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2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition Format Announced

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Everything you need to know about the best event of the weekend.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

We're less than a full work week away from NHL All-Star festivities starting in Nashville, and the league has released the full layout of Saturday's skills competition.

Team captains Alex Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, John Scott and Patrick Kane will select their teams from the remaining 40 skaters, and they'll compete in the six different events. With a few exceptions, we won't know who is going to take part in each event; that's for the captains to decide. But we do have everything we need to know about what happens with all six events.

Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to breakMike Gartner's record (13.386). If, at the completion of the event, two skaters are tied for the fastest overall time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink in an attempt to break the historical best record.

Points Available: 6 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner's record an additional bonus point will be awarded.

Usually the warm up act to get everyone involved. It's hard to pin down who'll actually skate, considering we were treated to Tyler Seguin vs. Phil Kessel last year. Kessel is a lot of things but fleet of foot is not the first thing that pops to your mind. That didn't keep Phil from victory, though!


I dream that they'll bring back the Fastest Goalie one day, as well.

Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge

Fans will have a Twitter say in one of the six skaters. Alas, if you have visions of voting in John Scott for a breakaway, the NHL has limited your choices between Matt Duchene, Brandon Saad and Dylan Larkin. Just about any of the selected All-Stars could thrive in this one, but we've seen Ovechkin and Kane raise the bar in recent years. Roman Josi has been used in shootouts before, so maybe he can get some tips from Ryan Johansen about the best ways to pander to the home crowd.

Hell, Braden Holtby was a forward until he was 13. Let him have a go.

Fans will have two opportunities to exercise their vote in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge. While five spots will be determined by team captains, one guaranteed spot in this event will be determined by the fans, who will vote on Twitter as part of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Fan Vote campaign.

The eligible candidates are forwards Matt Duchene of the Colorado AvalancheDylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fans can vote via Twitter for their favorite eligible player by including his hashtag –#NHLBreakawayDuchene#NHLBreakawayLarkin or #NHLBreakawaySaad. Voting will open on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. ET and close on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. ET.

Each team will provide one goalie to participate in this challenge. Each shooter will attempt two shots, and teams will alternate after each shot. Style, creativity, and flair are encouraged. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.

As soon as the last competitor completes his routine, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will get another opportunity to make their case on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will be crowned the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge winner and score one point for his team.

Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest percentage of fan votes scores one point.

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting

If they really wanted to impress people, they'd find a way to make an NHL-sized Whack a Gator for players to shoot at.

Four shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins.

Points Available: 5 –The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point.

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay

By far the best part of this event is watching goalies fire pucks into teeny tiny nets from 150 feet away. I felt cheated we didn't get to see Pekka Rinne do this last year. Corey Crawford probably feels the same way this year.

This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and two goalies from each team – will consist of four relays with five challenges each: One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers, passing and goalie goals in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.

Points Available: 3 - The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.

Amp Energy Hardest Shot

Or "Shea Weber's Contest to Lose." At this point is there anyone that can even get close to what he shoots? Dustin Byfuglien will get all the chatter, but he didn't even break 100 mph last year. Save your narratives. As long as Shea hits the net, he's good.

Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

Points Available: 5 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point.

Discover NHL Shootout

This one goes by fast, and is a fun way to end the evening. The last bits of personality are wrung out and left on the ice here.

Discover NHL Shootout

18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players, each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored; 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

The Skills Competition is by far the best hockey event of the weekend. Seeing the rainbow of home and away NHL jerseys all at once is spectacular, and it's evident the players are actually having fun with what they're doing. Tune to NBCSN on Saturday, Jan. 30th at 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT in and have some fun with them.