-- When Alex Ovechkin
attempts to defend his title in the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge on Saturday night, Jan. 24, in Montreal's Bell Centre, he'll have to do more than just out-perform challengers such as Sidney Crosby
. The competitors must win over fans in arena and those watching the 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills ® at home on RDS, CBC and VERSUS -- and their fellow NHL All-Stars.
For the first time in NHL All-Star Game and NHL SuperSkills history, fans will choose the winner of one of the competitions via text messaging.
Voting will begin as soon as the last Breakaway Challenge competitor completes his routine, with fans in the Bell Centre, those watching on television throughout North America and all of the 2009 NHL All-Stars and YoungStars able to cast one text message vote per mobile phone.
The polls will remain open throughout the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck. Following that high-energy, three-on-three contest between the League's top rookies and sophomores, the fan-selected champion of the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge will be crowned.
Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals
dynamo who won last year's inaugural Breakaway Challenge in Atlanta, will be tested by four worthy competitors -- Pittsburgh Penguins
captain Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf
of the Anaheim Ducks
, Patrick Kane
of the Chicago Blackhawks
and hometown favorite Alex Kovalev
of the Montreal Canadiens
. Each will have one minute to complete a dazzling puck-handling routine that ends with a shot at the net.
The 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills begins with the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition. The Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge then claims the Bell Centre spotlight.
While fans are voting to determine who came up with the most difficult and imaginative moves, the game's most impressive young players will take the ice for the high-energy NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck. After the Breakaway Challenge votes are tabulated and the champion is crowned, the sharpshooters take over in the McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting and the bombers fire away in the Cisco NHL Hardest Shot.
The night will come to a close with the Gatorade NHL Elimination Shootout, the NHL All-Star version of the time-honored practice of ending a hockey practice with a penalty shots contest. All 36 All-Star skaters and all six All-Star goaltenders will participate.