Author: Mike Halford

Video: Chewbacca Burns, P.K. Jagr star in Breakaway Challenge

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NASHVILLE — This year’s Breakaway Challenge might’ve been the best in ASG Skills Competition history.

Led by a pair of colorful blueliners — San Jose’s Brent Burns and Montreal’s P.K. Subban — this year’s contest was a pretty entertaining affair, capped off with Subban paying tribute to the oldest All-Star and future Hall of Famer, Jaromir Jagr.

Also starring? Colorado’s Matt Duchene, Burns’ kid (Jagger) and Dierks Bentley, who had a pretty nice finish.

 

Video: Larkin wins fastest skater, breaks Gartner’s 20-year-old record

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NASHVILLE — They say the NHL is a young man’s game, and Dylan Larkin is the youngest player at this year’s All-Star Game.

So you see where this is going.

Larkin started Saturday night’s Skills Competition with a bang, winning the fastest skater competition with a 12.984 second effort, then beating Mike Gartner’s fastest lap record — a mark that’s stood for 20 years.

Larkin, 19, beat Gartner’s record of 13.38 seconds, set during the 1996 All-Star weekend in Boston.

Related: Larkin admits it’s ‘kinda crazy’ to hear the Yzerman comparisons

 

 

WATCH LIVE: ASG Skills Competition, from Nashville

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Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, you can catch the 2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition on TV on NBCSN, or check it out live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE NOW TO WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Here’s who’s competing in what at the NHL ASG Skills Competition

Tonight’s action marks the first real “on-ice” product of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean there’s been a lack of excitement or news. Here’s some relevant linkage from what PHT’s done live on location over the last few days:

Los Angeles will host the 2017 NHL All-Star game

Bettman rejects notion that the NHL is waiting for Seattle

John Scott’s going to enjoy the ride, ‘then go back to the real world’

Larkin admits it’s ‘kinda crazy’ to hear the Yzerman comparisons

Stamkos won’t deny it — contract situation’s ‘in your head, for sure’

NHL investigation of Patrick Kane still ‘ongoing’

Patrick Kane
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The National Hockey League has not yet closed its investigation of Patrick Kane following an alleged sexual assault in August, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed during All-Star weekend in Nashville.

More, from the Chicago Tribune:

Daly said the league’s investigation of the August incident in Western New York was still “ongoing” almost three months since Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita III did not charge Kane.

“When (the investigation) is done we’ll make an announcement,” Daly said.

Daly did not elaborate beyond that. When asked what the league could be looking into, considering there were no charges against Kane in the case, Daly said: “We have to satisfy ourselves with the facts.”

Back in early November, Sedita cited insufficient physical and DNA evidence and “significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses” as the reasons Kane wasn’t charged.

Kane’s accuser also signed an affidavit, informing the district attorney’s office that she no longer wanted to pursue criminal prosecution.

Following that news, Daly said the NHL would “promptly” review the situation.

“In light of the statement issued today by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, as an internal League matter, we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us,” he said. “We will have no further comment until we have completed that review.”

Related: Blackhawks GM says Kane is ‘absolutely’ part of team’s long-term plans

Bettman: Pens franchise ‘in strong hands’ with Lemieux, Burkle

NHL All-Star Winter Park Nashville 2016 - Day 1
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NASHVILLE — Gary Bettman has no concerns with the state of one of the NHL’s premier franchises.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who in June were announced to be for sale, are “in strong hands” with co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, Bettman said on Saturday in his annual address at NHL All-Star weekend.

“For a variety of reasons, some of them which may be personal, they’re exploring their options, but their support of the franchise has never wavered, and they’ve been great owners,” Bettman explained. “If they choose to make some adjustments, I’m sure they’ll do only what’s in the best interest long term of the franchise.”

That Burkle and Lemieux were “exploring their options” came as major news in a tumultuous time for the Penguins. The offseason prior, the club fired head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero — two of the key architects of the club’s 2009 Stanley Cup win — replacing Shero with Jim Rutherford, and Bylsma with Mike Johnston.

Only one of them remains.

Johnston was dismissed midway through this season in favor of AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton bench boss Mike Sullivan. Rutherford has survived, though it hasn’t been easy — the veteran front office executive has come under heavy scrutiny for some of his personnel decisions and, last summer, had to go public and explain that, despite the uncertain ownership situation, Pittsburgh was still “very appealing” for free agents.

MORE: Pens’ owners seeking $750 million for sale of team

The status of the Burkle-Lemieux relationship has also come under scrutiny.

Earlier this month, the pair refuted a report in the New York Post that Lemieux was “miffed” at Burkle for “messing up the sale of” the franchise. The Post, citing three sources, reported that Lemieux “wanted to accept” a recent bid for the Penguins, but that Burkle “turned it aside” in the belief that the franchise was worth more.

Shortly after the report broke, the co-owners issued the following statement:

There is no disagreement between us, and we remain completely aligned in both approach and philosophy.

“We continue to explore all of our strategic options, including a possible sale.

“There is not, and has never been, an established price for the team, and we are still in conversations with potential buyers.”

More Penguins damage control:

‘It’s absolutely not true’ — Lemieux denies report of ‘big falling out’ with Crosby 

Penguins insist they’re not mad at each other