Tonight continues the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend festivities with the annual NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Los Angeles tonight. There is one player from the New Jersey Devils who has been named as an All-Star: left winger Taylor Hall. Hall has been the team’s leading scorer (31 points in 40 games), their leading shooter (128 shots), and their most skilled forward (obvious to anyone watching him carry the puck up ice). Hall will be able to show off some of those skills in tonight’s competition.
The format for this year’s All-Star game is the same as last year’s: a three-on-three tournament of teams representing each division. Hall is one of six Metropolitan Division forwards, joining captain Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Cam Atkinson (replacing an injured Evgeni Malkin), and Wayne Simmonds. Representing the back end of the Metropolitan Division will be Seth Jones, Ryan McDonagh, and Justin Faulk on defense with Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky tending the net. Who decides who plays who and when in the tournament? That’s what tonight is all about. The division that wins the most points in tonight’s skills competition will choose their first opponent and whether they’ll have the first or second game in the tourney.
The 2017 All-Star Skills Competition will begin at 7 PM ET and it will be aired on NBCSN in the United State. CBC, Sportsnet, and TVA will have the broadcast in Canada. Here are the activities Hall will be participating in – and the ones he is not in.
The Skills Competition that Will Include Taylor Hall
The Four Line Challenge – This is a new event for this year. There are four shooters for each team and each shooter will shoot twice from four different lines into a net.
The first shooter will be at the blueline closest to the goal and he will have score in the upper left or right corners. A successful goal gives their team a point.
The second shooter will fire them in from the red line and he will have to score in either corner of the net. Upper corner goals give their team three points, lower corner goals give their team one point each.
The third shooter will shoot from the far blue line and can score in either corner or the five hole. Lower corner and five-hole goals give their team one point; upper corner goals give their team five points.
The fourth shooter – or a goalie, as determined by the team’s captain – will shoot from the far goal line. They will attempt to score through the five hole. A successful goal gives their team ten points. A successful goal by a goalie gives their team twenty points.
The team with the most points at the end is the winner and gives their team one point in the competition. Taylor Hall will be shooting third for the Metropolitan Division. He’ll go after Ryan McDonagh and Wayne Simmonds. Seth Jones (or a goalie) will go after him. Good luck to Hall.
The Skills Competition that May Involve Taylor Hall
The NHL Shootout – Nine skaters and two goalies from the top scoring team in each conference will participate in the team shootout. Captains of the teams will choose an additional skater from the losing team in the conference. The selected players from the losing teams will be designated as Discover Puck Players – their goals will be worth two points whereas others will be worth one point. Goalies will switch after five shooters. There will be sudden death if there is a tie and players can shoot multiple times per their captain’s discretion. Hall might be in this one. Here’s hoping that he is.
Skills Competitions that Originally Had Taylor Hall But Won’t Now
The NHL Fastest Skater – This is a more traditional event for the competition. It’s a two-skater, head to head race. Winning the race gives your team a point. Ties give both teams a point. The fastest skater after the head-to-head matchups will give their team a bonus point. amid the head-to-head matchups will get a chance to skate a full lap on the outside border in an attempt to beat Dylan Larkin’s record of 13.172 seconds. Successfully doing so will give their team another bonus point. And if two skaters are tied as the fastest; both will go after Larkin’s record.
Hall was originally matched up against Evgeny Kucherov. However, Wayne Simmonds has replaced him. I find that to be odd, to say the least. Is Simmonds fast? Perhaps not from the two Devils-Flyers games from this season, but we’ll find out. In the other Metropoliotan-Atlantic matchup, Cam Atkinson will skate against Brad Marchand.
Skills Competitions that Did and Still Do Not Feature Taylor Hall
The NHL Skills Challenge Relay - Each division will have two heats against their cross-conference division (Metro vs. Atlantic, Pacific vs. Central). There are five skills challenges and the team that completes all of them first wins the heat. The first challenge is called One Timers. For the Metropolitan Division, Seth Jones, Alex Ovechkin, and Wayne Simmonds will receive passes from Ryan McDonagh to one-time them. The other side has Erik Karlsson, Vincent Trocheck, and Kyle Okposo taking feeds from Viktor Hedman. Once all three shooters are done or 30 seconds pass, the second challenge is next: passing. John Tavares will represent the Metro and Frans Nielsen will represent the Atlantic. Once they are done or 45 seconds pass, the puck control challenge is next. Justin Faulk will do it for the Metro while Brad Marchand does it for the Atlantic. Stick-handling follows after that; Sidney Crosby will go for his division while Auston Matthews does it for his own. Lastly: goalie goals. Braden Holtby will have 30 seconds to do his challenge. Winning the heat gives the team a point. The fastest overall team gets a bonus point. I wish Hall was in the passing or stick-handling part of this, but everyone else has to be involved.
The NHL Accuracy Shooting – Another classic competition returns. Four targets, one in each corner, and break them all as fast as possible. Two players will pass the puck to the shooter for each team. This will be a head-to-head matchup within each conference and each team has two shooters. Winning each match-up earns a point for their team. The fastest shooter among all four teams will give their team a bonus point. And if someone beats Daniel Sedin’s record of 7.6 seconds, then their team will get another bonus point For the Metropolitan, Tavares and Crosby will be the shooters and they will be up against Matthews and Okposo. Hall may be a passer, but he’s not a featured player in the competition.
The NHL Hardest Shot Competition – This is another traditional event. Each team will have two shooters going to head to head to determine who has the hardest shot. Each player will have two shots and the teams will alternate players after each shot. The highest speed (in miles per hour) of each shot will count. Winning the match-up will earn their team a point. The player with the hardest shot overall will get a bonus point for their team. Anyone who breaks Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 mph will earn their team another bonus point. Seth Jones and Alex Ovechkin will represent the Metropolitan Division. They will be matched up against Shea Weber and Viktor Hedman of the Atlantic Division.
Feel free to discuss the event as it happens in the comments. Once again, the 2017 All-Star Skills Competition will begin at 7 PM ET. It will be aired on NBCSN in the United States. CBC, Sportsnet, and TVA will have the broadcast in Canada. Let’s go, Hall!