Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/13/09 at 12:31 PM ET
NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2009)—Super-skilled Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin will defend his Scotiabank Fan Fav NHL Breakaway Challenge title against a creative collection of fellow NHL stars during Honda/NHL SuperSkills Saturday, Jan. 24, at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Local hero and renowned dangler Alex Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens will join young artists Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks in taking on Ovechkin, who last year impressed celebrity judges at the inaugural Breakaway Challenge. This year, the shooters’ task will be to impress fans in arena and viewers across North America, who will determine the winner by voting via text message for the performance they deem most astounding.
“I want to defend this title,” Ovechkin said. “It’s kind of a pretty cool title and I’m happy right now that I have it.”
Each shooter will get one minute to dazzle the Bell Centre crowd and the North American audience (7 p.m. ET, RDS, CBC, VERSUS). Upon taking possession of the puck, a shooter can go anywhere he wants in the offensive zone and make as many attempts as he desires within that minute to complete a routine that ends with a shot at the net. When each shooter has taken his turn, the polls will open for the most passionate fans in sports.
The Scotiabank Fan Fav Breakaway Challenge contestants are wracking their brains to come up with moves neither their competitors nor their fans have seen. They’ve allowed NHL cameras to capture glimpses of their preparations but still plan some surprises.
“Right now, I’m going to show you my old trick,” Ovechkin said before performing the puck-flipping, spin-o-rama swat that won in Atlanta a year ago, “but I have one more trick that probably I don’t want to show you right now. You’ll have to wait for the All-Star Game.”
The six-competition card that comprises Honda/NHL SuperSkills will begin with four of the League’s blazers competing in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater. Following the Breakaway Challenge, the League’s top rookies will take on the top sophomores in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck. At the conclusion of that wide-open, non-stop game of three-on-three, the McDonald’s Accuracy Shooting and Cisco Hardest Shot then will test the All-Stars’ ability to pick corners and blast away.
The evening will come to a rousing conclusion with all 36 NHL All-Star skaters and all six goalies competing in the Gatorade NHL Elimination Shootout—the NHL All-Star version of the score-and-stay-alive game with which youth hockey players throughout the world traditionally end their practices.
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