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All-Star Skills Blog

Sights, sounds from behind benches at SAP Center in San Jose

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2019 Honda NHL-All Star Game live blog. The action on the ice at the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend gets underway with the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills from SAP Center in San Jose. NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen is behind the benches to provide the sights, sounds, stories and color from all four divisions. Follow all the happenings here.

 

[RELATED: Complete All-Star Skills results]

 

And in the end, the all-stars delivered and the Skills was a smash hit in front of 16,722 fans inside SAP Center.

Five teams were represented among the six winners, with the Edmonton Oilers the only team that doubled up because Connor McDavid won the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater with a time of 13.378 and Leon Draisaitl won the Enterprise NHL Premier Passer at 1:09.088.

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist took the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak with 12 consecutive saves, falling two short of Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's 14 from last year.

"Facing the best players in the world, that's what makes it special to play in this League and that's what makes it very special to be here this weekend," Lundqvist said. "To get that opportunity to challenge yourself against them, especially one-on-one but also [Saturday]in the 3-on-3, it will be interesting."

The Gatorade NHL Puck Control was won by Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau in a time of 27.045 seconds. 

Another Washington Capitals player won the SAP NHL Hardest Shot, but defenseman John Carlson has bragging rights on captain Alex Ovechkin because his winning shot of 102.8 miles per hour was 1.5 mph better than Ovechkin's winning shot last season (101.3).

Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak won the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting, hitting the five targets in 11.309 seconds. 

However, the fans here treated Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews as the real winner because prior to competing in the event he ripped off his own All-Star Game jersey to reveal a Patrick Marleau Maple Leafs' All-Star jersey. It was greeted with a massive roar from the crowd.

Marleau isn't participating at All-Star Weekend this season, but he did three times (2004, 2007, 2009) during his 19 seasons with the Sharks from 1997-2017.

"It was amazing," Matthews said of the crowd's reaction. "I wasn't expecting that. I think that's just a testament to how much of a legend he really is here. It's pretty amazing."

 

11:52 p.m. ET

Nathan Pavelski has his favorite players. His dad Joe, the San Jose Sharks captain, is one of them, but he represented for another in the second half of the Skills.

Nathan, 8, wore a Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers All-Star Game jersey that was signed by a number of the players. 

"He likes watching him," Joe Pavelski said. "He needs a favorite player. How do you tell him no, right? He likes Patty Kane and Pekka Rinne too."

McDavid noticed it right away. He was flattered. 

"It's really cool," he said. "Obviously his dad is his idol, but he obviously likes me as a player. Really cool."

Nathan was at least wearing the Sharks' regular socks, just like his dad.

 

11:49 p.m. ET

David Pastrnak won the final event of the night, taking the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting with a time of 11.309. Joe Pavelski of the host San Jose Sharks went last and had a chance to thrill the hometown fans, but finished with a 14.423.

Video: Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting Recap

 

11:39 p.m. ET 

We had a side bet on the Eastern Conference's bench for the Hardest Shot. 

Jack Eichel took Brent Burns. 

"He scores 30 a year as a defenseman," Eichel, the Buffalo Sabres said about the San Jose Sharks defenseman.  

Nikita Kucherov took his Tampa Bay Lighting teammate Steven Stamkos. 

"Why not?" Kucherov said. "He's my guy."

They both lost. 

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson won it with a shot of 102.8 miles per hour. 

"I knew he could shoot it like that," Eichel said. "He brings it in a game like that. I'm not surprised he won, but I had Burnsie."

What could he have won?

"No money," Eichel said. "Just fun."

 

11:38 p.m. ET 

The Washington Capitals have repeated - as winners of the SAP NHL Hardest Shot

Defenseman John Carlson won the event with a shot of 102.8 miles per hour. Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks finished second with a shot of 100.7. He missed the net on his first shot. 

Carlson's teammate, Alex Ovechkin, won the event last season with a shot of 101.3. Ovechkin was voted captain of the Metropolitan Division this year, but skipped All-Star Weekend.

