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Weber wins Hardest Shot competition for first time

by Corey Masisak

COLUMBUS — Zdeno Chara remains the king of the hardest shot competition, but not by much.

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber won the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition with a blast of 108.5 mph. It's the second-hardest shot in the history of the All-Star skills competition, narrowly missing the record of 108.8 mph set by Chara three years ago.

"I was surprised," Weber said. "I knew I got it. It's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. I got pretty much all I could into and you just hope for the best."

Weber's margin of victory was comfortable because the only other player to top 101 mph was Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. His path to victory was not.

The Nashville Predators captain missed the net with a 101.8 mph shot on his first attempt. Missing the net meant it did not count.

"The nerves obviously showed on the first one," Weber said. "You sit around for a couple hours and you're thinking about it. There is nerves. That might have been what happened."

Weber was the second shooter in the last group, so his 108.5 mph blast was the final shot of the contest. He didn't miss the net this time.

"It's not right. There's guys that got to get hit with that thing," Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien said. "It's amazing. It's something you work on."

Weber's Nashville teammate Filip Forsberg has spent plenty of time avoiding the path of his shots at practice.

"You just stay away," Forsberg said. "I always try to stay away. Every guy is doing the same thing. He doesn't shoot it as hard in practice to protect others guy, but it is a really scary thing. You saw how hard that was."

Chara was not here, in part because he missed a chunk of the season with a knee injury. Weber will likely have another chance to top Chara's record next season when the All-Star Game is at his home arena in Nashville.

"[Chara] is the guy to beat all the time," Weber said. "He's got the big shot. Honestly, I was nervous because there were some guys out there who can rip it. You never really know.

"I just want to keep getting better every year. As kids we strive to get better at everything we do and it is no different now. You don't want to get worse. You want to continue to get better."

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