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.