Penguins Report: All-Star Weekend Part II
Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 9:31 AM / Penguins Report
By Sam Kasan
- SuperSkills challenge blog (7:32 PM to 9:43 PM).
- Fleury stops Letang in shootout (9:23 PM).
- Fleury has a dance off (6:40 PM).
- Fleury (5:50 PM) and Letang (6:27 PM) sign autographs on the red carpet.
- Fleury and Letang comment post-SuperSkills challenge (10:13 PM).
- Fleury talks after practice (11:58 AM and 12:03 PM).
- Fleury practice pics (10:46 AM).
- Fleury signs cards (4:29 PM).
- Steve Mears exclusive one-on-one with Ronald McDonald (12:34 PM).
- Shots around RBC Center (3:46 PM).
- Useless comment (5:11 PM).
- “The world brought me to my knees. Where have you brung you?…” (9:48 AM).
Sounds heard around (two different) locker rooms...
On the SuperSkills experience:
To be with those guys on the ice and see them show their skill, it’s a fun game. I’m glad I was a part of it.
On the backwards skating:
The thing is I’ve never done that. So you try to skate as hard as you can, but when you get to the curve you don’t know how much speed you need to get out close to the wall. It was tough, but at the end of the day it turned out pretty good.
On his one-timers:
I was trying to take some off my shot a little bit, but it didn’t get up. I had like 14 shots.
On the breakaway vs. Fleury:
I was a little nervous. We were both laughing at each other. When I went up there, I froze. He knows all my moves so I was like, “Uh, OK whatever.”
On what Fleury said after the shot:
He said, “I was expecting a backhand.” We talked about it and I said I wanted at least one goal, but I ended up freezing myself. He didn’t say anything.
On the All-Star Game:
I’m excited. I think it’s going to be fun. When you do those competitions you sit on the side for a long time and get cold. You do your thing, but you aren’t as fresh. Tomorrow will be better. Everyone will show their real skill.
On stopping Letang:
I can go back home with my head up and give it to him, make fun of him.
On his move:
I don’t know. He said he tried to flip it over me. I think he was just making excuses.
On the overall SuperSkills experience:
It was fun. To be out there on the ice with all these players, the skill players you usually face, it was fun to see them do their thing.
On his shootout antics:
I’ve been working on it in Pittsburgh. I thought I’d throw a couple out there.
On if he was vocal in the shootout:
I’m not as comfortable with the guys here than back home in Pittsburgh. I gave it a little bit to “Tanger” when I stopped him. I was mad at myself against Perry. The last goal he scored I moved way too fast. I said bad words.
That'll do it for the SuperSkills challenge. Team Staal pulls out a nailbiter, 33-22 (I still have no idea how they kept score).
Fleury is back in net for Round 2. He stopped Subban and Nash, but allowed a score to Perry.
Fleury looks tremendous in the Elimination Shootout, with great stops on Skinner, D.Sedin, Yandle, Kesler and Letang! He only allowed one goal (PK Subban) in his entire sequence. What a late-round steal by Team Lidstrom.
Ovechkin broke his stick on his second Hardest Shot attempt. He then borrowed Kris Letang's wood. Unfortunately his first two shots with Letang's stick didn't register, but he topped 97 MPH on his third re-try. Last All-Star Game in Montreal, Ovechkin used Malkin's stick on his breakaway stunt.
After an empirical study, I've concluded that Shea Weber shoots the puck very hard.
How cute are those little goalie nets?
While we have some time to kill until the next event I just want everyone to know that the All-Star Game will be broadcast on Penguins HD2 radio Sunday at 4 p.m. Also, Steve Mears will be hosting Penguins Live! on HD2 Monday from the RBC Center.
Fleury and Letang chat at center ice before the SuperSkills competition.
Fleury finished up against Ovechkin. The Capitals captain flipped the puck on his stick while Fleury tried to poke it away mid-air. Fleury did jumping jacks before kicking another shot away. Ovechkin finally scored on his last shot as Fleury laid down to relax. It was the only goal scored on Fleury.
Fleury laid down on his first shot against Corey Perry. He also covered his face with his glove, struck and pose and even let Perry shoot through his legs with a slow-motion movement. But Perry couldn't score.
Fleury in net for the breakaway challenge. First against him is PK Subban (wearing Jeff Skinner's jersey). Fleury did his spin and stick plant while keeping the puck out of the net on all three attempts.
Letang participated in the opening event, the Fastest Skater contest. Letang skated first, beating fellow D-man Duncan Keith with 16.132 seconds. And Letang was skating backwards. Keith had 16.167.
Deep inside the heart of RBC Center lies the media workroom...