Video: SAP NHL Hardest Shot Recap

 

11:28 p.m. ET

Keith Yandle was nervous until he saw Erik Karlsson struggle through the Enterprise NHL Premier Passer competition and finish with a time of 1:58.824. 

"Best D-man in the world fought through it," said Yandle, the Florida Panthers defenseman. "No pressure now."

Yandle, who went last, was better by about 24 seconds, finishing with a time of 1:34.611. 

And his response to the event?

"Nerve-wracking" he said. 

Seriously?

"Yes," he said. "You miss that first one and it's all in your head. I'd actually like to go again."

Not happening. But he beat Karlsson, the Sharks defenseman, so isn't that good enough?

"Something I'll tell the kids," he said. "I'm just glad I don't have to do hardest shot."

Out of curiosity, what would he shoot?

"Ha, about 74," he said. 

 

11:20 p.m. ET

The Edmonton Oilers have their second winner of the night. 

Forward Leon Draisaitl won the Enterprise NHL Premier Passer, finishing the course in 1:09.088, ahead of Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho, who had a time of 1:18.530. 

In the first event of the night, Draisaitl's Oilers teammate Connor McDavid won the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater event.

Tweet from @NHL: Just call Leon Draisaitl "The Dish Master." #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/ukCLWsxkSu

 

11 p.m. ET 

Everywhere Erik Karlsson goes during this event, it seems like Elias Pettersson is on his hip, following him around like a kid would his dad. 

Karlsson said it's kind of like that. He loves it too.

"I'm one of those guys now," the 28-year-old San Jose Sharks defenseman said. "It goes in circles, especially in Sweden. Great camaraderie."

Karlsson and Pettersson just met each other for the first time at Media Day on Thursday. But Karlsson said he knows why the 20-year-old rookie forward from the Vancouver Canucks is following him around. 

"We're Swedish," he said. "We love each other."

That and the fact that Karlsson knows how Pettersson is feeling. 

"It's understandable, he's nervous," Karlsson said. "I remember my first time doing this too."

Pettersson, who took a picture at center ice with Karlsson and fellow Swedes Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche, also mentioned the countryman angle. 

"It's a Swede, just comfortable," he said. "I'm comfortable with every Swede. He's a great guy."

Has he picked up anything from Karlsson in the day and a half he's known him?

"Not yet," he said. "I haven't known him that long. I have to get back to you on that."

Karlsson has learned a bit about Pettersson.

"I know a lot of the Canucks guys and they tell me what a great kid he is," Karlsson said. "He is."

 

10:44 p.m. ET

For the first time in the 2019 All-Star Skills, we do not have a repeat winner. 

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers won the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak with a total of 12, five more than last year's winner Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights. Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning finished second with eight.

Vasilevskiy's teammate Steven Stamkos had a chance to finish Lundqvist's streak at seven, but Lundqvist stopped him and made four more saves to ice the victory.

Video: Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak Recap

 

10:14 p.m. ET 

Patrick Kane was rooting for Johnny Gaudreau to lose the puck in the Gatorade NHL Puck Control

"Oh yeah, I'm over there hoping he messes up," Kane said. "He's too good to mess up"

Gaudreau, who finished with a time of 27.045, didn't. He beat Kane (28.611) to win the event. Kane was impressed. 

"He's unreal," Kane said. "So good. Just naturally gifted. Not big. A good skater."

Yeah, sort of like Kane. But better tonight. 

"I felt there was someone out there that would beat me," Kane said. "I messed up on the first stickhanding part and it probably cost me a second."

It's all Gaudreau needed. 

"Too silky," Kane said of the winner. 

Video: Gatorade NHL Puck Control Recap

 

10:08 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty provided running commentary from the bench during the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater event. He was talking to Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller, Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele the entire time. 

"I love chatting up the guys," Doughty said. "It's the best part about the event. Some guys I hate on the ice, you come here and realize how down to earth all the hockey guys are."

One of Doughty's best lines was when he referred to Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel as Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback. 

"It's the hair," Doughty said. 

"Just look at him from the side, it looks exactly like him," Doughty said. 

