-- Super-skilled Washington Capitals
forward Alex Ovechkin
will defend his Scotiabank Fan Fav NHL Breakaway Challenge
title against a creative collection of fellow NHL stars during Honda/NHL SuperSkills
® Saturday, Jan. 24, at Montreal's Bell Centre.
Local hero and renowned dangler Alex Kovalev
of the Montreal Canadiens
will join young artists Sidney Crosby
of the Pittsburgh Penguins
, Ryan Getzlaf
of the Anaheim Ducks
and Patrick Kane
of the Chicago Blackhawks
in taking on Ovechkin, who last year impressed celebrity judges at the inaugural Breakaway Challenge. This year, the shooters' task will be to impress fans in arena and viewers across North America, who will determine the winner by voting via text message for the performance they deem most astounding.
"I want to defend this title," Ovechkin said. "It's kind of a pretty cool title and I'm happy right now that I have it."
Each shooter will get one minute to dazzle the Bell Centre crowd and the North American audience (7 p.m. ET, RDS, CBC, VERSUS). Upon taking possession of the puck, a shooter can go anywhere he wants in the offensive zone and make as many attempts as he desires within that minute to complete a routine that ends with a shot at the net. When each shooter has taken his turn, the polls will open for the most passionate fans in sports.
The Scotiabank Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge
contestants are wracking their brains to come up with moves neither their competitors nor their fans have seen. They've allowed NHL cameras to capture glimpses of their preparations but still plan some surprises.
"Right now, I'm going to show you my old trick," Ovechkin said before performing the puck-flipping, spin-o-rama swat that won in Atlanta a year ago, "but I have one more trick that probably I don't want to show you right now. You'll have to wait for the All-Star Game."
The six-competition card that comprises Honda/NHL SuperSkills
® will begin with four of the League's blazers competing in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater
. Following the Breakaway Challenge, the League's top rookies will take on the top sophomores in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck
. At the conclusion of that wide-open, non-stop game of three-on-three, the McDonald's Accuracy Shooting
and Cisco Hardest Shot
then will test the All-Stars' ability to pick corners and blast away.
The evening will come to a rousing conclusion with all 36 NHL All-Star skaters and all six goalies competing in the Gatorade NHL Elimination Shootout
-- the NHL All-Star version of the score-and-stay-alive game with which youth hockey players throughout the world traditionally end their practices.
The 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend in Montreal will celebrate the Montreal Canadiens
' Centennial season with live national broadcasts of the Honda/NHL SuperSkills on Saturday, Jan. 24, and the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 25, on CBC and RDS in Canada and VERSUS in the United States. NASN, ASN, J Sports, Sky Mexico, Fox Sports Australia and other NHL international broadcast partners will provide live coverage of both the Honda/NHL SuperSkills event and the NHL All-Star Game to more than 150 countries and territories in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Mexico and the Caribbean. NHL Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage which can be heard on stations around the United States and Canada as well as on Sirius XM Radio's NHL Home Ice, located at XM channel 204 and on SIRIUS channel 208 with the "Best of XM" programming package. NHL.com and NHL Network will provide extensive coverage of the All-Star Weekend.