Fleury stopped for a quick dance off to Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" with NHL Network. (I have to say that Ke$ha is my ultimate guilty pleasure. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm in love with her. I'll own it. DJ turn it up up up up!!!)
Sorry that this blog seems to be Fleury dominated, but Letang didn't practice this morning and we've been with "Flower" all day. So as not to disappoint, here is Letang signing autographs on the red carpet (Getty Images).
Fleury finished his walk through the red carpet. We followed him as he stopped to greet fans, sign autographs and pose with the Terrible Towel.
Breakaway goal: Jen Bullano
Another side note, the food at RBC Center is ridiculous. This rink is famous for its pulled pork, and by far provides the best media dinner in the NHL. They've taken it up a notch for the All-Star Game with features like apple crusted chicken, pulled pork, stuffed pasta, fried chicken and mac and cheese.
My only disappointment is that they aren't serving their world famous ice cream. Every year I mark my calender for the Carolina trip, just for the ice cream (ask anyone in the league about their ice cream and they'll back up my claims).
It's a good thing the All-Star Game is only here for two days or else I'd add about 28.4 pounds.
Marc-Andre Fleury took some time to autograph some hockey cards.
The players are walking the red carpet right now. You can see all the coverage live on NHL Network.
Some sights from around RBC Center...
The players have been selected for their variouSuperskills competition. Kris Letang will be competing in the Fastest Skater and Challenge Relay. The article did not say which events Marc-Andre Fleury would participate in. Although he will either be in the breakaway challenge or the elimination shootout.
By far the best moment from the All-Star fan fest so far is Steve Mears interviewing the legendary Ronald McDonald. That was pure gold. Why is this so great?
- Before Ronald would admit to being a Penguin fan, he made sure that McDonald's is a Penguins sponsor (which they are). Big Mac Attack!
- The guy giving "bunny ears" to Ronald during the interview. There is something about a camera that transforms grown men into 10-year-old boys.
- Ronald McDonald spittin' knowledge: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
- Ronald discusses his living arrangements with other McDonald's characters. Grimace gets the shaft.
Fleury chats after practice...
Fleury took some time after practice to speak with the media.
On his decision to skate:
It's such a long break between skating. I tried to go out, skate a little bit, stretch it out. It was nice.
On his skills competition:
I don't know. I just show up when they tell me to and try to stop the puck.
On his shooting accuracy:
Awful, awful. They talked to us earlier and said (the goalies) might be doing it. I'm not sure if we're going to do it. Just in case, I worked on it a little bit.
On doing the accuracy:
It's different, pretty tough.
On if the accuracy shooting is unfair to the goalies:
Maybe, but if we do good we can (show up) the players. It could be a good thing for the goalies to get on the players.
On Crosby being cleared for light workouts:
It's good to know. I started to worry about him (laughs). He was bored and wanted to get back. I'm happy for him to start doing stuff. Hopefully, it goes well.
On how fast he can get back into season form:
He's always been in good shape. He's a guy that works really hard all the time.
On being around the other All-Stars:
It's special. The other guys I watched on TV for many years. Some guys I face a lot. There are guys you watch on other teams. It's good to have them on my side for once. I have to keep my head up for the other guys. It's a lot of talent.
On if he is friends with any of the All-Stars:
Tanger (laughs). Cam Ward, we were in camp together. A couple guys from the Olympics.
On his favorite skills event as a kid:
Breakaways, anything with the goalies. I remember Patrick Roy had the camera on his mask. You could see different angles. I thought that was pretty cool.
On the atmosphere:
So far it's been pretty loose. Everyone is here to have a good time, to have fun and put on a good show. It's nothing too serious so far.
The players were a little late getting on the ice for the optional skate, but only a few guys have decided to partake. Four goalies and three defensemen are skating: Fleury, Henrik Lundqvist, Jonas Hiller, Carey Price, Brent Burns, Keith Yandle and Erik Karlsson.
Fleury stretches at RBC Center
Fleury chats with Carey Price (left), probably about post-game celebrations.
Fleury, Lundqvist and Price (left) practice their accuracy shots - or lack thereof.
It’s Day 2 of our All-Star weekend coverage in Raleigh, North Carolina (for the full rundown on Day 1’s events click here). On today’s itinerary we have an early morning practice at 10 a.m. at RBC Center. Later tonight, at 7 p.m. is the Honda Superskills Competition.
And since tonight is the Superskills Competition, and these players are all superstars, we’ll launch the day with “Superstar” by Lupe Fiasco and featuring Matthew Santos. Have no fear. The camera's here.
Here is Fiasco and Santos doing a live version of "Superstar" at Lollapalooza.