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Posted at 11:11 PM ET, 01/29/2011

Alex Ovechkin wins third straight breakaway challenge

By Katie Carrera

Team Staal defeated Team Lidstrom, 33-22, in the NHL's skills competition on Saturday night at RBC Center, where the members of the hometown Carolina Hurricanes stole most of the show -- perhaps with the exception of Zdeno Chara's blistering 105.9 mph slap shot that set another event record.

Alex Ovechkin won his third straight breakaway challenge, earning 37.6 percent of the fan vote with his combination of attempts that included puck-handling with the butt end of the stick.

"I was surprised, I thought different guys do great job," Ovechkin said. "I was kind of like, 'Okay, what am I going to have to do?' I tried to make some move and it's working. I'm glad fans like it."

Ovechkin broke two sticks and was forced to use Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang's for his final attempt in the hardest shot competition but the best he registered was 98.2 mph. If you missed it during the skills competition you can check out Ovechkin's breakaways below:

--Mike Green finished with a lap of 15.200 seconds in the fastest skater competition but while he may not have won that event or have his teammate capture the relay, the Capitals defenseman enjoyed the skills competition.

"It was a lot of fun," Green said. "I was just as excited about watching the other guys. I didn't want to mess up much. It would have been nice to get a little warmup before the skate but it was all fun anyways."

While the skills events are all in fun, watching the hardest shot competition can possibly add a little understanding into what players subject themselves to when they block shots -- particularly when trying to thwart a shot by Chara or Nashville's Shea Weber, who recorded three blasts that registered at least 103 mph.

As for Chara, "I think he was just toying with Weber there," Green said. "He must have been holding back a little bit but he came through. Nobody wants to get in front of their shots but you have to and hopefully when fans see that they respect both sides of it."

--One of the more whimsical parts of the skills competition, a new addition for this season, was the inclusion of the goaltenders in more than just the shootout and breakaway drills. The NHL pondered with adding them to either the skating or shooting accuracy events and the former won out.

Carolina's Cam Ward and Boston's Tim Thomas volunteered to take part and well, all-star brilliance ensued. Ward won, finishing in 18.895 seconds while Thomas took a tumble behind the net but still managed to finish in 19 seconds flat.

"After I got selected to the All-Star Game I got a phone call from the league and they were talking about these ideas that they wanted to get us incorporated," Ward said. "I figured it was up to the captain to decide what we were going to be doing and I was hoping that it wasn't going to be the skating.

"I got a call today saying they didn't want to do the shooting accuracy anymore, but would I be open to the idea of skating. Nobody else wanted to do it but Tim Thomas, but I said: 'Well, hey, it's the home crowd. I'll just have fun with it and see what happens,'" Ward said with a laugh. "Luckily he had a bit of a fall in the corner and I could coast right in."


By Katie Carrera  | January 29, 2011; 11:11 PM ET
Categories:  All-Star Game  
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Next: NHLPA poll: Capitals most overrated team

Comments

Perhaps one of the hardest shots in hockey on Saturday was not in the NHL skills competition but Sheldon Souray's blast from the top of right circle for a 4 on three power play goal which provided with Hershey's 1-0 win at the Giant Center.

It was a facinating last two games in Hershey. Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore made his AHL debut this season on Thursday night with Springfield and with Souray never saw so much salary on the ice in the AHL at one time before.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/01/28/commodore-humbled-still-upbeat-in-minors.html?sid=101

Posted by: dull | January 30, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps one of the hardest shots in hockey on Saturday was not in the NHL skills competition but Sheldon Souray's blast from the top of right circle for a 4 on three power play goal which provided with Hershey's 1-0 win at the Giant Center.

It was a facinating last two games in Hershey. Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore made his AHL debut this season on Thursday night with Springfield and with Souray never saw so much salary on the ice in the AHL at one time before.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/01/28/commodore-humbled-still-upbeat-in-minors.html?sid=101

Posted by: dull | January 30, 2011 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Letang didn't look pleased when Ovie took his stick (especially at first). Honestly, I thought it was a kind of rude/selfish thing to do without asking first (even if it was all in good fun).

