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Here are the events the NHL’s All-Stars will participate in at the skills competition

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The NHL’s All-Star weekend in Los Angeles is here, and the festivities all begin on Friday night with the unveiling of the top-100 players in NHL history.

On Saturday, the NHL’s current All-Stars hit the ice to show off their talents in the Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition as the teams from the four divisions go head-to-head.

This year’s competition includes many of the events you’re familiar with from previous years, as well as one new event.

Looking at the roster of participants the must-see events would seem to be the hardest shot competition that will feature an Alex Ovechkin vs. Shea Weber matchup (P.K. Subban is also in that event), as well as a fastest skater heat that will see Nathan MacKinnon go up against Connor McDavid.

Below is the complete roster for all of the skills competition events, as well as a brief description of each event.

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay

Event: Seven skaters and a goalie from each team compete in five challenges that include one-timers, passing puck control, stick-handling and a goalie goals. Each skill must be completed by the player responsible for it before the next player can attempt theirs. The team with fasted time in each heat wins one point, while the team with the fastest overall time gets a bonus point.

The participants

Central Division

One timers: Duncan Keith, Ryan Suter, Vladimir Tarasenko

Passer: Nathan MacKinnon

Passing: Jonathan Toews

Puck Control: Tyler Seguin

Stick-handling: Patrick Kane

Goalie Goals: Devan Dubnyk

Pacific Division

One timers: Joe Pavelski, Ryan Kesler, Jeff Carter

Passer: Bo Horvat

Passing: Drew Doughty

Puck Contro: Cam Fowler

Stick-handling: Johnny Gaudreau

Goalie Goals: Mike Smith

Atlantic Division

One timers: Erik Karlson, Vincent Trocheck, Kyle Okposo

Passer: Victor Hedman

Passing: Frans Nielsen

Puck Control: Brad Marchand

Stick-handling: Auston Matthews

Goalie goalis: Carey Price

Metropolitan Division

One timers: Seth Jones, Alex Ovechkin, Wayne Simmonds

Passer: Ryan McDonagh

Passing: John Tavares

Puck Control: Justin Faulk

Stick-handling: Sidney Crosby

Goalie goals: Braden Holtby

Honda NHL Four Line Challenge

Event: This is a new event at the 2017 skills competition. Here is the official description from the NHL:

Each shooter will shoot from one of four shooting positions; near blue line, center line, far blue line and far goal line. The first shooter from each team takes two shots from the near blue line in an attempt to score goals in either the upper left or upper right corner of the net. Successful shots score one point for their team. The second shooter from each team takes two shots from center ice in an attempt to score goals in one of the four corners of the net. Successful shots in the lower corners score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score three points for their team. The third shooter from each team takes two shots from the far blue line in an attempt to score a goal in one of the four corners of the net or the five hole. Successful shots in the lower corners or five hole score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score five points for their team. The fourth shooter from each team takes two shots from the far goal line in an attempt to score a goal in the five hole. Successful shots score 10 points for their team. Captains can substitute the fourth shooter with a goalie. A successful shot by a goalie is awarded 20 points for their team.

The team with the most points at the end earns a point for their team.

The participants

Atlantic Division: Central Division: Ryan Suter, Tyler Seguin, P.K. Subban, Nathan MacKinnon

Pacific Division: Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Bo Horvat

Atlantic Division: Nikita Kucherov, Erik Karlsson, Vincent Trocheck, Shea Weber

Metropolitan Division: Ryan McDonagh, Wayne Simmonds, Taylor Hall, Seth Jones

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting

The Event: Two players from each team will attempt to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The shooter to hit all four targets in the shortest time period wins. The winner from each match up earns a point for their team, while the player that wins with the fastest overall time gets a bonus point. If anybody beats Daniel Sedin‘s record of hitting all four targets in 7.3 records they also earn their team an additional bonus point.

The participants

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Kyle Okposo vs. John Tavares

Auston Matthews vs. Sidney Crosby

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Patrik Laine vs. Connor McDavid

Patrick Kane vs. Jeff Carter

Bridgestone NHL Faster Skater

The event: The track for the head-to-head races is the rink split in half lengthways. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head races will skate a full lap of the outside of the rink in an attempt to break Dylan Larkin‘s record of 13.172 seconds.  The winner of each match scores one point, the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus, and if anybody breaks Dylan Larkin’s record their team will be awarded a bonus point.

