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NHL All-Star challenges light up Tampa Bay: Ovechkin, other stars shine in skills challenges during All-Star Weekend

By Maddy Sakin, Contributing Writer

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     On January 27 to the 29, the annual NHL All-Star Weekend took place in Tampa Bay, FL, home of the Lightning.  All-Star Weekend, in an effort to attract more attention from fans, has been split into three main events in recent years: a skills competition, three-on-three tournament, and a mascot game.

     The first of the main events, the skills competition, was split into six different events, one of which was the hardest shot.  In this event, some of the top shooters in the league took turns rifling shots into a goal to see who could get it into the net at the highest velocity.  After a serious of punishing slap shots, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals came out on top with a shot that reached a velocity of 101.3 mph.  

      The next event of the skills challenge on the docket was the accuracy challnege. In this event, players were required to hit a series of targets accurately, and in the fastest time possible. The targets, arranged in various different formations, lit up as players had to hit them with the puck before the light went out. Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks proved to be the most accurate in the NHL as he was able to hit all the targets in just 11 seconds.  

      The next challenge was to determine which of the NHL players could skate the fastest. In this event, each player had one lap around the ice to prove they were the fastest skater. In this event, up and coming star Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers won this event with a time 13.45 seconds.. Eight players would compete in the passing challenge, which was the next event in the line-up There were 3 parts to this challenge: a target passing challenge, a give and go challenge and a mini net challenge. Whomever could complete all of these in the quickest time was crowned the winner. This happened to be Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues with the time of 46.61 seconds.

     Goalies, the unsung heroes of hockey, also got their chance to shine at the all-star festivities in an event called save the streak. In this event goalies had to see how many saves they could make in a row and the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL’s newest franchise, got some recognition as Marc Andre Fleury saved 14 goals to have the longest streak.  

     One of the hardest things to do in hockey is keeping the puck in control and that was the theme of the next event in the skills challenge.  Players had to keep the puck in control through obstacles and gates before taking a shot on goal to finish out. Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames won this event with a time of 24.65 seconds.

     The 3 on 3 division games were a big hit at this year’s all-star events as each division had a team of all-stars that faced off against another division for $1 million. The Pacific and Central division were the first to take the ice.  The Central division broke the ice first with Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche scoring an early goal. The game ended up with a 5-2 score in favor of the Pacific division, who would go on to face the winner of the Metropolitan and Atlantic game.

      In that match up, the Metropolitan team was the first to score on a Sidney Crosby goal. Despite Crosby’s efforts, the game ended up with a score of 7-4 in favor of  the Atlantic. Nikita Kucherov of the hometown Tampa Bay Lightning scored a hat trick for the Atlantic team to win the game. The final game was next, the Pacific facing off against the Atlantic.  Rickard Rakell of the Anaheim Ducks was the first one for the Pacific team to score. This game came to an end with a score of 5-2 in favor of the Pacific.

With that game, the All-Star Weekend came to an end, and looks to pick up where it left off next year in San Jose.


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NHL All-Star challenges light up Tampa Bay: Ovechkin, other stars shine in skills challenges during All-Star Weekend