I can't begin to tell you how awesome the introductions were from a person actually inside the arena. It's the loudest I've heard the arena in a non-playoff setting in quite some time. And this includes both the positive and negative spectrum of fan reaction. Cheers? Oh yes! Boos? Even louder!
While the Eastern Conference players had their fair share of cheers, namely for Panthers forward and living legend Jaromir Jagr as well as Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, the fun started when the Western Conference player introductions began.
With Chicago being the first team to have introductions, forward Patrick Kane was the first on the list -- the crowd did not disappoint. With forward John Scott howling in laughter beside him, Kane was loudly booed by the fans in attendance, a fair share of those Predators fans.
Speaking of Scott, he had one of the largest cheers right after the leveling boos for Kane. It didn't come close to the cheers for Nashville's set of four players, but man it was close.
The NHL Breakaway Challenge
Honestly, there was so much entertaining stuff going on here.
Whether it was James Neal and his double-dose of trickery -- potting a second puck after shooting his first one wide and bringing out country singer Dierks Bentley out for his second -- or Chewbacca Brent Burns and his most adorable children, it was easily one of the most entertaining events of the night.
Pekka Rinne even got into the act, exchanging his goalie stick for a guitar at one point, prompting me to consider whether he was set to demolish it on an incoming player.
I'm hoping Rinne goes full @JeffJarretTNA on a player here soon— Kristopher Martel (@kmartel_sports) January 31, 2016
What took the cake, in my opinion, was the antics of Subban. Switching out of his Canadiens attire for a Jaromir Jagr jersey and a wig with flowing locks, Subban sweeped in and did his best Jagr impression -- salute included -- then won the competition via the fan vote.
If you can't find something to like in all of that, just get out. Get out right now.
Shea. Freaking. Weber.
For a player that is known for one of the hardest shots in the entire league, he didn't disappoint in his signature event.
With Lightning forward Steven Stamkos sitting ahead with a clocked shot of 103.9, Weber sent his first shot at 105.3 miles an hour screaming to the back of the net, ooohing and aaahing the crowd in delight. Subban sent attempts of 102.3 and 101.3 against Weber, but sometimes it just isn't close.
Weber's second attempt rocketed to the net at 108.1, only tenths of a second away from his personal best of 108.5 and Zdeno Chara's world record of 108.8.
Weber even earned a third chance thanks to the crowd chanting "one more shot" during his post-activity press conference with Pierre McGuire. The speed? 107.8.
It's a shame we haven't seen a repeat of Chara and Weber from a few years back. Maybe one day we'll see it again, but that window is closing quickly.
Boring Accuracy Competition
Listen, I get it. There has to be a contest to see who is the most accurate sniper across the entire league. I understand the point of it, but man it has to be the most boring event in the entire Skills Competition. There has to be some way the league can liven this one up in the future, but to be blunt it's never going to happen.
This event has been the same for nearly two decades with no change in it whatsoever. It's great for the purists, but this whole weekend has devolved into just two days of entertainment for both the players and fans. It's time to figure out a way to spruce this event up a bit.
The West's first heat during the Skills Challenge Relay
That was quite rough to watch.
First, it was Corey Perry missing from the far angle of the net on the slapshot aspect of the relay. Granted, that's super difficult to hit, but it took Perry way too many shots to net the two he needed to -- more than any other player the rest of the night.
Next, Daniel Sedin couldn't nail the passing aspect of the challenge, further stretching the West's time.
Then, Kane -- a noted puck-handling dynamo -- struggled in one of the activities he's best known for right before Rinne sent about 15 pucks flying and missing the empty net for goalie goals.
It was just brutal.
Dylan Larkin breaking records
Larkin broke Mike Gartner's 20-year old Fastest Skater record with a time of 13.172. It was the first and probably last time that the fans in Bridgestone Arena fully cheered for a Red Wings player, but my goodness was it entertaining to watch.
Larkin was so quick that he would have had a sub-13 second record if he wouldn't have stumbled on the second-to-last turn.
The Patrick Kane treatment
Whether he was oblivious or not of why fans were booing him in Nashville, for whatever reasons they had, Kane relished in the boos and even noted before the final shootout that "I'm going to get booed" and "I'm on Nashville's side today" -- to which the fans weren't swayed by.
Whether you love him or hate him, the fans in Nashville were absolutely relentless in their treatment of him.
The John Scott treatment
It wasn't just the fans, but the players too. The way they treated him during the different competitions was just amazing, especially during the Hardest Shot competition. Scott earned himself a standing ovation from the crowd -- fully deserving of it.
I don't see how people can't like John Scott. He just seems like such a down-to-earth and nice guy.
He furthered this by having one of the best scrums afterwards, noting his nervousness and how
"It was definitely a really, really cool experience. I could barely even hold my stick I was shaking so much during the whole thing," said Scott. "My heart was just pounding and I couldn't calm down."
That ovation? Didn't help things much for Scott, either.
"I was literally shaking the whole time. [The Hardest Shot] probably wasn't my best effort, but the whole experience was so neat. You can't beat that," Scott added.
The best moment was how Scott roared with laughter as Kane was booed during introductions.
"I was dying. [Kane] said, 'Watch this, I'm gonna get booed and you're going to have the biggest cheer.' So I knew it was going to happen. It was so funny. I liked that."
Seriously, how can you not like John Scott? While his role with Montreal now will be nonexistent for the remainder of the season, most likely, his time in the middle of the brightest lights in the league has been spectacular to see unfold.