COLUMBUS, Ohio - Shea Weber shot faster missing the net than any other player did hitting it. When he hit the net, it was even better.
The Nashville Predators' captain won the Hardest Shot competition at Saturday night's all-star skills competition by clocking in at 108.5 mph. Weber was just short of the record of 108.8 mph set by the Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara at the last all-star weekend in 2012 in Ottawa.
"Everybody cringed," said all-star captain Nick Foligno of the host Columbus Blue Jackets, whose team beat Jonathan Toews's 25-19 overall. "Wouldn't ever want to have to block that."
Weber's 101.8 mph blast that missed the net and didn't count was better than anyone else's best attempt. Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin shot 101.4 twice, while Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets seemed disappointed to top out at 97.3.
Without Chara in the competition, Weber was the favourite going in. But he considered Chara the king.
"Chara still has the hardest shot ever recorded," Weber said Friday. "Someone is going to have to beat that one day."
That didn't happen Saturday. But Weber reminded Toews and the rest of the all-stars what his shot can do.
"If he does get the chance (to shoot), get the heck out of the way," Toews said.
Fastest skater: After being traded for him at Friday's all-star draft, Phil Kessel beat Tyler Seguin in their head-to-head heat. With the Toronto Maple Leafs on a six-game losing streak, it was Kessel's first win in a while.
Rookie Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning had the fastest time at 13.103 seconds. Sportvision's player tracking technology was used as part of the competition, as it will in Sunday's game.
Breakaway challenge: Ryan Johansen stole the show by bringing out 7-year-old Cole Vogt, son of Columbus Blue Jackets trainer Mike Vogt, to help him score and by getting teammates to do the Flying V from the "Mighty Ducks" movies. Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers followed that by bringing out 21-year-old Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames to help him.
"I thought it was pretty funny," said Johansen, who won as a result of an online fan vote. "Jake is a good character."
Accuracy shooting: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane needed just five shots to hit all four targets. He's no Ray Bourque, but Kane won the competition by doing so in 13.529 seconds.
Skills challenge relay: Steven Stamkos showed off his absurd ability to hit the net on one-timers from a sharp angle, and goaltenders Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo got to try their hand at shooting and scoring on an empty net in a segment made for the likes of Martin Brodeur, Chris Osgood and Ron Hextall.
Shootout: Kessel kept his good weekend going by scoring on Corey Crawford, and former Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash heard the boos from local fans. Nash asked for a trade out of Columbus and is tied for the NHL lead in goals for the Rangers.
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