Like the rest of All-Star weekend, tonight’s SuperSkills Competition has undergone some changes as the NHL tries to spice up the event. The usual staples like the Hardest Shot competition, Fastest Skater, Accuracy Contest, and Shoot Out are still all in play, but the structure of the events, detailed here, is a bit different and the new Skills Challenge Relay could be very interesting.Here are our five biggest questions for the SuperSkills Competition:
- Will Zdeno Chara break his own Hardest Shot record? Chara snapped Al Iafrate’s 1993 record of a 105.2 mph slap shot with a 105.4 mph blast during the 2009 NHL All-Star Game. Chara is shooting as hard as ever, but he’ll have to really get a hold of one to beat that.
- How will the rookies fare? The 12 rookies set to participate in tonight’s SuperSkills Competition may one day soon warrant All-Star spots of their own, but right now they’re add-ons to the main event. Still, if one of them wins an event for his team, or even comes close, he could become the story of the night.
- How will the captains choose who participates in what events? The work of Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom was not complete with last night’s draft. They still must decide who’ll participate in which events tonight. Some players, like Chara and the Hardest Shot, are obvious choices. But will the captains rely on the input of their players, or will they make their own decisions?
- Will a goalie steal the show? All-Star weekend is traditionally a tough time for goalies, but the key is for them to have a good sense of humour about the situation. That’s easier said than done though, as these guys are competitive by nature. It’s always interesting to see how who we think are the league’s top netminders fair against the world’s best players.
- How will the new event set up play out? The most unique new aspect is the Relay Challenge. It seems like a bit of a gimmick at first, but the relay aspect makes this event more of a team struggle than the other individual-focused events. It will be interesting to see if the “team” concept in general is more visible tonight as a result of the draft, or if this plays out similar to years past.
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