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Team Staal crowned champions of skills competition

The Canadian Press

1/30/2011 2:05:36 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. --  Eric Staal has managed to get the best of Nicklas Lidstrom so far in the battle of captains at the NHL All-Star Weekend. He won the puck flip to get the first overall pick in Friday night's draft before winning the skills event Saturday. He hopes the winning run continues in Sunday's All-Star Game.

"We're obviously shooting for 3-for-3," said Staal. "The game's going to be a little bit different than the skills competition that you saw tonight."

Lidstrom is hoping to rally his troops.

"I think we have to build the guys up again and get ready for tomorrow's game," he said. "But you could tell all the players had fun out there. They enjoyed themselves. We saw a lot of skill on the ice. It was fun to watch."

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This all-star weekend has been all about the Carolina Hurricanes so P.K. Subban found the perfect way to fit in.

The Montreal Canadiens defenceman borrowed Jeff Skinner's Hurricanes sweater during Saturday night's skills competition -- much to the delight of a rocking sellout crowd at RBC Center that watched Team Staal beat Team Lidstrom 33-22.

Subban donned the tight-fitting sweater during the breakaway challenge, only to watch Alex Ovechkin win the event for the third straight time. But the Habs rookie was definitely the fan favourite in Canes Country.

"Dan Boyle was just like, `Hey man, you need an idea,"' said Subban. "I was just like, `That's a pretty good idea, I think the crowd would like that.' So I threw it on and they liked it -- that's what it's all about."

The request caught Skinner off guard.

"I didn't know (what he was doing)," said Skinner. "Five seconds before he shot he just came up to me and said `I need your jersey.' I just took it off. He put on a good show."

Subban is one of the first-year players that was invited to participate only in the skills competition and made the most of his time on the big stage. He will watch Sunday's all-star game from the stands.

Don't expect to see him in a Hurricanes sweater again soon.

"To be honest with you I'm more comfortable in my jersey," said Subban. "That jersey was snug and there was a little too much black in it. I prefer the bleu, blanc et rouge. You know what I mean?"

Here's a look at some notes from the results from the skills competition:

BIG Z: Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara received a hearty challenge from Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, but managed to win his fourth straight hardest shot competition by setting a new record.

He hit 105.9 miles per hour on the radar gun to hold on to the crown. Weber's best effort was 104.8 m.p.h.

"Shea was shooting really awesome," said Chara "I was actually not feeling that great tonight. Thanks to the fans, they got me going."

As always, Ovechkin provided his own set of moments during the event. He tripped over a television cord -- completing it by pretending to swim across the ice -- before shattering a stick with his next attempt (the pieces were retrieved by coach Peter Laviolette's son).

The captains were impressed with all of the shooters.

"It's way out of my range, that's for sure," said Nicklas Lidstrom.

Added Staal: "They're really ripping it."

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SUPER SEDIN: The sharpest shooter of the evening was Vancouver Canucks star Daniel Sedin.

He knocked out targets in all four corners of the net with consecutive shots, taking just 7.3 seconds to do it.

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FAST ROOKIES: The night began with the fastest skater competition and included a few twists.

Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward barrelled around the ice quicker than Boston's Tim Thomas, who fell while taking a corner. And Penguins defenceman Kris Letang managed to complete a lap quicker than Chicago's Duncan Keith while skating backwards.

The final lap came down to two NHL rookies -- Edmonton's Taylor Hall and Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders. Grabner edged his counterpart by completing a lap in a lightning fast 14.238 seconds.

"I just tried to get my legs going and go as fast as I can," he said. "You can't really think about it too much."

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BRAGGING RIGHTS: Tampa Bay Lightning teammates Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis went head-to-head during the fastest skater drill and the NHL's scoring leader earned bragging rights.

"I didn't even know what I was doing when I got to the dressing room today, so we didn't have time to have a side bet," said Stamkos. "He let me know that I beat him and that I have 15 years on him and that he said he had a bad start. We might have to have a rematch back home."

Stamkos also registered the hardest shot among forwards.

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