There are few events more exciting to watch than the NHL’s skills competition.
The All-Star game has endured its share of changes (and criticism) in recent years, as some viewers have grown tired of watching players effortlessly compete in a high-scoring affair. The Skills competition has been a different story, though, as some of its events are annually looked forward to. These include the hardest slap shot challenge, the fastest skater competition, and the accuracy challenge, to name few.
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In recent years, a variety of challenges have been added to each skills comp in an effort to spice things up a bit. However, there are some interesting competitions that have yet to be seen (at least not in recent memory). With that said, here are three events that should be added to the 2018 Skills competition that is set to take place in Tampa Bay this winter.
1) The backhand accuracy competition
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We’ve seen what some of the best can do on their forehand, but experimenting with the other side of the blade could make for a great new event. Imagine players such as Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane competing against one another to prove who ultimately has the strongest backhand. It would be much trickier than the regular forehand competition, but would be a nice shakeup from past years.
As far as the rules go, players will be required to shoot from the same distance as the forehand competition, except they must accept passes on their backhand. Who knows how the competition would turn out, but it’s at least worth giving a try. With all of this said, the forehand competition would still stand as its own separate event.
2) Half-wall one-time challenge
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Ovechkin. Stamkos. Kucherov. Three guys with easily the most intimidating slap shots from the half-wall area. But who has the best one?
It’s a bit tricky to decide whether or not a competition of this sort should be based on accuracy or strength, so we’re going to go ahead and combine both. Here’s how the competition will work:
Players will be given a one-time pass in the area between the top of the circle and the half-wall (depending on which side they shoot). Prior to the pass, a target will pop out of the net in either one of the four corners of middle of the net. Players will attempt to hit each one, and must eclipse 85 miles per hour in order to earn the point. Each skater will be given ten shots.
It all seems like a bit much, but we should expect the All-Stars to hit at least a couple, considering they are the kings of their craft.
3) The Four-lap fastest skaters relay
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This won’t cancel out the fastest individual skater event, but a separate team speed relay could also be fun to watch.
The competition would work similarly to a relay in speed-skating or track. Four players will be asked to complete a full lap, but the only kicker is that they will hand the next player a hockey stick instead of a baton. The size of the stick will be based on the smallest player competing from all of the divisions. Players can begin skating between the red-line and the first blue-line (they will start at the center red-line) that they will cross before receiving the stick in order to gain momentum, however, they cannot pass the line until they have full possession. The division with the fastest time wins.
It’s a bit different, but could be a fun way to show who can produce the fastest players rather than just an individual.
That’s our take on three events that would make for great competitions in 2018. Let us know which ones you would like to see @BarDown!