Ovi Jr steals the show at NHL All-Star Skills
Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby joined forces to win the Breakaway Challenge at the All-Star Skills competition on Friday in Sunrise, Fla.
Sergei Ovechkin, Ovechkin’s 4-year-old son, finished a three-on-zero breakaway with his father and Crosby, scoring on Hall of Fame goaltender Roberto Luongo to win the Breakaway Challenge.
“Great celly,” beamed the older Ovechkin amidst the levity. “I think he’s enjoyed this and he’s gonna remember this his whole life.”
Ovi Jr. steals NHL All-Star Skills show
Ovechkin and Crosby have been huge rivals throughout their careers, but the collaboration is a sign of how much they have put it in the past.
“I think we appreciate these events, these moments,” Crosby said. “We’ve played enough against each other, still do to this day, and it’s nice to be on the same team once in a while.”
It was actually Crosby who called out Ovechkin’s son to join them in the event. As he skated out to center ice with ‘Ovi Jr’ stitched to his back, he looked like a little ball of energy. Trailing the duo, he slid one by Luongo who ensured a massive 5-hole for the young Ovechkin to find.
“I don’t even think that was rehearsed,” Crosby added. “I think that was pure joy.”
The All-Star Game three-on-three tournament will be Saturday afternoon.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak finished second in the quirky event, entertaining the crowd by performing dressed as Happy Gilmore. He skated as poorly as Adam Sandler’s character, missed a shot with a conventional putter but made it with a miniature hockey stick. He celebrated by riding the putter like a horse in homage of the movie.
NHL All-Star Skills results
As much as players showed their personality, their skills were on full display, too, and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson won the Accuracy Shooting competition by defeating Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri in the final.
Nelson hit the four targets in 12.419 seconds to win the event.
Kadri beat Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid in the semifinal by less than a half-second in an upset to reach the final.
McDavid, a three-time winner in the fastest skater competition, entered the accuracy competition and never missed a shot. He hit the four targets in 9.497 seconds in the opening round.
Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov claimed the Fastest Skater crown by skating a lap in 13.699 seconds.
“I think I just got lucky, to be honest,” said Svechnikov, who is in his first All-Star Game.I would never expect I was going to win this. I’m kinda excited.”
Los Angeles Kings winger Kevin Fiala was the runner-up in the Fastest Skater competition. Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin, the 2016 winner, surprisingly failed to make the final.
Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson claimed the Hardest Shot competition with a blast of 103.2 miles per hour.
Pettersson, who has 21 goals this season and is on pace to top his career high of 32, is only the fourth forward to ever win the event, which has been dominated by defensemen. The only forward to win the event over the past 22 years was Ovechkin in 2018.
“I didn’t know that. Pretty cool,” Pettersson said.
In the Tendy Tandem event, the Central Division goaltender duo of Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators combined to win. The competition displayed goalies’ skills at both shooting and saving pucks.
Hellebuyck was the stalwart while denying every breakaway opportunity he faced, while Saros made the difference with a shot that found the mouse-hole from the far end of the arena.
“I missed the first three and had to make at least one,” Saros said. “I was happy to see that one go in there.”
The Tendy Tandem highlight was Canadian National Team star Sarah Nurse scoring a Peter Forsberg-style shootout goal against New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin.
Splash Shot and Pitch ‘n’ Puck
Colorado Avalanche teammates Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen combined to win the Splash Shot, dunk-tank style event showcasing shooting skills. Players aimed at five surfboards before finishing with a final target to dunk an opponent.
Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki won the Pitch ‘n’ Puck, in which a foursome of skaters played a golf hole with sticks and a puck before putting with a golf ball. Suzuki was the lone player to sink the ball in three shots.
“I probably wouldn’t make a birdie with a real golf club,” Suzuki said.
–Field Level Media
–The Daily Goal Horn contributed to this article