NHL All-Star skills competition goes to Team Alfredsson

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OTTAWA — Patrick Kane’s Superman cape and Zdeno Chara’s blistering hot slap shot wasn’t enough to beat Daniel Alfredsson and his team stocked with hometown favorites in the NHL All-Star skills competition Saturday night.

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Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, wearing a Superman cape, attempts a shot on St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott during the breakaway challenge Saturday.  FRED CHARTRAND/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FRED CHARTRAND/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, wearing a Superman cape, attempts a shot on St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott during the breakaway challenge Saturday.

Team Alfredsson beat Team Chara 21-12, easily clinching the victory in the final-round shootout challenge. Alfredsson had one of his team’s 10 shootout goals in outscoring Chara 10-3.

That was enough to get the hometown crowd on its feet, cheering on a Senators-stocked team that Alfredsson selected in the draft Thursday night.

Chara did break his own skills competition record for hardest shot with a blast at 108.8 mph. That bettered the mark of 105.9 he set in Raleigh last year.

The two teams will now face off today in the All-Star game.

Chara gave his team a shot – literally and physically – by helping his team to a 3-2 win in the fifth round of the competition, cutting Alfredsson’s lead to 11-9.

“I tried to do my best. Obviously I wanted to do it over here as well. I had great years in Ottawa and I’m happy I could do it,” Chara said in an interview broadcast over the video scoreboard, which drew plenty of applause.

Chara spent four seasons with the Senators before signing with the Bruins in 2006.

All four Chara’s shot actually bettered the record he set last year as well as his closest opponent, Team Alfredsson defenseman Shea Weber, whose best was timed at 106 mph.

Kane, the Blackhawks forward and Team Chara member, provided the entertainment value in the breakaway challenge.

He wore Clark Kent glasses and had teammate Marian Hossa tie a Superman cape around his neck for Kane’s his first attempt. Kane’s scored on his first shot, diving chest-first to the ice and using his left hand to glove the puck across to his stick to tap it in.

On his second chance, Kane used a mock puck which split in two when he took a slap shot. Team Chara teammate Corey Perry also got a rouse from the crowd for stopping at the blue line, dropping his gloves and stick and pulling out a goalie ministick, before driving to the net and beating Blues goalie Brian Elliott.

That wasn’t enough to beat Kane in the only event that was determined by a fan vote. Kane earned 47 percent of the votes texted in, beating Perry who got 29 percent.

PENGUINS: Sidney Crosby isn’t just dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion. A California doctor says the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star also is recovering from a neck injury.

And Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, said he can’t rule out the possibility that the injury could be to his vertebrae.

“There’s been speculation that I really can’t comment on at this point,” Brisson said Saturday night at the All-Star game skills competition in Ottawa. “I can’t rule it out. I don’t know. I’m not a radiologist.”

Brisson also said he didn’t consider the findings to be a setback.

Crosby visited with neurological spine specialist Dr. Robert S. Bray in Los Angeles this week as he continues treatment for symptoms that resurfaced during a loss to Boston on Dec. 5.

While Crosby initially said he didn’t sustain a concussion against the Bruins, the team says Bray diagnosed Crosby with one and also discovered an unspecified neck injury, though Bray told the team the neck injury is “fully healed.”

Crosby missed more than 10 months after sustaining head shots in consecutive games in early January 2011. He returned on Nov. 21 and had 12 points in eight games before the symptoms resurfaced following a physical game against the Bruins.

The team said Bray’s findings will be evaluated by independent specialists.

General manager Ray Shero said at the All-Star game in Ottawa that Crosby had returned from California and that he was “optimistic” Crosby will play again this season.

“He’s back in Pittsburgh now, hopefully we’ll see next week where he is and we’ll get the reports from California and compare notes to what’s been done so far,” Shero said.


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