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Skills Competition

Subban channels Jagr to win breakaway challenge

Wig, goal earns 31% of fan vote on Twitter

by Mike Battaglino @NHL / Staff Writer

Subban channels Jagr

NHL Skills: Subban channels his inner Jagr

1/30/16: P.K. Subban pays homage to Jaromir Jagr, dressing up as the wily vet during the Breakaway Challenge

  • 01:16 •

NASHVILLE -- Jaromir Jagr has an idea for master of disguise P.K. Subban when he's finished playing hockey. 

"I have a job for him after he retires," Jagr said. "They're the Traveling Jagrs. There's nine of them; now there can be 10. With a Montreal jersey on." 

Subban -- dressed as Jagr, complete with mullet, Jofa helmet and long pants -- won the Honda Breakaway Challenge at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. 

"I just cooked it up once I got to the rink," the Montreal Canadiens defenseman said. "I have to give a huge thanks to the training staff. They got me the props and got them ready in time. Everything was last minute. 

"That's the way I like to do it. I don't really like to plan anything. Just react off instinct and have fun. That plot came to mind about 25 minutes before we went on the ice." 

The winner was decided by fans voting on Twitter. Subban got 31 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, who had 26 percent. 

Subban came out for his second attempt in a Jagr No. 68 Florida Panthers jersey and a flowing mullet. After scoring on goalie Pekka Rinne, Subban added the familiar Jagr salute. 

"He had no idea," Subban said. "I wasn't going to tell him. It had to be a surprise." 

Other players were impressed. 

"Black pants, the helmet," Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins said. "I don't know where he found it, but it was really funny." 

Jagr appreciated the gesture, as he does the loyal fans who sometimes show up at an arena dressed in all the jerseys he wore during his 22-season NHL career. 

"You don't have to be the best in the world at something, you just have to be different," Jagr said. "And he is kind of different, and people love it. He's different the right way, the good way. ... It's good for the fans, they were loving that. All-Star is all about the fans and I'm glad he came. I'm very happy he did it." 

Burns -- and his 4-year-old son Jagger -- were other favorites among those in the arena. 

On Burns' first attempt, he was joined by Jagger, and Sharks teammate Joe Pavelski and his son Nathan. As former teammates Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo staged a mock argument in the net to leave it empty, Jagger got the puck from Nathan and scored. 

"He and Nate worked on the drop pass [this morning]," Burns said. "But you get two kids under 5, you never really know what's going to happen. So it was good to see it go off." 

Jagger then did a celebratory dance and fist-bumped all of the all-stars as he skated by in his Lil Burns No. 88 jersey. 

"That wasn't part of the routine," Burns said, laughing. "I told him ... ' Once you score, we're going to get a nice picture.' That went out the window. He was all over the map. ... He was pretty jacked." 

Burns' second attempt started with pictures of him as a young player -- without facial hair -- along with the "Star Wars" theme. The arena lights came up, and Burns was wearing a Chewbacca mask as he went in to score on Schneider. 

Any other year, it probably would have been more than enough to win. But Burns wasn't concerned about that. 

"I got all the goodness out of just having it go through like that," Burns said, "and I'm pretty excited to see what he's saying now." 

Each skater -- Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets; James Neal of the Nashville Predators; Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals; Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche; Subban and Burns -- was given two attempts. 

Among the highlights were country music fan Duchene throwing a cowboy hat into the stands; Rinne using a guitar given to him by singer Dierks Bentley as a goalie stick; Neal using a puck hidden in his glove to score on Schneider; and Neal passing to Bentley, who scored on his shot. 

Shooters were allowed to start from anywhere in the neutral zone and could use the entire offensive zone, including behind the net (regular-season shootout rules did not apply). 

Subban kept the puck in the air on his first attempt, tapping it off his blade before heel-kicking the puck in the air before a spinning shot. 

He then won the contest at his first All-Star Weekend. 

"It's a tribute to the great player that he is, the career that he's had so far in the NHL, and the player that he's going to go down as when he's finished playing, and that's as one of the best players to ever play in the NHL," Subban said of Jagr. "He was one of my favorite players growing up, and it's a sign of respect. 

"For me, it's a huge honor. For that five minutes, I was Jaromir Jagr, so it was pretty cool.

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