What's a good way to forget about last night's brutal loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers? A friendly skills competition! (That is, after your coach puts you through what could be a very, very difficult practice just two hours prior...)
Tonight at 6:30 in South Philadelphia, the Flyers will take to the ice for about two hours to show their skills in six different events: puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, accuracy shooting, power play relay and breakaway relay.
The team will be broken into two groups -- the orange team and the white team. Roster time!
White team: Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Nikolay Zherdev, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Sean O`Donnell,
Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton. Coached by Kevin McCarthy.
Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Andreas Nodl, Ville Leino, James van Riemsdyk, Blair Betts, Jody Shelley, Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Oskars Bartulis, Sergei Bobrovsky. Coached by Craig Berube.
Mike Richards and Brian Boucher are healthy scratches or something. Boosh is having dental work done, no idea why Richie is being a Grinch though. We're not sure about any TV coverage of the event, but we'll have all the results afterward right here.
To give this thing a little extra dose of fun, I'm going head-to-head with Steve Whyno from Philly Sports Daily in a prediction contest for tonight's skills competition. You can see Steve's predictions over at PSD, and you can see mine, along with full descriptions of every event, after the jump.
Steve and I agreed not to select the same winners on any event, so some of these predictions are pretty fun. As mentioned, make sure you head over to PSD for a full look at Steve's picks. He's also giving away a prize to whoever wants to make their own predictions, so check out those details over there.
Now, our picks...
Puck control relay (2 points available)
Rules: Three players from each team will race in a relay format. One point goes to the winning team. In a second race, one player from each team will go head-to-head, with one point going to the team of the winning player.
Race 1 competitors: Ville Leino, Andreas Nodl, James van Riemsdyk for orange. Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Nikolay Zherdev for white.
Race 1 winner: White team
Leino may be a magician with the puck, but he can't beat Giroux, Briere AND Zherdev. White could win this thing before orange can even get their final skater out there.
Race 2 competitors: James van Riemsdyk (orange) vs Nikolay Zherdev (white)
Race 2 winner: Nikolay Zherdev, white team
As long as he doesn't have to pass, Zherdev is fine. He'll use his speed and his sharp hands to beat the youngster easily.
Fastest skater (2 points available)
Rules: One lap around the rink, fastest time wins. Three players from each side participate. One point awarded to the team with the fastest average time, one point awarded to the team with the fastest individual player.
Competitors: James van Riemsdyk, Oskars Bartulis, Andreas Nodl for orange. Braydon Coburn, Darroll Powe, Nik Zherdev for white.
Individual winner: Darroll Powe, white team
Powe is far and away the fastest player on the team. We routinely see him hammering the opposition in the corner on the forecheck, and he's usually the first one there thanks to his speed. Powe may have hands of stone, but he can skate like Super Mario with that little metallic hat on his head.
Team winner: White team
We're apparently pretty biased towards the white team here, but that's because orange people are scary (looking at you, Jersey Shore stars who I won't mention by name). The orange team is young and fiery in this event, but Powe and Zherdev should give white enough to get over the top.
Hardest shot (2 points available)
Rules: Players tee up and fire as hard as they can from the top of the circles. They get two cracks at it, fastest speed wins. If you miss the net, people laugh at you. Four shooters per team. One point for best individual, one point for best team average.
Competitors: Andrej Meszaros, Jeff Carter, James van Riemsdyk, Oskars Bartulis for orange. Braydon Coburn, Scott Hartnell, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe for white.
Individual winner: Braydon Coburn, white team
One might think Andrej Meszaros would win this. Or perhaps Chris Pronger. One thinking that would be wrong... because Pronger's hurt and Mez is going to get unlucky and miss the net. So, we're going with Mr. Coburn. He's going to clock in at 98.6 miles per hour. Just watch.
Team winner: Orange team
This is the event where the orange team will get one of those points back. Carter might miss the net too, but we'll bank on him actually getting one on goal. No goalie, after all. There's just more firepower, on the whole, over on the orange side.
Accuracy shooting (2 points available)
Rules: Four targets in each corner of the net. Receive passes between the circles and break the targets in the least amount of shots. Three shooters per team. One point goes to the team with the player who has the best individual score. One point goes to the team that breaks the most targets.
Competitors: Kimmo Timonen, Jeff Carter, Andreas Nodl for orange. Danny Briere, Matt Carle and Scott Hartnell for white. Passing for orange: Oskars Bartulis. Passing for white: Sean O`Donnell.
Individual winner: Jeff Carter, orange team
No. 17 routinely misses the net when we're talking about real competition. He finished third in the NHL in missed shots a year ago and he's currently fourth in the NHL this season. It's frustrating. That's an understatement. So, go figure, tonight when nothing is really on the line... Carter's gonna go four-for-four.
Team winner: Orange team
Carter's fine performance will be backed up by shocking accuracy from Andreas Nodl, and everybody's favorite Latvian Wolf will prove to be key with his pinpoint passing. Hartnell won't hit the net once for the white team, because let's face it... that's something Hartnell would do.
Power play relay (one point per goal)
Rules: This might be the most fun of all the events. Each team will ice three forwards against one defenseman and the goaltender. Each team gets a certain amount of time to score as many goals as they possibly can. Score more goals than the other team. There will be two rounds.
Round 1 competitors: James van Riemsdyk, Kimmo Timonen, Ville Leino for orange. Claude Giroux, Danny Briere, Nik Zherdev for white.
Round 2 competitors: Andreas Nodl, Blair Betts, Jody Shelley for orange. Darroll Powe, Dan Carcillo, Scott Hartnell for white.
Oskars Bartulis on defense for orange and Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for orange. Sean O`Donnell on defense for white and Michael Leighton in goal for white.
Winner: White team
... and it's a blow out. Consider all the factors. Okay, maybe orange has the edge in goal, but on defense, OD plays on the PK. Bartulis... not so much. And while the orange team will ice a defenseman to shoot in Round 1, white counters with Briere, Giroux and Zherdev. Round 2 will be fun to watch for both teams, but I'll take the white team over any team with Shelley on the power play.
Breakaway relay (one point per goal)
Rules: Each team will send three shooters to shoot on the opposing goaltender in shootout-like, rapid fire fashion. There will be three rounds. Most total team goals wins.
Goalies: Michael Leighton for white, Sergei Bobrovsky for orange.
Round 1 competitors: James van Riemsdyk, Ville Leino, Jody Shelley for orange. Claude Giroux, Nik Zherdev, Braydon Coburn for white.
Round 2 competitors: Andrej Meszaros, James van Riemsdyk (twice?), Kimmo Timonen for orange. Danny Briere, Dan Carcillo, Darroll Powe for white.
Round 3 competitors: Andreas Nodl, Blair Betts, Oskars Bartulis for orange. Scott Hartnell, Matt Carle, Sean O`Donnell for white.
Winner: White team
Giroux, Zherdev, Briere, Powe and Hartnell will all score for white. Some of the best players on the orange team aren't shooting (looking at you, Carter and Richards) and will make this one pretty easy for white.
Overall (most total points)
Winner: White team
Pack it up and go home, orange team. White just mopped the floor with you. By my calculations, it's not even close.
If you're heading to the WFC for tonight's (if you don't already have free tickets, don't bother -- they 'sold' out) skills competiton, a few of us will be getting together in Section 124 before things get started. Check the FanPosts for details.