Doughty noticed that USA women's star Kendall Coyne, who was in the event in place of injured Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, beat Keller's time. 

"She beat him," Doughty screamed. "She would have beat me too."

He added later, "We were all impressed with her skating stride."

He also sat next to Draisaitl on purpose when his Oilers teammate Connor McDavid skated.  

"I'm looking for Connor's weaknesses," he said of the eventual winner. "I'm picking Draisaitl's brain about him."

Tweet from @NHL: He might be a 3x champ, but @dewyy8 has @cmcdavid97's number. #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/Uz7EpJDMW3

 

10 p.m. ET 

He's done it again. 

For the third straight year, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid has won the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater. The 22-year-old center finished with a time of 13.378, barely defeating Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, who completed the lap around the rink in 13.582. 

McDavid is the first three-time winner of the fastest skater event.

Video: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater Recap

U.S. women's Olympic team member Kendall Coyne, filling in for injured Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, finished seventh 14.346.

Video: Gritty, S.J. Sharkie show off speed to kick off night

 

9:46 p.m. ET

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon stood on the bench, jersey on over his dress shirt, and was the first player from the Central Division introduced to the crowd. 

It was, shall we say, a little strange for MacKinnon, who isn't participating because of a bruise on his left foot he sustained Wednesday. 

"Not great," MacKinnon said as he stood on the bench. "I feel like a coach right now. I don't like it. I don't want to be a coach."

MacKinnon was trying to keep his perspective. 

"I'm still having a good time," he said. "There is a lot of standing around in the Skills competition anyway. Usually I skate a lap and I'm done. I'm just missing the lap."

 

9:20 p.m. ET

Kids love the Skills for the entertainment and getting a chance to see their favorite players do extraordinary things.

Now imagine getting a chance to be a part of it, on the ice and on the bench.

That's what Jagger Burns, Nathan Pavelski and Louie Wheeler are getting to experience now. 

Their dads, Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets, brought them to the ice for the All-Star Skills. Jagger and Nathan even skated in warmups with go pro cameras on their helmets. Nathan wore a jersey with his dad's number eight and Lil Pav's written on the back. 

"We just did it," Pavelski said. "It's great."

Tweet from @drosennhl: Marc-Andre Fleury defending Nathan Pavelski, and Blake and Louie Wheeler. pic.twitter.com/KQcIlLnR7d

"It's so cool, awesome," Wheeler said. "It's what it's all about because he's old enough now and understands it, knows all the players and gets fired up about it."

Tweet from @NHL: According to @Mackinnon9, @GabeLandeskog92 might be in some hot water with the @Gatorade NHL Puck Control. 😂 pic.twitter.com/cNbWApMx4o

 

9:05 p.m. ET

Kevin Bieksa calls himself a young 37, and the former defenseman for the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks isn't even officially retired yet, but he's here and on the bench in a working capacity as a sideline reporter for Sportsnet. 

Bieksa, who recently played for Canada in the 2018 Spengler Cup, said he's not sure if he wants to get into broadcasting full time, but All-Star weekend is a perfect starting point for him because it's light and he can have fun with the guys he used to play with and against. 

"It's fresh and it's a new experience, but it doesn't feel that foreign," Bieksa said. "It's normal for me to be on the bench. It's a casual first event. It doesn't feel that different. It's organic."

Bieksa said he has his targets for interviews already and he plans on chirping a lot of guys here. 

Yes, Ducks goalie John Gibson is one of them. 

"I'm a player," he said. "I'm not a journalist and I won't try to be something I'm not."

Tweet from @NHL: She's ready to go! @KendallCoyne is eyeing that fastest skater title. #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/lymz0kWWc2

 

8:40 p.m. ET 

We are about 25 minutes away from the start of the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Skills.

SAP Center is filling up. They're playing interviews from the red carpet outside the arena. When they're not, the music is blaring. 

The broadcasters have all taken their places on the bench. The nets are set on each end. The ice is fresh, clean. The buzz is palpable.

Stay with us throughout the event as we bring you onto the bench with us. 

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