DOUGHTY, ROBITAILLE VICTORIOUS
Rookies Drop Sophomores; Brown Eliminated in Shootout
|Drew Doughty tallies a goal against Carey Price at the 2009 NHL YoungStars game.
All the stars came out for the red carpet, trickling by one or two at a time, stopping to speak and sign for the assembled crowd of fans with Habs netminder, Carey Price, who played in today’s YoungStars Game and will start in tomorrow’s All-Star match-up, getting the loudest welcome.
All-Star action started on the Bell Centre ice with the seats almost fully occupied for an open practice this morning followed by the skills competitions and YoungStars game. Vincent Lecavalier, recently the subject of trade rumors that had him coming to the Canadiens, was greeted as if he was already on the roster, earning the biggest hand of all the players introduced before the fun started.
The evening’s entertainment began with two of the skills contests that have become a staple of All-Star festivities. First up was the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater. Eight men stood at center ice and skated a lap around the rink. Zach Parise set the tone with a time of 14.59 seconds.
Jeff Carter came next. The Flyer flew around in 14.43 seconds, a mark that held up through Blackhawk, Brian Campbell, Panther Jay Bouwmeester and Vancouver’s Mason Raymond’s tries, but fell to the final competitor, rookie Andrew Cogliano, who closed the event out with a 14.31 second lap.
Next up was the Scotiabank NHL Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge. With last year’s winner, Alex Ovechkin, the last to show his stuff, the pretenders to his crown, Patrick Kane, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Getzlaf, Alex Kovalev and rookie Steven Stamkos all did their best, showing their shiftiest and niftiest moves, but in vain.
The reigning champ took the day, as decided by the votes text messaged in by viewers across North America, with a stick in each hand and wearing a floppy canvas hat festooned with a Canadian flag, he garnished 42.8% of the votes.
While waiting for the votes to be tabulated, the YoungStars Game game, saw a team of rookie standouts, one of them Kings d-man Drew Doughty taking on the best sophomores in the NHL. Playing three six-minute periods of what is best described as good old pond shinny, the rookie team, coached by Kings legend, Luc Robitaille got out to an early lead and stretched it, eventually taking the game 9-5 with Doughty potting the game’s final goal. Doughty also added an assist.
Doughty, Robitialle Victorious at YoungStars | Box Score
Afterwards he summed up his All-Star experience.
“It felt great out there. It was fun just to be involved in it all," Doughty said. "It was awesome.”
Tomas Kaberle, who captured the last McDonald’s Shooting Accuracy competition didn’t fare so well this time around, finishing last among the eight contestants, using all eight attempts to hit three of the four targets. Both Ottawa’s Danny Heatley and Penguin, Evgeni Malkin, went four-for-four and moved on to a second round with Malkin hitting three targets in the four shots allowed and Heatley only breaking two.
|Dustin Brown is denied on his NHL Elimination Shootout attempt.
Boston’s Zdeno Chara, never a crowd favorite when playing against the Canadiens, came into this year’s Cisco NHL Hardest Shot determined to three peat and did just that. His 105.4 mph second attempt, broke Al Iafrate’s record of 105.3 mph, standing since 1993, the last time the All-Star Game was in Montreal.
Chara Sets Record | Hardest Shot
The Gatorade NHL Elimination Challenge brought the curtain down on the evening’s activities with 40 players, 36 skaters and four goalies beginning the first round. Nine players shot on each goaltender with those not getting the puck past him eliminated from the competition.
Kings captain Dustin Brown made a brief appearance but was thwarted by Henrik Lundqvist, ending his participation after a single shot. He was in good company as two thirds of the aspiring scorers failed to advance. Veteran Shane Doan, the only member of the Phoenix Coyotes who pre-dates the team’s move from Winnipeg, eventually emerged on top, taking five rounds to do it.
Tomorrow evening Kings captain, Dustin Brown, gets to enjoy the first NHL All-Star game of his career, one that will no doubt have him see more ice time than he did tonight.
SPEAKING OF ALL-STAR GAMES...
The ECHL announced on Friday that the Ontario Reign, the Los Angeles Kings ECHL affiliate have been selected to host the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game. The Reign are averaging more than 5,000 fans per game in their first season, including two crowds of more than 8,500 at Citizens Business Bank Arena, which opened its doors in October. "The ECHL is proud to bring our annual showcase event to the City of Ontario," said Commissioner Brian McKenna. "The state-of-the-art arena, nearby airport and convenient hotel, shopping and entertainment options make Ontario an ideal choice to host our players, team officials, sponsors, partners and fans from across the continent...more"
In addition, the Reign will wear Kings jerseys on Sunday, Jan. 25, as they don their affiliate NHL Los Angeles Kings inspired jerseys for "Affiliation Night"! The Reign and Condors will each wear jerseys inspired by their NHL affiliates and the Reign will auction the jerseys off their backs in a silent auction during the game with proceeds benefiting the San Antonio Community Hospital.
SEEN ON THE SCENE
Hockey Hall of Fame legends Jean Beliveau, Rod Gilbert and Clark Gillies were all at the Bell Centre.
YOUNGSTARS BECOME BIG STARS
Thirteen players chosen for the 2009 All-Star game appeared in a YoungStar Game previously, including two from last year, Patrick Kane and Nicklas Backstrom.
CHANGING THEIR STRIPES
The on-ice officials for the All-Star Weekend are wearing new .18% lighter and allowing for a greater range of motion, the new Reebok jerseys also provide better moisture management.
Compiled by Mike Wyman | Special to LAKings.com