Was great to see Ovie and Fleury talking it up though after the breakaway challenge - always have liked Marc-Andre's character.

Overall I thought the skills competition was more lame (and less organized) than in previous years, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game. If nothing else, this whole draft element seems to have gotten the players more excited and competitive!

Posted by: Raber | January 30, 2011 5:28 AM | Report abuse

Great entertainment to watch both the draft and skills competition. We really enjoyed seeing these world class athletes interacting, having a good time and razing each other -- and showing off some amazing skills.

It seems to me the NHL does a much better job with its all-star celebration than MLB -- and certainly the very lame NFL Pro Bowl.
MLB should take a lesson here and include fielding and pitching skills competitions to take itself beyond the HR contest. These would not be hard to concoct.

Posted by: CaptiveFan | January 30, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@raber

Letang gave Ovie his stick. He asked.

Though I must say that of all the players to only prepare 2 sticks...Ovie should NOT have been one :)

Come on Ovie! You know you go through at least 3 every 60 minutes!

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought Ovie's breakaway effort was somewhat uninspired. In Montreal, he obviously put some time and effort into it beforehand - yesterday, not so much. I'm just generally getting a feeling that he's on cruise control right now - but I'm not sure that's a bad thing because they are still in good playoff position and the NHL regular season is essentially irrelevant. Even back to the season the Caps went to the Cup finals - it's been proven over and over that the key is to be on a roll in April, not in December.

It really is a different game that's played in April/May than what we see now - if the Caps (and OV8) have recognized that, and are preparing for it....good for them (and us)!

Posted by: perspective6 | January 30, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

can't believe Ovi won anything that had to do with breakaways.. God knows how many of those he has missed in important games over the years.

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

MLB should take a lesson here and include fielding and pitching skills competitions to take itself beyond the HR contest. These would not be hard to concoct.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

MLB doesn't need any of those gimmicks. I wish they would do away with the home-run derby too.

The Mid-Summer Classic is the only all-star game worth watching, along with the all-star race in nascar.

What the NHL really needs is the format they have in nascar, the "winner takes all" format. The race winner in nascar all-star race takes home a cool million and the rest get next to nothing.

If NHL had something similar, you would actually see some defense and hitting in the all-star game which would be worth watching.

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I liked this years all star skills challenge! The relay was especially good. Those passing drills were incredible!

Ovie's break aways were pretty good...he had the best 4, but not the best single...Coreys and ERrikson's might have been better.

Ovie was very humble and corteous saying he would have voted for Corey.

The All Star break is also important bc it gives most players and coaches a MUCH NEEDED rest. Even the players in the game are getting a break and maybe also having a little fun.

I forget which player it was but after he lost the race you could hear him saying it was probably from all the drinks he had the night before.


can't believe Ovi won anything that had to do with breakaways.. God knows how many of those he has missed in important games over the years.

Posted by: joek443

pull your head out of your tush and just enjoy the game...nobody forces you to watch it or the crappy caps! You are forever a miserable person...at least cstanton tominsocal, and all the others can recognize SOME good in hockey and the Caps...while they see many flaws (as do I) they seem to enjoy the team on ocassion...I hope you channel all your miserable self onto this sight...b/c if this is really your personality you are a sad man.


and I know you will say I only see ice cream and sunshine...even though I almost always post a critique along with my positive posts...you just refuse to look at the overall picture and nit pick things to justify being forever nasty.

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

LOL hey coach,

you're the ONLY one who thinks I'm more negative than cstanton which tells all I need to know about you.

NOBODY on here is more negative cstanton, the man has nothing positive to say about even Wayne Gretzky.

and you're actually a teacher?

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Dull, I believe I read that, since his most recent return, Souray has taken out a couple of opposing players who made the unwise decision to try to block his slap shot with their bodies. The closest I have ever been to that is in a scrimmage where a former minor league pro's slap shot buzzed near my head. That was scary enough. I can't imagine being in the line of fire for one of the big bombers like Souray.

I'm still hoping at some point to see Souray paired with Orlov, who also brings serious heat.

