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Toews and Sedin excel in Challenge Relay

by Bob Condor /
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The newest SuperSkills event, the G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay, impressed marquee All-Stars Jonathan Toews and Henrik Sedin. It went deeper than the two competitors wanting to win at least one event for Team Lidstrom, even though that is exactly what happened.

Sedin and Toews were both part of the winning squad that earned five points.

"I thought it was a pretty cool event," said Toews, who hit four of five targets in accuracy shooting to finish off his squad's winning low time of 2:09. "One part I liked is with eight skills in the relay, one part can really kill you but you can make up ground."

Toews was the difference in his squad's win, nailing those shooting targets quickly enough to beat a Team Staal relay squad by nine seconds. Sedin's passing skill in the event -- requiring him to lift passes over an eight-inch barrier and into tiny nets -- also helped fuel the victory.

Was the passing task as hard as it looked? The nets were no wider than a foot and two were placed across the width of the rink. In all, passers in the relay needed to hit six nets, three of them with "elevator" passes that had to be flipped over a small rubber barrier.

"The passing was really tough," said Sedin, the NHL's leading playmaker with 50 assists. "I didn't think I was going to make it. Those were really small nets. The nets all the way across were hard to see. They were pretty far away and there were lots of players in the background."

Other All-Stars struggled with the passing sequence, which helped Sedin and Toews extract some winning juice from a night made for Team Staal and the home crowd.

"The crowd can play into it more than you think," Toews said. "There is a definite home-ice advantage for tomorrow's game. The crowd figures to be a big part of it. It definitely was tonight, and we will feel like the away team on Sunday by far."

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