since you're just skating a lap," said Jay Bouwmeester, the Florida Panthers All-Star and Fastest Skater competitor. "So I'll just skate hard."

Bouwmeester will be flying in Bauer Viper 30s, a brand he has long worn.

"I like the higher skate," he explained.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman and All-Star Brian Campbell skates on an older Bauer model, the 190s.

"I like that they're not as stiff as others," said Campbell, one of the four Fastest Skaters slated for Saturday. "Some of the new skates are too stiff. I use a different lace cut -- it's gradual compared to the straight -- up ones on new skates."

Campbell said he goes through four pairs of skates each season, while fellow All-Star and Fastest Skater competitor Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers said he is still wearing his pair this season. Carter is looking forward to the Fastest Skater lap and prides himself on his skating ability -- despite a less than auspicious start as a young player.

"Growing up, I definitely went through that awkward period where I felt a little like Bambi out there," said Carter. "Once I got older and stronger, I stabilized.
"I think a lot comes to me naturally. I was always a big kid with long legs and that definitely helped out with my stride. I never went to any skating school."

In contrast, the New Jersey Devils All-Star Zach Parise seeks out his skating instructor every summer in Minnesota.

"I go see her every summer and she teaches me something new every time," said Parise, a first -- time All-Star. "Personally, I don't think you can ever be a good enough skater or a good enough player."

"I never considered myself a particularly strong skater so I've worked a lot on quickness and my ability to get quicker. I didn't ever look at myself as one of the fastest skaters in the league. I'm a little nervous about [the Fastest Skater competition]. So we'll see."


  • Bauer Viper 30s
  • I usually have them done before every game and as needed I guess.
  • I try and use just two. Don't like breaking in new skates.
  • Nope.
  • Bauer 190 -- it's an older skate.
  • I don't know, I think before every game.
  • Four per year.
  • Yes -- a lot.
  • Bauer 195s.
  • Every day -- definitely before every game.
  • Depends, last year five pairs; this year, I'm still on my first.
  • No.
  • CCM Vectors.
  • Before every game, not for practices.
  • 8-10.
  • Yes.

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