The participants

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Brad Marchand vs. Cam Atkinson

Nikita Kucherov vs. Taylor Hall

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Vladimir Tarasenko vs. Bo Horvat

Nathan MacKinnon vs. Connor McDavid

Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot

The Event: Pretty self explanatory. Who can shoot the puck the hardest?

The participants

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Victor Hedman vs. Seth Jones

Shea Weber vs. Alex Ovechkin

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Patrik Laine vs. Brent Burns

P.K. Subban vs. Drew Doughty

Discover NHL Shootout

The event: The nine skaters and two goaltenders from the top scoring team in each conference will participate, with the captains of each team picking an additional player from the losing team, designated as “discover puck players,” in each conference to participate. Each goal scored will count for one point, while goals scored by “discover puck players” will count as two points.

Watch Live: 2017 NHL All-Star Game

Weight hopes Eberle can re-discover ‘eye of the tiger’ with Islanders

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This post is part of Islanders Day on PHT…

Jordan Eberle had a difficult season at times in 2016-17.

Yet he still managed to score 20 goals, hitting that mark for a fourth consecutive season and fifth time in six years. (He put up 34 goals in 2011-12.)

You can understand why having a skilled winger to perhaps play alongside center John Tavares — at least that’s the expectation prior to training camp — would be intriguing for head coach Doug Weight as the new season approaches.

“Jordan, to me, is really, really exciting,” Weight recently told the NHL Network.

Eberle’s first foray into playoff hockey was a struggle, as he recorded only two assists in 13 post-season games and the Oilers made it to the second round.

And that is where Weight’s extended comments get interesting, because it sounds like the 27-year-old forward’s confidence took a bit of a hit during his final campaign in Edmonton and, in particular, during the playoffs, when his offensive production wasn’t there and the public scrutiny intensified.

Several weeks later, Eberle was traded to the Islanders.

“I want him to come in with that eye of the tiger; that fire back that sometimes gets lost,” Weight continued. “It’s tough. You can get cemented in certain roles, you can have some tough times. But Jordan still produced. He’s a helluva talent and I’m excited to get that confidence back in him and excited for him to get here.”

It didn’t take long after the trade for discussions about a possible Eberle-Tavares reunion to begin. Playing for Team Canada, they combined for a thrilling tying goal against Russia in the dying seconds of the 2009 World Juniors semifinal.

One of the Islanders’ top priorities is to get Tavares secured to a new contract, as he enters the final year of his current deal.

Adding a proven scoring winger to Tavares’ line may also help the team’s captain rebound from a season in which his bottom-line production dropped as well, which would certainly boost the Islanders’ chances of getting back to the playoffs.

“[Eberle’s] bringing a right-handed shot as a forward that can obviously shoot and score from anywhere,” Islanders forward Anders Lee recently told NHL.com.

“He’s a playmaker out on the ice and sees the ice extremely well. He can add some extra threats for us on the power play that can really help elevate us.”

Report: Rangers among ‘final two or three teams’ in running to sign Kerfoot

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One of the big issues facing the Rangers this offseason was about depth up the middle.

New York could take a step in addressing that, with a potential solution in college free agent Alex Kerfoot, the former New Jersey Devils draft pick who decided to test the open market.

From the New York Post:

The Rangers are among the final two or three teams under consideration by Harvard free-agent center Alex Kerfoot, The Post has learned.

J.P. Barry, the 23-year-old center’s agent who confirmed the parties’ mutual interest, told The Post that Kerfoot likely would reach a decision no later than Tuesday following a weekend of reflection.

The Rangers traded Derek Stepan to the Arizona Coyotes and lost Oscar Lindberg in the expansion draft, leaving them in a difficult spot at center heading into the summer months.

Now 23 years old, Kerfoot played four years at Harvard University — the same school as Jimmy Vesey, who became a college free agent last summer and signed with the Rangers — and had a terrific senior year. He put up 16 goals and 45 points and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

The Rangers are facing competition to land Kerfoot, who is from Vancouver and played his junior hockey in nearby Coquitlam. The Canucks are reportedly still in consideration, as well.

