Player assignments made for All-Star Skills

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 30, 2016 at 12:23 AM
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The assignments were announced for Saturday's 2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

The top stars from the Eastern Conference will compete against the Western Conference throughout the night for points in the overall team vs. team competition. Individual champions also will be crowned.

The All-Stars will participate in six events: fastest skater, breakaway challenge, accuracy shooting, skills challenge relay, hardest shot and shootout.

Team captains -- Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the East, and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and John Scott for the West -- led the team selection process on Friday to determine which players will participate in the six events. Each All-Star will compete in at least one of the six rounds of skill-based contests.

Jagr, who was voted by fans as captain of the Atlantic Division team, and Tavares, picked as the Metropolitan Division captain, will be on the East entry in the accuracy shooting competition. Tavares will be one of the shooters, along with Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jagr and the Washington Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom will be the passers.

Jagr and Tavares also will be on two of the three seven-player East teams for the shootout relay. Jagr's group will include his Panthers teammates Aaron Ekblad and Roberto Luongo, along with Malkin, Ryan O'Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres, Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. Tavares will go with Giroux, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins' Kris Letang, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils.

Kane, voted as captain of the Central Division team for the All-Star Game, will be one of the shooters in the accuracy shooting competition, along with Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings and Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues will be the passers.

Scott, elected as Pacific Division captain in fan voting while a member of the Arizona Coyotes, was traded to the Canadiens, who are in the Atlantic Division. Scott was assigned to the American Hockey League by Montreal.

Scott will be one of four players from the Western Conference competing in the hardest shot, along with Byfuglien, Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will take part in the fastest skater competition. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Byfuglien will join West teammates Roman Josi of the Predators, Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers and Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche in the event.

The winning conference earns the right to select when its semifinal match-up will be played, first or second, for Sunday's All-Star Game. The Central Division All-Stars will face the Pacific Division All-Stars and the Atlantic Division All-Stars will face the Metropolitan Division All-Stars in the two semifinal games of the three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format.

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