NHL SuperSkills participants named; Chara going for fourth straight hardest shot

With the NHL SuperSkills competition set to kick off at 7 p.m. tonight, the NHL announced who will be taking part in the different skills competitions tonight. The highlight of the night is usually the hardest shot competition and Boston’s Zdeno Chara will be aiming to win his fourth straight hardest shot title.

As usual, the sides will be split up into teams with Team Lidstrom and Team Staal competing for points.  Chara will be on Team Staal and joining him to take home the hardest shot title will be Alex Ovechkin, David Backes, Tyler Seguin, Rick Nash, and Patrick Sharp. On team Lidstrom, Chara’s main competition will be Nashville’s Shea Weber and Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien. Joining those two will be Anze Kopitar, Brent Burns, Cam Fowler, and Steve Stamkos.

Chara took home last year’s title with a shot of 105.4 miles per hour breaking Al Iafrate’s 1993 record.

In the accuracy competition we recall years in the past when Ray Bourque would hit four targets in four shots. Looking to latch on to Bourque’s legacy this time around will be Team Staal’s Rick Nash, Daniel Sedin, Eric Staal, Logan Couture, Patrik Elias, and Ryan Kesler. Team Lidstrom counters with Brad Richards, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat, and Derek Stepan.

While the shootout has made the breakaway challenge a bit less exciting, this year’s participants might bring the fireworks back. Team Staal will featuer Montreal’s P.K. Subban along with Corey Perry and Alex Ovechkin.

I asked Subban last night if he had any tricks to break out tonight he said, “I don’t know man, I just got added to the team so I haven’t really thought about it. With all the people watching though, I might have to come up with something. I can’t tell you what though.”

Team Lidstrom counters with Evgeny Dadonov, Anze Kopitar, and Henrik Sedin. Dadonov might prove to be the surprise of the competition. Ovechkin has won this competition twice and has a bit of a flare for the dramatic himself including using two sticks and donning a hat with flags in it.

If speed is more your thing, the fastest skater competition features six skaters for both teams. Michael Grabner, Mike Green, Patrick Sharp, Ryan Kesler, Marc Staal, and Kris Letang. Team Lidstrom throws out Duncan Keith, Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Martin St. Louis, Steve Stamkos, and Keith Yandle. Expect Grabner to be the odds on favorite to win this but keep your eyes on Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall to challenge.

Other events include the skills challenge relay and the NHL elimination shootout. Those will feature virtually everyone else who wasn’t named already.

Blue Jackets’ Murray leaves game with upper body injury

COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 4:  Ryan Murray #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the New York Rangers on April 4, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had to leave his team’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night with an upper body injury, the team announced.

He will not return to the game.

Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, seemed to be injured when his arm was pinned against the boards when trying to finish a check on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net.

Murray played only 4:38 on Friday night before exiting the game.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Murray played in 81 games for the Blue Jackets a year ago, scoring four goals to go with 21 assists.

He had played in one of the Blue Jackets’ two games this season entering Friday and did not record a point.

Former first round pick Zach Boychuk signs in KHL

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Zach Boychuk #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes heads back for the puck during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

After spending the past eight years moving around the NHL, Zach Boychuk is moving overseas.

On Friday it was announced that the 27-year-old forward has signed a contract with HC Sibir of the KHL.

Boychuk was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators in his career.

He did not play in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, spending the year split between the Charlotte Checkers and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

In 127 NHL games he has scored 12 goals and added 18 assists.

Boychuk was in camp in September with the Arizona Coyotes on a tryout contract but did not make the team.

Flyers’ Dale Weise suspended three games

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Dale Weise #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.

The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Weise was not penalized for the hit.

The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.

Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.

The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.

Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.

He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.

Douglas Murray calls it a career


One of the more unique blueliners in recent memory is hanging up his skates.

Douglas Murray, the big-bodied Swedish rearguard that appeared in over 500 NHL contests, has decided to retire.

“Thirty general managers do not want me,” Murray told Alftonbladet (translation per Yahoo). “I know that I can still play, but it’s over now.”

Murray, 36, is best remembered for his time in San Jose, where he used his 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame to become one of the hardest hitters in the league.

His best years came between 2009-11, when he helped the Sharks advance to a pair of Western Conference Finals, and represented Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Murray also spent time with Pittsburgh and Montreal, before joining German League side Kolner Haie in ’14-15. He also had a brief stint with the Calgary Flames, though things never progressed beyond the professional tryout stage.

As mentioned above, Murray was a pretty interesting guy. A late bloomer, he was 25 upon making his NHL debut but quickly endeared himself to Shark fans.

Ivy-league educated, Murray and friends also created a beer dispensing system called the UberTap while at Cornell University.

A few years ago, Murray was rumored to be dating Elin Nordegren, the ex-wife of Tiger Woods. Murray later shot down the reports, saying he and Nordegren were just friends.