Sheldon Souray will represent the Oilers in the 2009 NHL SuperSkills Competition and attempt to match the 106.7 mph slapshot he recorded earlier this year in the Hardest Shot event of the Oilers Skills Competition. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK (Jan. 20, 2009) – Having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer and led Boston back to the top of the Eastern Conference this season, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will attempt a Hardest Shot natural hat trick when he shoots for his third straight title in the Cisco NHL Hardest Shot during 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills ® in Montreal’s Bell Centre on Saturday, Jan. 24 (6 p.m. ET, RDS, CBC, VERSUS, NHL Radio).
Chara will conduct a shootout with five impressive challengers, including Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray, who earlier this month staked his unofficial claim to the title of NHL’s hardest shooter by firing a slap shot that was clocked at 106.7 mph at the Oilers’ SuperSkills competition. Chara, Souray, Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier, Nashville’s Shea Weber and the New York Islanders’ Mark Streit will be gunning for Al Iafrate’s official NHL All-Star SuperSkills record 105.2 mph shot set during the 1993 All-Star Weekend in Montreal.
Before the big bombers blast away, four of the League’s speedsters will vie for the title of Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater. Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter and New Jersey’s Zach Parise will represent the League’s forwards while Chicago’s Brian Campbell and Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester carry the banner for NHL defensemen in the competition that will determine who can complete a circuit of the Bell Center ice most rapidly.
Those four will be attempting to break the record 13.386-lap that Mike Gartner blazed in Boston in 1996.
Another 2008 champion, Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle, will be back to defend his title when eight of the League’s top sharpshooters take on the challenge of the McDonald’s NHL Accuracy Shooting. Kaberle, who won a tiebreaker shootout with Nashville’s Jason Arnott last year in Atlanta, will be tested by a gifted group of shooters headed by 2002 NHL Accuracy Shooting champion Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames and including Dallas’ Mike Modano, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk, Ottawa’s Dany Heatley and Boston’s Marc Savard.
The six-event 2009 Honda/NHL SuperSkills will begin with the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater. The Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge will follow, with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals attempting to defend his 2008 trick-shot title as fans throughout North America, voting by text message, determine the winner for the first time in NHL All-Star SuperSkills history.
While the Breakaway Challenge polls are open, the league’s top rookies and sophomores will race up and down the Bell Center ice in the non-stop, three-on-three YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck.
The McDonald’s NHL Accuracy Shooting will follow the crowning of the fan-voted Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge champion. The Cisco NHL Hardest Shot then takes center stage before the evening comes to a close with the Gatorade NHL Elimination Shootout, the NHL All-Star version of the time-honored practice of ending a hockey practice with a penalty shots contest. All 36 All-Star skaters and all six All-Star goaltenders will participate.