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Skills Competition

All-Star Skills Blog

Sights, sounds from behind benches at Enterprise Center in St. Louis

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills presented by New Amsterdam Vodka. The Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars and the Elite Women's 3-on-3 presented by adidas are two new events this year, while the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, the Bud Light NHL Save Streak, Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting and the Enterprise NHL Hardest Shot return.

NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen is behind the benches and NHL.com Editor-in-Chief Bill Price is high atop Enterprise Center in St. Louis to provide the sights, sounds, stories, color and all the action. Follow all the happenings here.

 

[RELATED: 2020 NHL All-Star Skills complete results]

 

11:00 p.m. ET

The final event of the night goes to OT with Patrick Kane, Mitchell Marner and Ryan O'Reilly needing an extra round to decide the Shooting Stars. They each finished the first round with 22 points.

Marner went first and missed. Kane, who was booed all night, went second and got 2 points and O'Reilly missed, Making Kane the winner.

The crowd is not happy, but Kane is.

What a night in St. Louis.

Video: Shooting Stars: Kane needs tiebreaker to edge Marner

 

10:45 pm ET

Al MacInnis isn't quite sure if he really shot it 100.4 mph with his wooden stick, but that's what the clock read so that's what's going down as official.

And the 56 year old Hall of Famer will take it.

"It's like riding a bike, you just don't forget, right," he said.

MacInnis was blown away by Weber's shot.

"He has a heavy shot," MacInnis said. "Not only does it have tremendous velocity, but it's heavy and it looks like it hurts when it hits you."

Video: Hardest Shot: MacInnis blasts 100 MPH slap shot

 

10:40 p.m. ET

Shea Weber said the second one felt good. He didn't know what range he's be in, but it felt like it could be the winner. 

"It definitely felt harder," Weber said. 

He certainly took notice when Carlson shot it 104.5

"Oh for sure," Weber said. "Even (Elias) Pettersson steps up and rips it (102.4). These guys were shooting hard. I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss the net on the first one. You only get two."

Weber, typically humble, said it does feel good to know he has the hardest shot. 

"As long as Z doesn't come back," he said, referring to Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who owns the record in the competition at 108.8 mph.

Video: Hardest Shot: Weber blisters 106.5 MPH shot for win

 

10:35 p.m. ET

Now it's time for the Gatorade Shooting Stars. In case you haven't heard, players will be shooting pucks from a platform inside the arena and at targets on the ice. Should be fun.

 

10:33 p.m. ET

Shea Weber has done it again, winning the Hardest Shot with a second shot of 106.5 miles per hour, defeating John Carlson of the Capitals, who had a shot of 104.5.

 

10:30 p.m. ET

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has his pick for the hardest shot competition. It's not the defending champ, his teammate. 

"I want to stick with John (Carlson), but ..." Holtby said as he pointed at Shea Weber. 

"If Webs breaks two sticks that's fine."

Holtby said he had heard a lot about Weber's shot before facing it. And when he did?

"It hit me right in the gut and I had the squares from my pad indented into my belly," Holtby said. "It's heavy."

 

10:25 p.m. ET

We are about to start the Hardest Shot, but before we do, Al MacInnis is on the ice and just ripped one at 100.4 miles per hour, according to the clock at the arena.

All eyes on Shea Weber to see if he can win this for the fourth time.

 

10:10 p.m. ET

The buzz down by the benches, down the tunnels, was palpable. All eyes were fixated either on the ice or on the scoreboard if we couldn't see the ice.

Everyone on the benches when the NHL stars are on the ice had to clear out when the women's game started. No one went far because everyone wanted to see what was about to unfold.

And the fans were into it, chanting "USA, USA, USA." The roar and groan when Amanda Kessel couldn't quite connect on her last second one-timer was loud.

After it was done, down the tunnel from the ice, Hilary Knight went to Cammi Granato and they had a quick chat.

"I think we may have finally relaxed at the end of the second," Knight said to Granato.

All the women came off the ice at once and they're sharing a locker room. As they came off the ice they were all saying, "Great job, ladies."

Sportsmanship at its finest.

 

10:07 p.m. ET

It's all over in St. Louis. Canada hangs on for a thrilling 2-1 in win against the United States in the Women's Elite 3-on-3. The United States took 19 shots on goal, but couldn't get the tying goal past Ann-Renée Desbiens. Both teams each saluted the crowd with their sticks before leaving the ice.

Next up, Hardest Shot.

Video: Elite Women's 3-on-3: Daoust leads Canada past USA

 

10:05 p.m. ET

The U.S. is on the board, making it a 2-1 game with 5:36 left on a breakaway by Hilary Knight. We've got a game and the U.S.-backed crowd here in St. Louis is totally into this.

