Chara, Seguin in Hardest Shot Competition

Chara, Seguin in Hardest Shot Competition

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comRALEIGH, N.C. The roster have been set for the Toyota Superskills Challenge involving the NHL All-Stars at the RBC Center, and it appears both Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin will take part in the hardest shot competition.Eric Staal and his team captains sat down with NHL events coordinator Brendan Shanahan on Saturday afternoon, and came up with the rosters for the skills competitions set to take place tonight.Chara is the reigning champion with a slap shot of 105.4 miles per hour achieved on the Bell Centre ice in Montreal during the 2009 All-Star game, and is seen as the prohibitive favorite in the competition again this season. The 18-year-old Seguin will also compete for Team Staal along with Chara, and it should be interesting since Seguin isnt particularly renowned for a booming slapper.Chara will also take part in the Skills Challenge Relay, and both skaters will participate in the Elimination Shootout at the end of the skills competition. Tim Thomas will take part as one of the goalies involved, but yet again this season theres no real defining skill competition for the masked men.Here's a full rundown of the participants courtesy of NHL.com: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater - Order determined on the iceTeam Staal
Michael Grabner New York Islanders
Mike Green Washington Capitals
Patrick Sharp Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks
Marc Staal New York Rangers
Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins Team Lidstrom
Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks
Taylor Hall Edmonton Oilers
Matt Duchene Colorado Avalanche
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Keith Yandle Phoenix CoyotesThe Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, the first event of Honda NHL SuperSkills,
will consist of six preliminary races with two players skating at one time taking one lap of the ice; the players from each team with the fastest time for their team will then meet in one final match race. One of the races will be between two players skating backwards. To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here: http:bit.lyeEOay4BlackBerry NHL Breakaway ChallengeTeam Staal
P.K. Subban Montreal Canadiens
Corey Perry Anaheim Ducks
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals

Team Lidstrom
Evgeny Dadonov Florida Panthers
Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Henrik Sedin Vancouver CanucksThe fan favorite BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge returns again this year, the event Alex Ovechkin has made his own by taking home the title each of the first two years. A test of the amount of creativity a player can insert into a breakaway, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will be able to vote for their favorite player by texting the number that corresponds to the player of their choice to 81812. Each skater will attempt four shots with no limits. Shooters can start their attempt from anywhere with full access to the offensive zone, including behind the net. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply. The shooter with the highest fan vote will score four points for his team, second place will score three points and third place will score one point.To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.McDonald's NHL Accuracy Shooting - Order determined on the iceTeam Staal
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes
Logan Couture San Jose Sharks
Patrik Elias New Jersey Devils
Ryan Kesler Vancouver Canucks
Passer: Dan Boyle San Jose Sharks
Passer: Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche Team Lidstrom
Brad Richards Dallas Stars
Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Martin Havlat Minnesota Wild
Derek Stepan New York Rangers
Passer: Nicklas Lidstrom Red Wings
Passer: Danny Briere Philadelphia FlyersFrom 25 feet in front of the net, shooters take aim at four foam targets attached to the inner side of the goalposts. The objective is to hit all of the targets in the fastest time. A total of eight points are available. The winner of each match scores one point. The players with the fastest time from each team will go head-to-head in the final round for the title of the NHL's most accurate shooter and two additional team points. To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.G Series NHL Skills Challenge RelayTeam Staal
Group 1
Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes
Daniel Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Erik Karlsson Ottawa Senators
Dan Boyle San Jose Sharks
Tyler Ennis Buffalo Sabres
Paul Stastny Colorado Avalanche
Corey Perry Anaheim Ducks Group 2
Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins
Mike Green Washington Capitals
Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers
Patrik Elias New Jersey Devils
Jamie McBain Carolina Hurricanes
David Backes St. Louis Blues
Marc Staal New York Rangers
Jeff Skinner Carolina Hurricanes Team Lidstrom
Group 1
Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings
Brad Richards Dallas Stars
Loui Eriksson Dallas Stars
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Phoenix Coyotes
Henrik Sedin Vancouver Canucks
Martin St. Louis Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Duchene Colorado Avalanche
Jonathan Toews Chicago BlackhawksGroup 2
Shea Weber Nashville Predators
Dustin Byfuglien Atlanta Thrashers
Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs
Keith Yandle Phoenix Coyotes
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Martin Havlat Minnesota Wild
Kevin Shattenkirk Colorado Avalanche
Danny Briere Philadelphia FlyersThis 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.To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.XM NHL Hardest Shot - Order determined on the iceTeam Staal
Zdeno Chara Boston Bruins
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
David Backes St. Louis Blues
Tyler Seguin Boston Bruins
Rick Nash Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrick Sharp Chicago Blackhawks Team Lidstrom
Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Dustin Byfuglien Atlanta Thrashers
Brent Burns - Minnesota Wild
Shea Weber Nashville Predators
Cam Fowler Anaheim DucksBruins blueliner Zdeno Chara not only won his third consecutive XM NHL Hardest Shot competition in 2009, but his blast of 105.4 miles an hour broke the all-time record previously held by Al Iafrate and set in 1993. The event returns this year with six head-to-head matches. Two players will square off in each round, valued at one point each. The highest recorded shot (by radar in mph) will earn one point for his team. The players from each team with the hardest single shot will meet in a final match, with two points scored to the winner, to determine the NHL's hardest shooter.To watch an EA Sports video on this skill, click here.Discover NHL Elimination ShootoutThe battle between Team Staal and Team Lidstrom will be ultimately decided as all of the All-Stars and Rookies compete in the Discover NHL Elimination Shootout, a time-honored game of hockey survivor. Shooters who score will move on to the next round in the shootout, with the All-Star goalies rotating after every third shooter. Rounds of the shootout will continue until only one player scores and the other(s) don't; the last scoring shooter wins. Every goal scored will count as one point for his team.

