Hockey

NHL all-stars set to dazzle

Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, the NHL's leading goal scorer, will be among the all-stars strutting their stuff Saturday night at the league's skill competition in Montreal (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET).

Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, the NHL's leading goal scorer, will be among the all-stars strutting their stuff Saturday night at the league's skill competition in Montreal (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET).

The Russian star, who has 31 goals through 46 games, will be among five players taking part in the breakaway challenge. Fans at the Bell Centre and watching on television can vote on which player has the best moves.

Ovechkin won the inaugural challenge last year.

He will compete this time against hometown favourite Alex Kovalev of the Canadiens, Laval native Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay, Patrick Kane of Chicago and Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf.

All of the NHL all-star skaters will take place in the elimination shootout against goalies Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers) and Tim Thomas (Boston).

Backstrom's first round of nine players includes sharpshooters like Dany Heatley of Ottawa and Ilya Kovalchuk of Atlanta, with Giguere trying to stop the likes of Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla and Thomas Vanek of Buffalo.

Goalies challenged

The two goalies from the East also have a daunting task. Lundqvist battles Jeff Carter of Philadelphia and Rick Nash of Columbus, with Thomas getting a dose of Russian stars in Kovalev, Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin of Pittsburgh.

The future of the NHL will be on display in the YoungStars game, pitting the best rookies against the sophomores in a 3-on-3 format.

Montreal goalie Carey Price will be in net for the sophomores, a team that includes Vancouver forward Mason Raymond and Devin Setoguchi of Taber, Alta., who is starring with the San Jose Sharks.

The rookie group includes Toronto teen defenceman Luke Schenn, No. 1 overall pick Steve Stamkos of Tampa Bay and Drew Doughty of Guelph, Ont., a defenceman with Los Angeles.

Big Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins will try to make it three in a row in the hardest-shot competition. His top shot last year clocked in at 166 kilometres per hour. The record is 169.3 kph, set by Al Iafrate in 1993.

A defenceman has won the competition in all but two of the 16 years the event has been held.

Chara's competitors will be Sheldon Souray of Edmonton, Mike Komisarek of Montreal, former Canadien and current New York Islander Mark Streit, Shea Weber of Nashville and Vinny Lecavalier of Tampa Bay.

Also taking place will be the fastest skater and most accurate shooter competitions.

Shawn Horcoff of the Edmonton Oilers was the speediest at last year's event, with Maple Leafs defenceman Tomas Kaberle the most precise shooter.

The all-star game is being held in Montreal for the 13th time. The contest pitting the best from the Eastern and Western conferences against each other takes place on Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6 p.m. ET).

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