RALEIGH -- The players have strolled on the red carpet, awkwardly talking about how they picked out their outfits for the evening, and now, they're inside RBC Center preparing for tonight's All-Star Skills Competition. By the way, we totally are against calling it "SuperSkills" because well.... how hokey is that? Skills Competition, guys. Nice and easy.
Anyway, you're not here for the editorializing. Let's get to the evening's events and tonight's participants.
For starters, you can find tonight's event at 6 p.m. Eastern on Versus in the United States and on CBC in Canada.
Now, the events.
- We'll start with the the classic Fastest Skater competition. One lap around the ice, fastest time wins. There will be six prelims, followed by one final match between the two top times from each team. Apparently, some skaters will try this thing backwards. That should be a sight.
The participants: Team Staal will go with Michael Grabner, Mike Green, Patrick Sharp, Ryan Kesler, Marc Staal and Kris Letang. Team Lidstrom will go with Duncan Keith, Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Keith Yandle.
- Next up will be the only interactive event of the night, the Breakaway Challenge. This is the one where Alex Ovechkin will do something silly. Fans can vote via text message on the most creative breakaway attempt. The following skaters each will get four attempts...
For Team Staal, P.K. Subban, Corey Perry and Ovechkin. For Team Lidstrom, Evgeny Dadonov, Anze Kopitar and Henrik Sedin. First, second and third place will all win points.
- Do we need to explain Accuracy Shooting? Hit the targets, save the world. Here are the participants...
Team Staal: Rick Nash, Daniel Sedin, Eric Staal, Logan Couture, Patrik Elias, Ryan Kesler. Dan Boyle and Paul Stastny will be passers.
Team Lidstrom: Brad Richards, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat and Derek Stepan. Danny Briere and Nicklas Lidstrom will be passers.
- The Skills Challenge Relay is complex, so we're going to let the NHL explain this one.
This new event for 2011 is an all-around competition that will showcase the one-timer, passing, puck control, stick-handling and accuracy shooting in four exciting relays. In the one-timer event, three shooters (with the assistance of one passer) must score three goals over an eight inch barrier; in the passing event, one passer must complete a pass into each of the six nets set up around the rink; in the puck control event, one skater will skate through a series of cones while keeping possession of the puck; in the stick handling event, one skater will control the puck through a series of obstacles; and in the accuracy shooting event, one player will take aim at four targets. Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next skill in this timed relay event worth a total of eight points. The group with the fastest time will score four points, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.
Most of the All-Stars will be participating in this one. 16 per team.
- The always-awesome Hardest Shot competition will be next. Zdeno Chara will obviously try to keep his title. Up against him will be...
Team Staal: Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom, David Backes, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp and Rick Nash.
Team Lidstrom: Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos, Dustin Byfuglien, Shea Weber, Brent Burns and Cam Fowler.
- The final event will be the Elimination Shootout, where each All-Star will have a chance on goal. Goalies will rotate every three shooters as the teams alternate. If you score, you move on, while every single goal counts as a point for your team.
It should be a fun night. Stick with us as we experience it all here in Raleigh.