Posted by: zmega | January 30, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

and you're actually a teacher?

Posted by: joek443

and a darn good one :)

seriously though...cstanton drives me nuts most of the time, but I can't remember the last time you said something that wasn't negative.

whatever though...to each their own

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

you're the ONLY one who thinks I'm more negative than cstanton which tells all I need to know about you.

NOBODY on here is more negative cstanton, the man has nothing positive to say about even Wayne Gretzky.

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 11:28 AM

cstanton1 states his criticism of the front office and specific on ice play of the players - so this could fall into the category of negative.
i mostly get negativity from your posts (and nascar)

so no, capscoach isn't the only one thta thinks you're more negative and yes, there are many many more that are more negative than cstanton1

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 30, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

ov wins again....for the biggest buffoon at the all star game...what a joke he is

Posted by: wendel2 | January 30, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

whatever though...to each their own

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse
----------------------------------

Ain't that the truth... YOU and I had arguments over the play of Backstrom.

Who was the one defending Backs? I know it wasn't you, I was the one being positive towards him.

So because I disagreed with you, that counts as being "negative"???

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

ok joek....i'm sorry :)

though I still say Backstrom is having more problems than Ovie.

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@joek

and Wendel is WAY worse than u...but I chalk him up as legit crazy and you don't argue with crazy.

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1 states his criticism of the front office and specific on ice play of the players - so this could fall into the category of negative.
---------------------------------------------------

that's right, he has problems with any player who does not hit, including the Great One.

And he and vermont are only "hockey fans" on the planet who would take Scott Stevens over Wayne Gretzky.

Scott Stevens' own parents wouldn't take him over Gretzky!!!

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

backstrom = another young gun shooting blanks

Posted by: wendel2 | January 30, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

backstrom = another young gun shooting blanks

Posted by: wendel2 | January 30, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

that's right, he has problems with any player who does not hit, including the Great One.

joek

but ovie does hit...I think their issues with ovie stem from not scoring and bad defensive play...maybe i'm wrong

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

but ovie does hit...I think their issues with ovie stem from not scoring and bad defensive play...maybe i'm wrong
-----------------------------------------------------------

I think you're confusing cstanton with tmac.

cstanton has no problems with Ovi as far as I know, it's tmac who has big problems with Ovi.

Posted by: joek443 | January 30, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

continuing in a negative vein - why could versus not feed both the PA system AND the video feed from the microphones? I couldn't hear a thing that was being said. Then again maybe that isn't a bad thing...

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 30, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

So have we traded Semin yet?

Posted by: McLobo | January 30, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@joek

lol...u said great one and I went to Ovie...kinda forgot about the real great one

Posted by: capscoach | January 30, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the biggest problem I have with the trick shot thing is the 4 attempts, or 3 in PK's case. Most of those guys only had 1 maybe 2 good ideas then were just doing semi-normal dekes or just circling the net several times looking like an idiot. Limit it to 1 maybe 2 attempts and if you do two go through the order once then let guys do a second round so they can see what the other guys do and maybe get some ideas. That would also allow for time to set up any props that may be used. Also I don't care if he is an All-Star or not but every year MAF is the goalie because he was having fun with it, Price looked like he hating being in the net and wanted out so bad. That or to give the goalies a reason to enjoy it like the shooters have them also have a voting for funniest or best save.

The relay was ok but I would have liked to see something other then the target shot finish it. It was already in the competition find something else to have there. I would have liked to seen the goalies taking shots from one end trying to hit the empty net in the other end. Until the end most of the goalies did nothing, MAF and Price at least got to do the shoot out contest and Thomas and Ward got to skate but the other two didn't even have to do anything until the very end where they only faced like 7 shots each. I would hate having to get all that padding on to do so little.

All that being said I like that have taken out some of the old ones like the 3 on 0 contest are good and other then the boring interviews this one at least kept me interested, at least until the end when I was wondering if the first round of the shootout was ever going to end. I think the biggest thing is they have to come up with some way on the screen to see who is in and who is out because by the end of the round I had already forgotten who was out of it and who still hadn't gone.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 30, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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