The festivities for the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend officially began on Thursday but the 2012 All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. might be the most entertaining part of the entire weekend, save for the game itself.
The Skills Competition will see Team Chara battle Team Alfredsson as Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara will draft fellow All-Stars to compete in six events, some individual and some team-related, in a showcase of the many facets of hockey beyond just skating and scoring.
First up is the Fastest Skater competition, in which five players from each team race in a series of heats to determine the fastest. The winner of each heat and the overall winner is awarded a point for their team. Michael Grabner won the competition last year with a speed of 14.238 seconds.
In the Breakway Challenge, three shooters and one goalie from each team participate. Each player attempts three shots as they try to score a goal in the most impressive way possible, drawing votes from judges. Player with the most votes gets a point for their team. Alex Ovechkin has won this event all three years of its existence. Since he's not participating in All-Star Weekend, we'll have a new winner this year.
For Accuracy Shooting, four foam targets are set at the four corners of the goal. Two players pass the puck to the shooter and the shooter who tries to the four targets in the least amount of time. The two fastest from each team go head-to-head for the title. Daniel Sedin hit all four targets in 8.9 seconds to claim the prize last year, the first in which time determined the winner. Ray Bourque claimed eight accuracy titles, either outright or shared.
In the Skills Challenge Relay, four separate relays consist of the following: one timers, passing, puck control relay, stick handling, and shooting accuracy. The team that finishes in the fastest time is the winner. Team Staal took this one last year.
The Hardest Shot measures exactly what it sounds like. The hockey player who shoots the puck the hardest, as measured by MPH, and advances to the championship will win it for his team. Captain Zdeno Chara has won this event four years running. He's got a ways to go if he wants to match Al McInnis, who won it seven times.
Finally, the Elimination Shootout asks hockey players to do what they do best. Score a goal against the goaltender and move on. You have one shot and each goal is worth a point. This is the fourth year of this event and Corey Perry was your winner last year.
Check out the rest of the Skills Competition history here and get ready to watch the pucks fly.
For full coverage of the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, check in with our StoryStream.