Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wait, what just happened!?

This photo was just the beginning of what many would call the most creative breakaway attempt of the night.

Ovechkin along with Patrick Kane, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Getzlaf, Alexei Kovalev and Steven Stamkos took part in the 2009 Honda Skills Competition's Breakaway Challenge.

And while all competitors put on a rather good show, it was Ovechkin's theatrics that won the crowds vote in runaway fashion.

In what turned out to be his final attempt, Ovechkin circled back to center ice where he was met by fellow Russian phenom Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin then dawned him with a fishing cap featuring a Canadian flag to rile the crowd, as well as a pair of high profile sunglasses and a swig of gatorade.

From there Ovechkin grabbed an extra stick and proceeded down the ice stickhandling between the sticks in his left and right hands before firing a shot on net (left handed mind you), as well as a follow up on the rebound, which he deposited in the back of the net, and garnished roars from all those in attendance.

The attempt was the most creative of all the competitors, and was noticed by the fans who awarded him major style points.

"The Great Eight" took 42.8% of the fan vote. Finishing a distant second place was fellow Russian Alexei Kovalev with 19.7% of the vote.

Ovechkin however did not fair as well in the Elimination Shootout, where he was brick walled by Tim Thomas on his first attempt and eliminated from the event.

Former Winnipeg Jet Shane Doan was named victor of the shootout event, which was celebrated by this former fan of the now defunct franchise.

But now we will segway back to Ovechkin, who seems to have made peace with rival Evgeni Malkin (picture shown above). Both players have had a falling out after Ovechkin allegedly took a swing at Malkin's agent.

The two superstars will most definitely be teammates on Russia's 2010 Olympic roster, and it was nice to see them get along in what was surely one of the brighter spots of the night (right up there with Zdeno Chara's 105.4 MPH blast).

All in all it wasn't necessarily a memorable Skills Competition, as it lacked much of the excitement that made this event popular through the 90's and early 00's. There were technical difficulties in regards to the Fastest Skater relay, as well as the elimination of the cone relay which was one of the more exciting events.

Not to mention the multiple flubs by CBC tonight when it came to the presentation of the event. This was mostly apparent in the Young Stars Game where the camera would switch from showing a breakaway attempt to re-airing highlights from moments before.

But at least it seemed like fans and players alike were having fun during tonight's festivities.

And in the end, that's what this is all about.

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