According to agent J.P. Barry, Kerfoot and the Canucks management group reportedly had a “productive” meeting last week.

Luongo: ‘I haven’t had any issues’ in return from injury

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Roberto Luongo continues preparations for the upcoming season, after an injury cut his 2016-17 campaign short.

Luongo’s last game was on March 2. He didn’t play again after that due to reported aggravation of a previous hip injury that had required surgery.

However, per the Miami Herald on Monday, the 38-year-old netminder has returned to the ice. Luongo then gave a promising update on his status with training camp approaching in a few weeks.

“It’s good to be able to get back to my regular summer training program. This is my second week … everything feels great and I haven’t had any issues. That’s good,” Luongo told the Miami Herald.

“It’s comforting mentally to know I can go through a rigorous workout and go all out and not have any issues nor think about it. That’s a big first step for me after going through the ups-and-downs of having to deal with my issue last year. It’s nice to have that piece of mind.”

Luongo appeared in 40 games for Florida last season. He still has five years remaining on his contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $5.333 million, per CapFriendly. James Reimer, in his first season with the Panthers after signing there for five years and $17 million, played in 43 games with a sound .920 save percentage.

Once heavily relied upon as a workhorse netminder, starting a career high 75 games one year in Vancouver, the reality is Luongo has a lot of mileage on him and is approaching 40 years of age. As he comes back from this latest injury and considering his age, it will be interesting to see exactly how many starts he gets and who will emerge as the No. 1 goalie in Florida over the course of this upcoming season.

“Listen, this has always been his team,” Panthers goalie coach Robb Tallas told the Miami Herald. “But everyone these days has to manage time better, not just us. Roberto can’t play 60, 65 games a season any more. Reimer shouldn’t either. It only gets tougher every year.”

Islanders face critical time on and off the ice

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This post is part of Islanders Day on PHT…

There is quite a bit on the plate of the New York Islanders. On and off the ice.

That includes steps toward finding a permanent home.

That is especially the case given reports last month that this ongoing arena situation — moving from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays Center in Brooklyn to possibly being on the move again to another local destination — is apparently a factor in the delay of getting star forward John Tavares signed to a contract extension.

Tavares has one year left on his current six-year, $33 million contract. The face of the franchise since the day he went No. 1 overall to the Islanders in 2009, Tavares is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, provided he doesn’t ink a new contract by then.

Read more: Poll: Will John Tavares re-sign with the Islanders?

On the arena front, the Islanders have made their interest in building an arena on land at Belmont Park well-known — a scenario that Tavares believes has “great potential there.” However, it’s been previously outlined that this is a scenario that will still take some time to finalize.

From Newsday Long Island: 

Tavares said he is waiting to see what comes of the Request For Proposals issued July 30 by New York state regarding the Belmont Park development. The Islanders, along with the owners of the Mets and a Madison Square Garden-backed sports arena consortium Oak View Group, are expected to pitch building an arena on the 43-acre lot.

It’s not clear whether the state will select a winner before Tavares would hit unrestricted free agency next July. All bids are due by Sept. 28 and Empire State Development, the state’s primary business development agency which is handling the RFP, has declined to set a timeline after that.

Of course for Tavares, with an eight-year deal in the offing, he would love to know where he’ll be playing.

Contract negotiations with star players — especially one that is moving closer toward unrestricted free agency — can provide enough tension for fans. The Islanders are not only facing such a negotiation, but an ongoing arena situation as well, and reports suggest the latter may be complicating the former.

Meanwhile, the Islanders have won only one playoff series in the eight seasons Tavares has been with the club. They missed out on the postseason earlier this spring.

Even with a player like Tavares, the Islanders have yet to truly challenge for top spot in the Eastern Conference. For this upcoming season, head coach Doug Weight put onus on the organization to put their star in a position to win and win right now.

They need to sign their star. They will eventually need to settle their arena situation. And there is added pressure to win as Tavares enters his final year of his contract.
It’s shaping up to be a critical few months for the Islanders.
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