* The NHL’s biggest stars will be shining Friday during the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills presented by DraftKings Sportsbook beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
* The League announced participants for each Skills event, with the GEICO NHL Hardest Shot and Upper Deck NHL Fastest Skater assignments each including a previous winner. The Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting will feature 10 players and be guaranteed a first-time champion.
* The Great Clips NHL Breakaway Challenge will return for a second straight year and include Florida favorite Matthew Tkachuk along with a tandem attempt featuring Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Three other events will debut in the Enterprise NHL Splash Shot, Chipotle NHL Pitch ‘n Puck and Discover NHL Tendy Tandem.
OVECHKIN, LARKIN WILL BE IN POSITION TO CLAIM ANOTHER SKILLS TITLE
The No. 2 goal-scorer in League history will have a chance to add another Hardest Shot title to his resume, while the player with the fastest full-lap on record at an NHL Skills competition will have a chance to best his mark Friday in Sunrise, Florida.
* AlexOvechkin will participate in the GEICO NHL Hardest Shot competition for a sixth time (also 2008, 2011, 2015, 2017 & 2018). Ovechkin will go up against two players who also have experience in the event in Seth Jones (2017, 2019 & 2020) and Elias Pettersson (2020), along with first-time participants Rasmus Dahlin and Josh Morrissey.
* Ovechkin won the event in 2018 with a 101.3 mph blast at Amalie Arena in Tampa and is one of three forwards in League history to claim the Hardest Shot title, following Sergei Fedorov in 2002 (101.5 mph) and Fredrik Modin in 2001 (102.1 mph).
* While Ovechkin is the only member of 2023 Hardest Shot field to win the event previously, Morrissey has the hardest shot on record among the group in the 2022-23 season.
* DylanLarkin will enter his third Upper Deck NHL Fastest Skater competition in search of his second title after winning in 2016 with a time of 12.894 seconds on a track that split the rink in half lengthways (he also posted a full-lap time of 14.116 seconds last year in Las Vegas). Cale Makar (13.834 seconds in 2022) will skate in the event for a second straight year and the field will be rounded out by first-time participants Kirill Kaprizov, Chandler Stephenson and Andrei Svechnikov.
* After winning the title on a shorter course in 2016, Larkin skated a full lap of the outside border of the rink in an attempt to break Mike Gartner’s longstanding record of 13.386 seconds set in 1996. Larkin bested the mark by posting a time of 13.172 seconds and Gartner’s benchmark has since been eclipsed three other times during Fastest Skater events at NHL All-Star. Entering 2023, the top five times on the full-lap outside course are: 13.172 seconds by Larkin in 2016, 13.175 seconds by Mathew Barzal in 2020, 13.215 seconds by Connor McDavid in 2020, 13.378 seconds by McDavid in 2019 and 13.386 seconds by Gartner in 1996.
* Larkin will look to become the seventh player to win the Fastest Skater multiple times, but will have to contend with two other members of the field who have registered a faster top skating speed so far this season.
FIRST-TIME ACCURACY SHOOTING CHAMPION GUARANTEED, NEW EVENTS TO DEBUT The 10-player contingent for the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting has a combined four appearances in the event and will guarantee a first-time winner. Returnees LeonDraisaitl (2020 & 2022), NikitaKucherov (2019) and ConnorMcDavid (2017) will look to win the competition against seven players making their Accuracy Shooting debut.
* Among the three events debuting Friday will be two with South Florida flair in the Chipotle NHL Pitch ‘n Puck, in which players combine their hockey and golf skills on an iconic Sunshine State golf hole, and the Enterprise NHL Splash Shot, which will situate All-Stars on the picturesque beach of Fort Lauderdale.
* Click here for a full description of each event along with complete participant lists.
THREE-DAY BEACH FESTIVAL OPENS FEATURING UNITED BY HOCKEY MOBILE MUSEUM
* The three-day festival provides hockey fans of all ages with family-friendly, hockey-interactive games and attractions, special appearances from current All-Stars and NHL Alumni, along with trophy and memorabilia displays – including the Stanley Cup. The festival also features the debut of the NHL’s new United by Hockey Mobile Museum, which NHL 23 cover athlete and Team Canada forward SarahNurse toured Thursday.
McDAVID ENTERS SIXTH ALL-STAR GAME EIGHT POINTS FROM 100
Connor McDavid enters his sixth NHL All-Star Game leading the League in scoring with 41-51—92 (50 GP),16 points more than second-place Leon Draisaitl (29-47—76 in 48 GP) and twenty more than both David Pastrnak (38-34—72 in 51 GP) and Nikita Kucherov (19-53—72 in 48 GP). The four players in the League with 70+ points this season all will participate in 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.
* McDavid is set to make his sixth NHL All-Star Game appearance, which would tie Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe and Grant Fuhr for second most in franchise history, behind Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier (both w/ 8).
* The Oilers captain is one of just 16 different players in NHL history to enter an NHL All-Star/Olympic break with at least 92 points and the first to do so since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 when he entered the hiatus after hitting the century mark (40-60—100 in 38 GP).
* McDavid heads to Sunrise, Fla., just eight points shy of 100 on the season and 11 back of 800 in his NHL career and #NHLStats has released a teaser Stats Pack of the notable accomplishments he’ll achieve by hitting each milestones.
LOOKING AHEAD TO ALL-STAR: PACIFIC DIVISION PREVIEW The Pacific Division heads to 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend having competed in four of six 3-on-3 finals since the format was introduced in 2016, winning the title three times through that span (2016, 2018 & 2020). The only players returning to Team Pacific that were on at least one of those title-winning teams are Connor McDavid (2020 & 2018), Leon Draisaitl (2020) and Elias Pettersson (2020).
* In addition to familiar faces, there will also be new ones as Vegas’ Logan Thompson and Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner will tend the crease for the Pacific Division. It will mark the first All-Star Game in NHL history to feature multiple rookie goaltenders.
* Erik Karlsson, who is set to make his seventh All-Star appearance, enters this year’s event leading all defensemen in goals, assists and points with 16-50—66 in 51 games this season. Karlsson is just the third blueliner in NHL history to post 66 or more points prior to an All-Star or Olympic break, following Paul Coffey (5x, last: 1988-89) and Bobby Orr (4x, last: 1974-75).
* Bo Horvat, who was traded to New York by Vancouver on Jan. 30, will remain on Team Pacific for the All-Star Game. Horvat (31-23—54 in 49 GP), who is one goal shy of eclipsing his career-high set last season, ranks among the top 10 players in the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy race in 2022-23 and is on pace to eclipse the 50-goal mark.
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