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SuperSkills Live Blog

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
9:28 p.m. EST: Doan scores five-hole and Savard has the puck poked off his stick to make Doan the winner of the shootout elimination. Hope you enjoyed the blog. See you tomorrow for the All-Star Game.


9:26 p.m. EST
: The third and fourth round were scoreless. Doan beats Giguere in the five-hole. Savard nets and easy score on Thomas. And then there were two...

9:23 p.m. EST
: In the third round Shane Doan makes a nice fake and then roofs a backhand shot into the net. Marc Savard riffled a shot through the five-hole of Jean-Sebastian Giguere. Milan Hejduk jukes Niklas Backstrom and then shovels a shot into the cage on the backhand. And then there were three...

9:20 p.m. EST
: After two rounds of shootouts only six players remain alive for a third round of action. And then there were six...

9:15 p.m. EST
: Malkin won't win his second contest after getting stopped by Thomas in the elimination shootout. Malkin came in slowly and tried to stick-handle the puck but Thomas stayed with it and flopped to the ice to stop Malkin. He heads to the dressing room with the rest of the eliminated players.

8:58 p.m. EST
: Al Iafrate set the hardest shot record with a 105.2-MPH slap shot in Montreal at the 1993 All-Star Game. Zdeno Chara bested Iafrate's shot with a monster blast of 105.4 MPH, setting a new NHL hardest shot record.
  
8:46 p.m. EST
: Tie-breaker between Dany Heatley and Malkin, both went four-for-four. Malkin goes three-for-four. His final shot barely missed the target or he may have gone perfect through two rounds. Heatley nailed two. Malkin is one-for-one, winning his first event of hte night!

8:41 p.m. EST
: Malkin sets the bar pretty high with a four-for-four effort in the accuracy shot. Hard to top that. Best they can hope for is a tie-breaker. Interesting for a player that said he wasn't very accurate yesterday.

8:36 p.m. EST
: While we're waiting through this prolonged break, I just want to say how beautiful the city of Montreal really is. It's an incredible blend of urban industrialization with sky scrapers and office buildings and old architecture with classic churches and historical monuments. And I don't even have time to describe the night life and great restaraunts. I highly recommend you visit...but maybe wait until the summer because it's pretty cold up here.

8:22 p.m. EST
: The next event is the accuracy shooting contest. We'll get our first glimpse of Malkin - well, first glimpse of him actually doing something hockey-wise and not dressing up Alex Ovechkin.

8:10 p.m. EST
: Letang appeared to have scored a goal in the final seconds of the second period. He took a one-timer from the slot. Then he and Marc Staal both poked at the free puck. Not sure who was credited with the goal but at least he'll get an assist if nothing else.

8:05 p.m. EST
: Letang had another breakaway and this time the puck rolled off his stick before he could get a shot off.

7:58 p.m. EST
: Letang had a great scoring opportunity on a breakaway. He did some fancy stick-handling but pushed the puck just wide of the goal. Later he made a beautiful backhand, between-the-legs pass.

7:50 p.m. EST
: Coming up is the YoungStars Game. Kris Letang is representing Pittsburgh for the second straight year. He is the eighth Penguin to participate in the event since it's inception in 2002. Other Penguins include: Andrew Ference (2002), Brooks Orpik (2004), Ryan Malone (2004), Ryan Whitney (2007), Evgeni Malkin (2007), Jordan Staal (2007) and Tyler Kennedy (2008).

7:44 p.m. EST
: The buildup for this event has been centered around Alex Ovechkin. He said it would be funny and his prediction lived up to the billing. With the help of his new best friend, Evgeni Malkin, Ovie put on a fisherman's hat with a Canadian flag sticking out of it. Malkin then slipped on a pair sunglasses on Ovechkin. Malkin wiped down the glasses, squirted some Gatorade into Ovechkin's mouth and handed his fellow countryman his stick. Ovie came down the ice, discarded Malkin's stick and then stuffed the puck into the goal.

7:39 p.m. EST
: Alex Kovalev did his breakaway attempts to the soundtrack of Foo Fighter's "Hero." Great selection by whomever.

7:38 p.m. EST
: The breakaway challenge has become the NHL's version of the slam dunk contest. All the participants are going for style and creativity. Martin St. Louis did a nice spin-o-rama with the puck elevated on his blade. Ryan Getzlaf went around the net and lifted the puck in the air on his stick and wrapped in a shot.

7:29 p.m. EST
: The first award goes to Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano for the NHL's fastest skaters with a winning time of 14.31 seconds.

7:23 p.m. EST
: First event is the NHL's fastest skater contest. New Jersey's Zach Parise got things started with a speed of 14.59 seconds.

7:17 p.m. EST
: The Montreal Canadiens' players were introduced last and recieved a standing ovation from the completely packed Bell Centre. This arena was filled to capacity for this afternoon's practice. I can only imagine the atmosphere here in the postseason.

7:11 p.m. EST: Defensemen - and former Habs - Sheldon Souray and Mark Steit got a nice ovation from the Montreal crowd. But those in attendence really screamed for Vincent Lecavalier.

6:57 p.m. EST: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference earlier this afternoon. While we couldn't attend because it was during the same time as the Eastern Conference All-Stars open locker room, we did get a hold of a transcript from the press conference.

Some things of note:

> He wouldn't commit to eliminating fighting from the game but said that the subject would be revisited at a later date.

> He didn't seem to be backing off his stance on forcing Detroit's Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk to miss their next game. Bettman noted that if a player is hurt and cannot play, that player must still attend the All-Star event from Friday through the game.

Bettman added: "If, in fact, you're too injured to even do that, we have an expectation that you'll be missing a game, and I think that's an expectation that everybody has been aware of."

> The NHL has not committed to allowing players attend the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Bettman noted that any decision will be a joint move by the NHL and the Players' Association.

Bettman did reassert his committment to starting up a World Cup in 2011.

6:30 p.m EST
: Welcome to the first annual - hopefully - live All-Star blog. It's Saturday night and we're about 30 minutes from the start fo the NHL SuperSkills Competition. Pittsburghpenguins.com is currently set up in the bowels of the Bell Centre in the Media Work Area. We'll be bringing you the buzz from Montreal this evening. So sit back, get your popcorn ready and let's get to the Skills Comp!
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