Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Nikita Kucherov helped their Atlantic Division win the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday night. The win gave them the right to decide their opponent for Sunday’s All-Star Game and their opponent.
Watch the players intros, with Snoop Dogg DJ-ing, playing songs uncensored. Because Snoop does what he wants.
The four-line challenge, was a new event this year, and it should definitely be scrapped next year. It’s too similar to the accuracy competition, with is a timed event with some suspense. Even the players were apparently confused about the four-line challenge, even the NHL didn’t have much to say other than “Pacific wins” on their results page. The only redeeming element of the competition was when Mike Smith made it from the other end of the ice, giving his team a ridiculous 20 points.
The Skills Challenge Relay is a smorgasbord of hockey skills. Kucherov took part in the dizzying part of the relay, showing off his skating skills and puck control around bigger-than-life Gatorade bottles. The Atlantic lost their heat to the Metro.
In the fastest skating competition, Kucherov went up first against Cam Atkinson. The two kept up at the same pace according to the clock, but in the end, a burst of speed propelled him over the finish line first. Kucherov’s time: 13.160 seconds. It wasn’t good enough to beat Connor McDavid’s 13.020 seconds, but Kucherov still earned his team a point.
The hardest shot competition, belongs to Shea Weber — it belongs to defensemen, really — but Hedman gave it a go here. He missed his first shot, and went bar down on the second at 94.2 mph. Seth Jones 98.1 mph easily beat that.
In the shootout competition, Kucherov and Hedman both participated... and unfortunately both missed.
But the good news is the Atlantic Division ended up winning! Captain Carey Price selected Sidney Crosby’s Metro Division, and they’ll play the second game. Get the full results of the skills competition.
The NHL All-Star Game takes place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC.