Chara Flexes Muscles at NHL Hardest Shot Competition

Shea Weber made him sweat, but at the end it was Boston Bruins hulking defenceman, Zdeno Chara, who once again won the NHL hardest shot competition at the 2011 NHL Skills Competition.
Chara, who has won for the past two years, experienced a big scare when Weber, who plays for the Nashville Predators, took the early lead in the competition. Going head to head in round one Weber, who is also a defenceman, out blasted Chara 104.8 mph to 104.1 mph. When it came down to an all important, winner takes all shot, Chara, who has 10 goals on the season, got the RBC Center crowd in a frenzy after connecting on the winning shot, which travelled at 105.9 mph. After being outgunned by Weber in the first round Chara didn’t realize that he was still in the contest, which made things even sweeter for him. “I wasn’t exactly sure what the rules were,” Chara said. “I knew there was some kind of final or something, then I realized, ‘OK I have one more shot.’ I tried to do my best and it did happen, so I was glad.” Meanwhile Weber, who has nine goals on the season, thought that maybe Chara was perhaps pacing himself all along. “I thought he was saving something,” Weber said. “Maybe I was trying a little too hard. I think in the first round I just shot the puck and then I was really trying to put something into it after that.” In the finals when it really counted Weber’s hardest shot was 103.4 mph.

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Kessel Chosen Last at All-Star Fantasy Player Draft

Toronto Maple Leafs’ lone All-Star representative, Phil Kessel, insists that he just wants to have fun during All-Star Weekend and that it didn’t bother him in the least to have been the last player picked. When Carolina Hurricanes’ Eric Staal picked Paul Stastny with the second last pick on Friday, it meant that Kessel was rewarded with a car for being the final pick. “They were all just excited about the car,” said Kessel in reference to his Leaf teammates who were texting him and giving him the business about being the last pick. “They’re all on trips and stuff. I was supposed to go with a bunch of guys on vacation. They’re all happy for me. We’ve got a great team in Toronto.” Stastny, who plays for the Colorado Avalanche, admitted that when it came down to only five or six players waiting to be drafted, there was no tension about being the last pick. “I think we all were hoping one of us would go last so we’d get that car,” Stastny said. “It was fun the way they did it and it was good to be part of.” Besides a car Kessel, who has 19 goals and 34 points, also received $20,000 to be donated to the charity of his choice. Kessel, who had and beat testicular cancer in 2006, decided to have that money go towards a cancer charity.

2011 NHL All-Star rosters

NICKLAS LINDSTROM’S TEAM

GOALIES

1. TIM THOMAS (BOSTON BRUINS) 24-5-6 GAA 1.81 SP .945
2. MARC-ANDRE FLEURY (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS) 23-11-2 GAA GAA 2.19 SP .925
3. JONAS HILLER (ANAHEIM DUCKS) 25-16-3 GAA 2.50 SP .926

DEFENSE

1. NICKLAS LINDSTROM (DETROIT RED WINGS) G. 11 PTS. 42 -3
2. DUNCAN KEITH (CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS) G. 3 PTS. 28 -4
3. DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN (ATLANTA THRASHERS) G. 16 PTS. 41 +3
4. KEITH YANDLE (PHOENIX COYOTES) G. 8 PTS. 44 +4
5. BRENT BURNS (MINNESOTA WILD) G. 14 PTS. 31 -3

FORWARDS

1. HENRIK SEDIN (VANCOUVER CANUCKS) G. 11 PTS. 61 +18
2. JONATHAN TOEWS (CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS) G. 17 PTS. 40 +7
3. BRAD RICHARDS (DALLAS STARS) G. 20 PTS. 57 +7
4. ANZE KOPITAR (LOS ANGELES KINGS) G. 16 PTS. 49 +16
5. STEVEN STAMKOS (TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING) G. 38 PTS. 67 +12
6. PATRICK KANE (CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS) G 13 PTS. 37 -8
7. MARTIN ST. LOUIS (TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING) G. 20 PTS. 60 +6
8. DANNY BRIERE (PHILADELPHIA FLYERS) G. 26 PTS. 45 +16
9. MARTY HAVLAT (MINNESOTA WILD) G. 14 PTS. 44 +1
10. PHIL KESSEL (TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS) G. 19 PTS. 34 -19
11. LOUIE ERIKSSON (DALLAS STARS) G. 17 PTS. 49 +15

ERIC STAAL’S TEAM

GOALIES

1. HENRIK LUNDQVIST (NEW YORK RANGERS) 21-16-3 GAA 2.29 SP .924
2. CAM WARD (CAROLINA HURRICANES) 22-15-5 GAA 2.70 SP .920
3. CAREY PRICE (MONTREAL CANADIENS) 24-16-5 GAA 2.36 SP .920

DEFENCE

1. DAN BOYLE (SAN JOSE SHARKS) G. 5 PTS. 32 -10
2. KRIS LETANG (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS) G. 7 PTS. 41 +22
3. MIKE GREEN (WASHINGTON CAPITALS) G. 8 PTS. 22 +9
4. ERIK KARLSSON (OTTAWA SENATORS) G. 8 PTS. 28 -17
5. ZDENO CHARA (BOSTON BRUINS) G. 10 PTS. 26 +22
6. MARC STAAL (NEW YORK RANGERS) G. 6 PTS. 19 +12

FORWARDS

1. ERIC STAAL (CAROLINA HURRICANES) G. 25 PTS. 52 -9
2. RYAN KESLER (VANCOUVER CANUCKS) G. 27 PTS. 47 +18
3.JEFF SKINNER (CAROLINA HURRICANES) G. 18 PTS. 40 +3
4. PAUL STASTNY (COLORADO AVALANCHE) G. 17 PTS. 43 -1
5. RICK NASH (COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS) G. 23 PTS. 43 +2
6. CLAUDE GIROUX (PHILADELPHIA FLYERS G. 19 PTS. 47 +11
7. COREY PERRY (ANAHEIM DUCKS) G. 25 PTS. 51 +1
8. DAVID BACKES (ST. LOUIS BLUES) G. 16 PTS. 37 +13
9. ALEX OVECHKIN (WASHINGTON CAPITALS) G. 19 PTS. 51 +14
10. DANIEL SEDIN (VANCOUVER CANUCKS) G. 27 PTS. 64 +21
11. PATRICK SHARP (CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS) G. 26 PTS. 46 -10
12. PATRICK ELIAS (NEW JERSEY DEVILS) G. 13 PTS. 37 -6

Globe and Mail Questions to Gary Bettman on Concussions

On head shots and concussions:

“I believe that [new] Rule 48 has been effective in dealing with lateral or blindside hits where the head is the primary point of contact. We’re still seeing more concussions than we’d like. We have a very strong history going back to the late ’90s of being pro-active on injuries, in particular concussions by doing, among other things, base-line testing. We need to continue to focus on this and see what we can do to eliminate, as much as possible, concussions from the game, acknowledging that there is a physical element to our game, so that there will undoubtedly be some level of concussions.”

On the theory that it requires a concussion to the likes of star Sidney Crosby to initiate action:

“I don’t buy that characterization. In fact, in his case it was a collision. It didn’t violate Rule 48. It didn’t fit within any other criterion of what would get punished or suspended. That was a consequence of a physical game… As long as body contact is encouraged, and our game is played at a high rate of speed, then you’re going to have some concussions.”

I personally stated over a year ago on Off the Record that it would take a super star player to get hurt to make change and it has happened, but what about all the other palyers along the way. Booth, Toews, Lindros, Primeau, and now Savard; one is too many! Help us through education. Please go to playitcoolhockey.com and learn more today about the cause, the effect and consequences of concussions and what we can do to reduce them.

Martin Havlat and Keith Yandle added to All-Star Roster

The NHL announced on Tuesday that Minnesota Wild’s forward, Martin Havlat and Phoenix Coyotes defenceman, Keith Yandle, will be going to this month’s All Star Game in Raleigh North Carolina. Havlat, who is quietly having a solid season with 13 goals and 43 points, will be participating in his second All-Star Game. In his first appearance back in 2007 Havlat, who at that time was with the Chicago Blackhawks, enjoyed a two goal three point performance. Meanwhile Yandle, who is only 24, will be taking part in his first All-Star Game. Yandle, who leads the team with 40 points, is in the middle of .. what is .. a breakthrough season. He is currently only one point shy of matching his best ever offensive totals, which he registered last season. Havlat will be replacing injured Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward, Evgeni Malkin, who has a sinus infection. Yandle will be replacing Tobias Enstrom, who broke his finger.

Enstrom joins growing list of players to miss All-Star Game

The latest player to announce their absence at this year’s All-Star Game is Atlanta Thrashers defenceman, Tobias Enstrom, who is having a breakthrough season with 41 points. The 26 year-old, who was selected to his first All-Star Game, won’t be participating due to fracturing a finger on his right hand, during a shootout loss, on Saturday against the New York Rangers. The following night Enstrom didn’t play against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which snapped his 294 consecutive game streak. “Toby’s going to be out for a while,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said. “Knowing him, it’ll be the shorter side of it, but it has to be done correctly. Our doctors want to do it for the long-term health of him and our team.” Enstrom has been teammed up this season with Dustin Byfuglien, who has also scored 41 points, and is going to his first All-Star Game. Not only does Enstrom score, but he also excels defensively and averages approximately 24:23 of ice time. This loss comes at the worst time for the Thrashers who have slumped drastically in going 1-4-3 in their last eight games. “It’s going to be different,” Byfuglien said. “But other guys have to pick it up .. you know, pick up the slack and try to do our best without him, as he’s definitely one of those guys that’s been a key to our team.”

Monday night around the NHL

1. SAVARD OUT WITH CONCUSSION

The Boston Bruins will be without forward, Marc Savard, for an indefinite period of time: after the veteran was diagnosed on Monday with a moderate concussion. This 33 year-old, who also suffered a major concussion last year, suffered his second one on Saturday afternoon during second period of play against the Colorado Avalanche. Savard, who has two goals and 10 points this season, was injured when Avalanche forward, Matt Hunwick, checked him into the end boards.

2. CROSBY TO MISS NHL ALL-STAR GAME

Pittsburgh Penguins forward,Sidney Crosby, will be staying in Pittsburgh for next weekend’s All-Star Game. According to team GM, Ray Shero, Crosby, who has 66 points, is feeling much better but is not completely over the effects of his January 1 concussion suffered in the game against the Washington Capitals. On Tuesday the 23 year-old will miss his ninth straight start when the Penguins play at home against the New York Islanders. “I know Sidney is very honored to have been selected by the fans to appear in the All-Star Game, and he was happy to attend the festivities two years ago when he couldn’t play because of a knee injury,” Shero said. “However, in this situation – when he has not even skated for two and a half weeks and still has not been cleared to resume physical activity – we think it’s best for him to focus totally on his recovery.”

3. THRASHERS ACTIVATE MODIN

The slumping Atlanta Thrashers, who are barely holding onto a playoff spot, have activated veteran forward, Fredrik Modin, from injured reserve. Without Modin, the Thrashers have gone 1-2-3. This 36 year-old, who is in his 14th season, has played in 29 games this season where he scored seven goals and nine points.