Carl Hagelin's victory in the Fastest Skater competition highlighted Saturday's SuperSkills competition at Scotiabank Place from a Rangers point of view, and also helped Team Alfredsson defeat Team Chara by the score of 21-12.
Hagelin defeated fellow rookie Colin Greening in the final of the Fastest Skater event after the two skated to a near photo finish in a preliminary heat, one that was awarded to Greening when his stick crossed the finish line despite the fact that Hagelin's body actually beat Greening's body over the line.
The Rangers rookie becomes the first Blueshirt to win the Fastest Skater competition since future Hall-of-Famer Mike Gartner did so back in 1993.
"Don't be putting that on me," laughed Hagelin when informed of that fact following the SuperSkills. "He has much better hands and a much better shot than me, that's for sure. I am not in his league. But this was great tonight. It was so much fun being around players you watched growing up. I really had a great time."
Henrik Lundqvist, the assistant captain of Team Alfredsson, did his part in making sure his team won the SuperSkills on Saturday, too. Lundqvist took part in only one event, but excelled in the Elimination Shootout, stopping six of the seven shots he faced.
After denying Greening and Pavel Datsyuk on peanlty shot-type breakaways, Lundqvist surrendered a goal on a gorgeous move to the NHL's leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin. Lundqvist then was credited with a stop when Corey Perry's shot went off the crossbar, concluding Lundqvist's first round of action.
Lundqvist represented Team Alfredsson during the second elimination round and saved all three shots he faced---first denying Malkin in a shootout rematch before stopping Jarome Iginla and Kimmo Timonen.
Dan Girardi was part of Team Alfredsson's winning effort, serving as the passer to Jason Spezza and Henrik Sedin in the Accuracy Shooting contest.
The lone Ranger not to represent Team Alfredsson was Marian Gaborik, who took part in two events for Team Chara. Gaborik was his team's target shooter in the first round of the Skills Challenge Relay, and he was in the Elimination shootout, where Brian Elliott denied his only attempt.
"It was a lot of fun for the fans, and for the players, too," said Gaborik afterwards. "It's really great to meet other players for the first time and talk with them, get to know them, along with spending time with my Rangers teammates. And it was great to see Carl flying out there. I was really happy for him."
The 2012 NHL All Star Game will take place Sunday at 4:00 PM, concluding a busy weekend for the four Rangers and their head coach John Tortorella, who will stand behind Team Alfredsson's bench on Sunday.
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