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The Bruins lost Matt Beleskey for six weeks to a knee injury this week, and now they’re hoping to get another winger back now that 22-year-old Frank Vatrano has rejoined the Bruins at practice.

Vatrano was wearing a red no-contact jersey at Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, but his presence along with the other players at the team skate means that he’s moving closer toward a return to the B’s lineup. While initial timetables for his recovery from foot surgery had him in the early January range for returning to the Bruins lineup, it appears that he might be at least a couple of weeks ahead of that initial expectation.

Either way Vatrano is happy to be back on the ice with his teammates after the torn ligaments in his foot wiped out his training camp and the first two plus months of the regular season for him.

“It was a big step for me today. It was nice to be out there with the guys for the first time,” said Vatrano, who scored a combined 44 goals last season for Providence and Boston in a breakout season with the B’s organization. “I’ve gone through the rehab and done everything I need to do to get back playing, so now the next step is getting back on the ice with the guys. I felt great, so now it’s just waiting to hear the news when I start playing again.”

While Vatrano is still a young, relatively inexperienced player with just one full year of pro hockey under his belt, the sense from the Bruins is that he’s going to help a team that’s currently ranked 25th in the NHL in offense. Claude Julien was encouraged by seeing him out there in the red, no-contact jersey that his teammates were chirping him about, and said that his level play at last spring’s world championships should give him confidence when he jumps back into a big role with the Black and Gold.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Frank. That’s the best way for him to get to the pace of our game because it’s going to take a while when you’ve been out that long,” said Vatrano. “I think his experience at world championships last year is a real blessing in disguise because he gained a lot of confidence there. I think that’s going to help him a lot more than had he not gone.

“He played against a lot of elite players last year, and he fared really well. I think he’ll be coming in now with some confidence, and we just have to sure coming in that we give him every opportunity to succeed by using him properly, and giving him a chance to find his game.”

That certainly sounds like the Bruins are preparing for a top-6 role and maybe some power play time once the young, sharp-shooting Vatrano is back up to full speed. That should be fun to watch once he’s ready to play, and ready to again unleash that shot and release that rivals anybody else for tops on the Bruins roster. 

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place.