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All-Star Skills Competition: How to Watch and Open Thread

Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby kick off their All-Star experience with the skills competition

Getty Images (Rob Carr / Patrick Smith / Bruce Bennett)

The All-Star festivities kick off this evening at Staples Center, as Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin join their Metropolitan Division compatriots in a battle of skills against the rest of the League.

When: Saturday, January 28 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
How to Watch: NBCSN (US); CBC, Sportsnet, TVA (Canada)

Players from each of the four divisions will take part in six contests -

  • Challenge Relay
  • Four Line Challenge
  • Accuracy Shooting
  • Fastest Skater
  • Hardest Shot
  • Shootout

Ovechkin will be taking part in three events tonight, with a spot in the Challenge Relay, the unenviable task of facing off against Shea Weber in the Hardest Shot, and wrapping it all up in the Shootout. Holtby has two tasks, including the Challenge Relay and the Shootout.


Here’s a breakdown of each of the events, via NHL.com:

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay

This timed relay event - involving seven skaters and one goalie from each team - will consist of four relays with five challenges each: (1) One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; (2) Passing, with one passer per team; (3) Puck Control, with one skater per team; (4) Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and (5) Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

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.

There will be two heats:

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

One Timers: Keith, Suter, Tarasenko vs. Pavelski, Kesler, Carter

Passing: Toews vs. Doughty

Puck Control: Seguin vs. Fowler

Stick-Handling: Kane vs. Gaudreau

Goalie Goals: Dubnyk vs. Smith

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

One Timers: Karlsson, Trocheck, Okposo vs. S. Jones, Ovechkin, Simmonds

Passing: Nielsen vs. Tavares

Puck Control: Marchand vs. Faulk

Stick-Handling: Matthews vs. Crosby

Goalie Goals: Price vs. Holtby

Points Available: 3 - The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.

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Honda NHL Four Line Challenge

This event involves four shooters from each team. Each shooter will shoot from one of four shooting positions; near blue line, center line, far blue line and far goal line.

The first shooter from each team takes two shots from the near blue line in an attempt to score goals in either the upper left or upper right corner of the net. Successful shots score one point for their team. The second shooter from each team takes two shots from center ice in an attempt to score goals in one of the four corners of the net. Successful shots in the lower corners score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score three points for their team. The third shooter from each team takes two shots from the far blue line in an attempt to score a goal in one of the four corners of the net or the five hole. Successful shots in the lower corners or five hole score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score five points for their team. The fourth shooter from each team takes two shots from the far goal line in an attempt to score a goal in the five hole. Successful shots score 10 points for their team. Captains can substitute the fourth shooter with a goalie. A successful shot by a goalie is awarded 20 points for their team.

Shooter 1: Kucherov (Atlantic), McDonagh (Metropolitan), Suter (Central), Pavelski (Pacific)

Shooter 2: Karlsson (Atlantic), Simmonds (Metropolitan), Seguin (Central), Burns (Pacific)

Shooter 3: Trocheck (Atlantic), Hall (Metropolitan), Subban (Central), Kesler (Pacific)

Shooter 4: Weber (Atlantic), S. Jones (Metropolitan), MacKinnon (Central), Horvat (Pacific)

Points Available: 1 - The Team with most points at end of event scores one point.

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DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting

Two shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The shooter to hit all four targets in the fastest time wins.

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Okposo vs. Tavares

Matthews vs. Crosby

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Laine vs. McDavid

Kane vs. Carter

Points Available: 6 -The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point for his team. If a player breaks Daniel Sedin's record of 7.3 seconds, they score one bonus point for their team.

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Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

Two players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break Dylan Larkin's record (13.172 seconds). If, at the completion of the event, two skaters are tied for the fastest overall time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink in an attempt to break the historical best record.

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Marchand vs. Atkinson

Kucherov vs. Simmonds

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Tarasenko vs. Horvat

MacKinnon vs. McDavid

Points Available: 6 - The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Dylan Larkin's record of 13.172 seconds, an additional bonus point will be awarded to his team.

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Oscar Mayer NHL Hardest Shot

Two shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Hedman vs. S. Jones

Weber vs. Ovechkin

Central Division vs. Pacific Division

Laine vs. Burns

Subban vs. Doughty

Points Available: 6 - The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the hardest shot scores one bonus point; if a player breaks Zdeno Chara's record of 108.8 mph, they score one bonus point for their team.

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Discover NHL Shootout

Nine skaters and two goaltenders from each of the top-scoring teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will participate. Captains of respective teams will choose one additional skater from the other team in their conference. The scoreboard will be reset to 0-0 prior to the start of the Discover NHL Shootout. Goals scored count as one point. The captains' selections from the losing teams will be designated Discover puck players, and goals scored by these players will count as two points. Goalies will switch after every five shooters. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt. If the teams are tied after 10 shooters, the shootout will continue in a sudden death format until a winner is determined. The Captains will select their next shooter before each shot. Players are eligible to shoot multiple times, without restriction.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored; 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

The Division winner of the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition will earn the right to select both their first opponent and when their 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game semi-final matchup will be played; first or second at Sunday's 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game (3:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 p.m. PT, NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).