Video: CAN@USA: Knight pots slick backhander on breakaway

 

10:00 p.m. ET

Canada has taken a 2-0 lead with 7:34 left in the second period on a goal by Mélodie Daoust. The US is peppering the Canada net but can't get one in.

Video: CAN@USA: Daoust wires home wrist shot on the rush

 

9:55 p.m. ET

It's 1-0 Canada after 10 minutes. The United States had 10 shots on goal and Canada had nine, but the goalies -- Ann-Renee Deseiens for Canada and Alex Rigsby Cavallini for the United States -- are stealing the show.

Video: CAN@USA: Johnston scores opening goal on breakaway

 

9:50 p.m. ET

The goalies are stealing the show in the first period of the women's 3-on-3. It's still 1-0 Canada with 1:40 left in the first period.

 

9:45 p.m. ET

The crowd is fired up early here in the women's 3-on-3, chanting "USA, USA," but it's Canada with the first goal by Rebecca Johnston.

It's 1-0 Canada early in the first of two 10-minute periods.

 

9:40 p.m. ET

Blues Hall of Famer Bernie Federko was a surprise guest in the accuracy shooting, brought on the ice to pass the puck to St. Louis captain Alex Pietrangelo.

He received a huge ovation.

"It blows me away," Federko said the crowd reaction to him, showing how beloved he still is in St. Louis, now nearly 43 years after he arrived here. "I'm on TV so I'm recognizable, but it's so heartwarming to get that ovation. It really just does blow me away."

Federko used Ryan O'Reilly's stick to make three passes to Pietrangelo.

"The first one worried me, I missed it and it still had enough speed to get to him," Federko said. "The last two were good, but O'Reilly has this weird thing on the toe of his stick and I wasn't used to it."

It didn't matter. The ovation did.

"Very special," he said. "I was honored when they asked me to come on the ice a few days ago. St. Louis has been great to me."

 

9:35 p.m.

Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes is the winner of the Accuracy Shooting event. Slavin finished with a score of 9.505, defeating Leon Drasaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, who had a score of 10.257.

There were no masks of any pop stars used in the event.

We are three events in and now it's time for Elite Women's 3-on-3 between the United States and Canada. It's 3-on-3 for 20 minutes. Should be really cool.

Video: Accuracy Shooting: Slavin wins with superb shooting

 

9:20 p.m. ET

Tomas Hertl said the idea to wear the mask, hatched between the NHL and him, happened when he arrived in St. Louis. 

Even Bieber knew it was happening too. 

"It's a lot of fun and great for hockey when a guy like Justin Bieber is getting involved," Hertl said. "Everybody loved it and I can say I was Justin Bieber for a few seconds."

Binnington said this does not quite fill the challenge of taking on Bieber in a shootout. 

"But that was a pretty funny skit and it kind of motivated me seeing that face coming down on me," Binnington said. "I had to step it up and know what's on the line. That's good preparation."

He also thanked the left post for making the save on Leon Draisaitl that was the difference in winning the save streak competition. 

"Yeah, hit that far post," the goalie said. "We're gonna take that and run."

Video: Hertl wears Bieber mask in Save Streak competition

 

9:15 p.m. ET

The home crowd is really pumped now after Blues goalie Jordan Binnington won the Bud Light NHL Save Streak, by making 10 saves in a row.

The last save came when Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl hit the post.

One of his saves came Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who was wearing a Justin Bieber mask. If you recall, Bieber challenged Binnington to a shootout competition at some point this season. It hasn't happened yet, so this was the closest thing.

Anyway, we are two events in and we've had a huge upset and a hometown player winning an event.

Next up is Accuracy Shooting.

Video: Save Streak: Binnington stops 10 straight for victory

 

9:00 p.m. ET 

Connor Hellebuyck had four saves in a row in the save streak competition and Connor McDavid coming down on him. 

The Winnipeg Jets goalie couldn't stop him. McDavid started wide left, cut in, deked and roofed the puck into the top left corner. 

Hellebuyck came back to the Western Conference bench and had words for McDavid. 

"You couldn't have waited one more time to do that," he said, smiling. "Come on, I wanted that."

Streak ended at four. Not enough.

 

8:50 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar also has his kids on the bench for the skills competition. 

"It's awesome," Kopitar said. "It's the first time they've gotten to come."

Neza, his daughter, is 5. Jakob, his son, is 3. They're not star struck yet. 

"Our guys in L.A. they know well, but these guys here they haven't figured out yet," Kopitar said. 

He doesn't care. He's just thrilled to have them with him. 

"It's the best," he said. "Hopefully someday they'll realize how cool this is."

 

8:45 p.m. ET

Now it's the goalie's time to shine with the Bud Light NHL Save Streak. No doubt the home crowd is rooting for Jordan Binnington of the Blues.

 
8:40 p.m. ET

We have our first upset of the night. Connor McDavid did not win the Fastest Skater for the fourth year in a row. He came in second to winner Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders.

Barzal had a time of 13.175, barely beating out McDavid, who finished in 13.215.

McDavid isn't upset. He's instead impressed. 

"That's a good time by Barzy," McDavid said. "Tip your hat. That's it."

McDavid said he appreciates the hype for the event and tries to have fun with it. 

But now he's wondering if his time in the event is over. 

"I don't know if I have to skate in this again now," he said. 

He did acknowledge there will be less pressure on him now if he does it again in Florida next year.

Video: Fastest Skater: Barzal dethrones McDavid to win title

 

8:30 p.m. ET

As if this crowd couldn't be more fired up, things just went up another level when Wayne Gretzky walked on the ice to welcome all fans to St. Louis.

Perhaps he said it best when he proclaimed, "Let's get the party started."

 

8:25 p.m. ET

Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty won't go off the board in his pick for the fastest skater. 

"McDavid," Pacioretty said. "Why would you pick anyone else."

Told that maybe New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider might be able to take him, Pacioretty paused. 

"That's a good call, but still, no," he said. 

Pacioretty then said he heard McDavid lost the fastest skater competition in the Oilers skills competition. He mentioned that to San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, who was sitting next to him. 

"No way, really?" Hertl said in disbelief. 

"Who beat him?" He asked Pacioretty. 

"Joakim Nygard," Pacioretty answered. 

"Give him a puck," Hertl said. "He's faster with the puck. Nobody is beating him with the puck."

 

8:20 p.m. ET

We are just about ready to go here. The first event is the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, otherwise known as the Connor McDavid invitational.

The Oilers center has won the event three years in a row. His toughest competition could come from New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider, but McDavid is the odds-on favorite.

 

8 p.m. ET

O'Reilly dons the Chiefs helmet

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly was sporting some unique headgear for a hockey player in warmups. He was wearing a Kansas City Chiefs helmet. 

The Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. 

"Figured I'd throw it on and give some support," O'Reilly said for the pro football team that represents Missouri. 

O'Reilly said he hatched the idea to wear the helmet with Andrew Dvorak, the Blues equipment assistant. Dvorak has done some work in the summers for the Chiefs. 

Asked if the helmet signifies his pick for the Super Bowl, O'Reilly laughed and then said, "That's who I'd take."

 

7:55 pm ET

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal has his kids on the bench for the skills competition. 

Parker is 10, Levi is 8 and Finley is 5. 

"This is what it's all about," Staal said as he was flipping pucks to his boys. 

Parker and Levi were also on the bench for the skills competition at 2018 All-Star Weekend in Tampa Bay. 

"Finley was only three years old and it can get dicey on the bench with a three-year-old," Staal said, laughing.

Wild center Eric Staal's kids before the skills competition

 

7:50 p.m. ET

The crowd in Enterprise Center is revved up. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was the first player to hit the ice and he was met with boos. They lasted only a few seconds until the Blues players took the ice and the cheers started.

Blues forward Ryan O'Reilly stole the show in warmups, wearing a Kanas City Chiefs helmet. I guess we know who he's rooting for in next week's Super Bowl.

 

7:35 p.m. ET

The buzz is building on the benches here at Enterprise Center. 

The players are not on the ice yet but the building is filling up and the pucks waiting for them on the dasher have been formed in the shape of the famous Gateway Arch. 

Fans are hanging over the railings looking down the tunnel to see if they can catch a glimpse of their favorite all-stars, who will all new coming on the ice shortly. 

Stay tuned.

 

7:15 p.m. ET

Welcome to St. Louis. The weather in this city for the 2020 NHL Honda All-Star Game is considerably different from when we were here for the Stanley Cup Final in June. Hot and humid has been replaced by cold and snowy. But the excitement for the Blues and this event is high.

There is plenty of anticipation for all of the events at the skills, but the two new events, the Elite Women's 3-on-3 and the Shooting Stars, seem to be stirring up the biggest buzz.

Walking into the arena, we were able to see the targets the players will shoot at for the Shooting Stars event. It should be wild.
Staff writer Mike Zeisberger talked to some of the players involved in the event and they are excited.

You can click here for a complete list All-Star Skills participants.

There was some news before the game, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announcing the 2021 NHL All-Star Game would be hosted by the Florida Panthers.

But that's next year. We are about an hour from the start of the All-Star Skills. Dan Rosen will be behind the benches to provide insight from ice level.

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