As part of today's KHL All-Star Game, the Russian league is claiming that Avangard Omsk's Denis Kulyash (an 8th-round draft choice by the Nashville Predators in 2004) has set a new world record for Hardest Slap Shot, at an absurd 110.3 miles per hour. Zdeno Chara just set a record of 105.9 at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Raleigh last weekend.
I have to say I'm highly skeptical about this, considering Kulyash is about 6'2", and so much of what goes into an elite slap shot has to do with the size and leverage one gets from a bigger frame. When Shea Weber blasts a 104.6, and Chara uncorks a 105.9 to top that, I have a hard time believing that a much smaller player blows them away by that much. UPDATE: Video below helps provide a possible explanation.
Follow after the jump for a video comparison of this event with the NHL's, along with the KHL's press release...
The big difference I see between this competition and the NHL's has to do with the placement of the puck. Note that in the NHL event, the puck is near the top of the faceoff circles:
But in the KHL's competition, the puck is quite closer to the net. While I'd be open to hearing possible theories, one notion I'd toss out there is that if the puck starts 5-8 feet closer, that provides less time for wind resistance to come into play, which could account for the difference in speeds between the NHL and KHL event (most of the shooters in the KHL event were above 102 MPH, whereas in the NHL, only Weber & Chara did so).
Earlier today during the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) All-Star Superskills Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, Avangard Omsk defenseman Denis Kulyash shattered the world record for the fastest slap shot with a speed of 110.343 mph (177.58 kmph).
Participating in the "Hardest Shot" competition on behalf of Team Jagr, Kulyash, unleashed the record-breaking shot on his final attempt. The previous world record of 105.9 mph was set by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara at last month's NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"Frankly, I do not even know who holds the world record and with what result," said Kulyash afterwards. "I broke the record? Wow, well that's very nice. Heading into our event, Team Yashin was leading the competition (three events-to-one), so I just wanted to win our event."
Team Yashin would go on to win the overall KHL All-Star Superskills Competition, comprised of seven events, including Fastest Skater, Longest Shot, Puck Control Relay, Shooting Accuracy, Hardest Shot, Shootout and Fastest Skater Team Relay, by a score of 4-3.
News, updates and general information related to the KHL's third annual showcase event can be found at www.khlallstar.ru, the official site of the game.