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Puck Daddy’s predictions for 2012 NHL All-Star Game Skills Competitions

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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OTTAWA — Why is Pavel Datsyuk, YouTube legend and the top pick in the Fantasy Draft, not in the NHL All-Star Game "trick shot" competition?

"I'm not a big fan," he said on Friday. "I want to be in the regular breakaway, not the tricky shot. I don't have any tricks. I'm out of tricks."

Oh well. There's still an impressive amount of talent in the Breakaway Challenge and the other skills competitions on Saturday night in Ottawa. Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski and Sean Leahy handicap the winners and losers in the orgy of dangles and shots.

The full rules and regulations for each event can be found here on NHL.com, including how the scoring will be tabulated. The events' previous winners are here.

Fastest Skater

Team Chara

1. Brian Campbell (Backwards)
2. Jimmy Howard (Goalie)
3. Colin Greening (Rookie)
4. Phil Kessel
5. Marian Hossa

Team Alfredsson

1. Kris Letang (Backwards)
2. Jonathan Quick (Goalie)
3. Carl Hagelin (Rookie)
4. Keith Yandle
5. Erik Karlsson

Wyshynski says: I'm puzzled by the backwards skater duel, because I genuinely believe Kris Letang is faster but worry about him being strangled by his own hair. Perhaps someone can get him a scrunchie. Overall, I like Team Alfredsson in this one, but if they lose the goalie race it's only fair that the Kings' netminder be mandated to change his name to Jonathan Moderately Paced.

Leahy says: I really like Carl Hagelin to win fastest skater. Not only because he has great wheels but because he'll challenge Letang for best flowing locks in the event. My expectations are low for the goalie race, seeing as how both goalies are essential to their teams' success. This is going to be a Sunday stroll. But I like appropriately named Jonathan Quick. Team Alfredsson overall FTW.

Breakaway Challenge

Team Chara

1. Ryan Johansen (Rookie)
2. Patrick Kane
3. Corey Perry

Goalie: Carey Price

Team Alfredsson

1. Sean Couturier (Rookie)
2. John Tavares
3. Logan Couture

Goalie: Brian Elliott

Wyshynski says: Logan Couture's jovial comportment after being the last pick in the Draft tells me he's shameless, and hence is going to go great lengths to impress the crowd. Wild guess that Tavares does something lacrossey in this; pity that the judges will be unimpressed due to his quality zone starts.

On Team Chara, Ryan Johansen strikes one as a dark horse candidate. But obviously Patrick Kane is spotlight contender here, as there's at least an outside shot his trick will involve 30 empty cans of Miller Lite and a rose ceremony for an ice girl.

Leahy says: Couture has already tweeted out that he's going to use props, which will score points with the ScotiaBank Crowd. John Tavares knows a thing or two about using his hands, and could give him a challenge. Dark horse for me? Patrick Kane. You never know what kind of props he'll pull out. He tried to score on his stomach in a previous event.

Shot Accuracy

Team Chara

1. Cody Hodgson (Rookie)
2. Tyler Seguin
3. Jamie Benn
4. Marian Hossa

Team Alfredsson

1. Matt Read (Rookie)
2. Jason Spezza
3. Steven Stamkos
4. Daniel Sedin

Wyshynski says: … that Daniel Sedin will again win this Toews-less event.

Leahy says: I'll also go with the defending champ Sedin, but keep an eye on Marian Hossa coming back to Ottawa on Team Chara to ruin a victory for Team Alfie.

Skills Challenge Relay

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Wyshynski says: They brought back those stupid mini-nets? Seriously? That was excruciating last year, like watching someone try and sink a cashew nut in a styrofoam cup from 20 feet away. Ugh. I'll go with Team Chara, Relay 1 because of four words: "Pavel Datsyuk, puck control."

Leahy says: Relay 3 for Team Chara will win. Phaneuf and Chara dominate the one-timer, and Malkin can handle the puck on a string as we've seen in his recent tear. Good thing for Relay 4 that Craig Smith is not doing the shot accuracy.

Hardest Shot

Team Chara

1. Luke Adam (Rookie)
2. Dennis Wideman
3. Dion Phaneuf
4. Zdeno Chara

Team Alfredsson

1. Justin Faulk (Rookie)
2. Daniel Alfredsson
3. Jason Spezza
4. Shea Weber

Wyshynski says: Zdeno Chara will successfully defend his crown because he is a ManBeast. Plus, he has a new fake world record to catch from the KHL. The real drama is whether Phaneuf can hit the net.

Leahy says: Chara has only increased his MPH in each of the last four years. It's only a matter of time before he hits 110; or proves a point to Shea Weber by not only firing one through the net but through the boards and the bodies of patrons on the lower bowl.

Elimination Shoot Out

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Wyshynski says: The last shooter standing in this event? I'll go defense: Kris Letang, whose shootout abilities are renowned. My personal hope: That it's Jason Spezza (or "Speza," NHL) as the crowd goes nuts for Giggles.

Leahy says: Corey Perry is the defending champion. I think Giroux and Michalek will be in the Final 2, with the WWE-style ending of Michalek sending the fans home happy with the win.

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