Next Saturday (January 28) is the annual NHL All-Star Skills Competition, held the night before the All-Star Game, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The NHL today revealed the format for each of the events. The division that wins the event as a whole will get to choose which division they wish to face first in the mini tournament played the next day.
The team captains, elected by the fans, will choose which players from their team will participate in each of the six events in the skills competition. The captains are Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens – Atlantic Division), PK Subban (Nashville Predators – Central Division), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins – Metropolitan Division) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers – Pacific Division). Each of the 44 players selected to represent their teams “will compete in at least one of the six rounds of skill-based contests.” Taylor Hall will be the Devils’ lone representative.
The six competitions are:
- The Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay: Three points available, team with “fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.” A timed relay, seven skaters and one goalie will compete for each division. According to the NHL website, there will be “four relays with five challenges each.” The five challenges are: one-timers (three shooters, one passer); puck control (one skater); stick handling (one skater) and goalie goals (one goalie). According to the NHL site, “each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers (a maximum of 30 seconds will be allocated), passing (a maximum of 45 seconds will be allocated and goalie goals (a maximum of 30 seconds will be allocated). The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.”
The two heats will consist of the Central Division versus the Pacific Division and the Atlantic Division versus the Metropolitan Division.
- Honda NHL Four Line Challenge: With one point available (“team with most points at end of event scores one point”), this is an interesting event. Each team will furnish four shooters in one of four positions: near blue line, center line, far blue line and far goal line. The first shooter will be set up at the near blue line and will try to score “in either the upper left or upper right corner of the net” in two attempts. Each goal scores a point for their team. The next shooter gets two attempts to score in one of the four corners of the net from center ice. Lower corners get one point, upper corners are three points. Next up, a shooter from the far blue line gets two shots to shoot in any of the corners or the five hole. Lower corners or five hole are one point, upper corners score five points. The last set of shooters shoot from the far goal line and get two attempts. They must score five hole and a successful shot nets ten points.
In a great twist, captains can substitute the final shooter (the one from the goal line) with a goalie. If a goalie scores, the team gets 20 points. This would have been the perfect competition for Martin Brodeur. The first two All-Stars to score two goals five hole from the goal line win a 2017 Honda CRV.
- DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting: Six points are on the line, with the winner of each divisional matchup scoring one point. In addition, the player who hits the four targets in the fastest time gets a bonus point for their team. Also, if the record (7.3 seconds set by Daniel Sedin) is broken, the player breaking it scores a bonus point for their team.
Two shooters from each team and two passers, as a shooter from each division go head-to-head to try to take out four 15-inch diameter targets in each corner of the net in the quickest time. “The teams will be situated in opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The shooter to hit all four targets in the fastest time wins.”
The match ups will be: Atlantic Division versus Metro Division and Pacific Division versus Central Division alternating twice.
- Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater: Six points up for grabs, as the winner of each match up gets one point, fastest skater gets a bonus point. An additional point if the fastest skater beats Dylan Larkin’s record of 13.172 seconds.
This is a fastest skater race. Two players from each division go head-to-head. “The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways.” The skaters are timed and if there is a tie, each team receives a point. At the conclusion of the head-to-head match ups, the skater with the fastest time “will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break” Larkin’s record. If two skaters are tied for the fastest time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink.
Again, the Pacific Division versus Central Division and Atlantic versus Metro will alternate against each other.
- Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot: On the line are six points with bonus points going to the player with the hardest shot in this completion and a bonus point if someone breaks Zdeno Chara’s record (108.8 mph).
Two shooters from each team (Atlantic versus Metro and Pacific versus Central alternating again) go head-to-head with two shots apiece. Each team alternates taking slap shots which are timed in miles per hour. The highest of the two shots are recorded.
- Discover NHL Shootout: This event is similar to the Home Run Derby in the MLB All-Star Game. One point is available for each goal scored and two points for a goal scored with a Discover puck. “Nine skaters from each of the top-scoring teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will participate.” One additional player will be chosen by the captain from their respective conference.
According to the NHL’s site, “the scoreboard will reset to 0-0 prior to the start of the Discover NHL Shootout. Goals scored count as one point.” The site says that the players chosen by the captains “from the losing team will be designated Discover puck players.” Their goals count as two points.
The goalies will switch off after five shooters and the NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt (i.e. no stopping or doubling back, etc.). If both teams are tied after the ten shooters, shootout continues in “sudden death format until a winner is determined.” The captains will choose each shooter before a shot and skaters “are eligible to shoot multiple times, without restriction.”