So much for Jamie Benn's shot being a big secret.
The Dallas Stars lone representative at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game played the part of Texas sharp-shooter to perfection in Saturday's Skills Competition. Even though he hasn't played in nearly two weeks after an emergency appendectomy, he posted the two best times in the shooting accuracy challenge and also had the most impressive performance in the one-timer portion of the skills relay.
Benn started his night by going 4-for-6 in the accuracy competition in 13.583 seconds, and he beat Matt Read in the finals going 4-for-5 in 10.204 seconds. The two times combined were faster than it took several others, including Steven Stamkos, to hit four targets.
But my favorite was probably this article from The Sporting News, which got some nice quotes from other guys about how well he performed and focused more, and rightly so, on his performance in the skills relay. Going 3-for-3 from that severe angle, especially without the goalie for a Mike Ribeiro-esque bank shot, is extremely impressive.
It also probably featured the best quote from Benn in any of the stories.
"It meant a lot, because there was a possibility I might not be able to come," Benn said. "Fortunately, I’m here, and it’s fun, and a good weekend so far. … Experiencing the weekend and meeting the guys, and going out there and having a good time, it’s nice to get away from the serious games sometimes and just have fun, and goof around. Winning’s not bad either."
After the jump, watch Benn's performance in both the accuracy competition and skills relay, catch up with your daily dose of Sidney Crosby news and read about one of the more unique ways to make a shootout save courtesy of Carey Price.
- First, for those of you who had somewhere else to be on Saturday evening, here's video of Benn's winning round in the accuracy shooting. I love that Jeremy Roenick is paying so little attention, he doesn't know how many shots Benn took. The Stars also have his first round up on the official site.
- To watch him go 3-for-3 on the goal-line one timers, the only player last night to do so, check out the full video of the skills relay on NHL.com. Benn is in the second group for Team Chara, which is the third relay featured on the video. Other performances of note in this include Pavel Datsyuk owning his edges, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin mastering the dastardly mini-net passing challenge and Phil Kessel answering the boos of the Ottawa Senators faithful. Also, James Neal hits the post twice. Shocking. [NHL.com]
- Corey Perry needs to stop saying cute things about his grandmother and doing funny bits like mini-sticks in the shootout competition and let me go back to hating him. [Yahoo]
- I love catching up with Benn's hometown paper, since they always have some interesting background on the Benn boys. In this one, I learned that they're buddies with Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne and that his local Junior B hockey league hands out the Jamie Benn MVP Trophy. This needs to make an appearance in a team prank. [Victoria Times Colonist]
- Lest we forget, there's going to be one heck of a dogfight for the final Western Conference playoff spots when play resumes Tuesday. This article breaks down where all the players sit heading into the home stretch. [ProHockeyTalk]
- Along those lines, the NHL trade alert sounded before the skills competition when the Calgary Flames sent Brendan Morrison, former Dallas Stars player and brother-in-law of Daryl Reaugh, to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brian Connelly. [NBC Chicago]
- Jamie Oleksiak has become an even more important player for the Niagra IceDogs and injuries and suspensions have taken a toll on the rest of the team's defensemen. [Bullet News]
- Sidney Crosby alert. If you're sick of news about him, skip to the next bullet. Apparently a third-party doctor found evidence of a healed injury to Crosby's C1 and C2 vertebrae, or the bones at the very top of your neck. That raises all sorts of questions that are well laid out here. [Puck Daddy]
- Around the Pacific Division: In his annual state of the NHL address, commissioner Gary Bettman said there are three possible bidders who could keep the Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona. I hope for their fans' sake one of those groups finally comes through. [ESPN]
- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price moved much higher up my personal list of likeable hockey players when he turned around and used the reflection in the glass to make the save on Philadelphia Flyers rookie Sean Couturier. This clip features video from CBC, where he was also mic'd up and providing live commentary. Awesome. I know some people think this whole breakaway contest is stupid, and it is, but it also can bring the comedy. [Backhand Shelf]
- The NHL Network interview where Jamie Benn talks more about his appendectomy, how his hair compares to Barry Melrose's and who all came with him to the All-Star game. He probably talked more in one sitting for this than he has all weekend.