LCS Hockey: Born Again
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May 30, 2020
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Skills Primer

The Dodge Nitro/NHL SuperSkills event and the YoungStars Game will be televised tonight on Versus. Coverage starts at 7:30PM EST. So, yeah, "Versus" must be like a network or something. Good luck finding it on your TV machines.

In preparation for the big show, here's a look at the two events, including past winners and things to watch for this year.

The first YoungStars Game was held in 2002. Looking at the rosters, I have no idea how they divided up the talent. Each team had guys from both conferences and all sorts of countries. The teams were even named for their coaches, Barry Melrose and Jim Fox. Aw, I loved Jim Fox on "Family Ties."

Powered by the magical mullet, Team Melrose prevailed, 13-7. Remember, the game is played four-on-four with a running clock and all penalties are penalty shots, so scoring isn't exactly hard. Ilya Kovalchuk was the MVP, ringing up seven goals. That's right, seven goals. Roberto Luongo stopped 37 shots for the win.

The game got a bit more serious in 2003, with the teams actually named for their conferences. The YoungStars East beat the West, 8-3. Washington's Brian Sutherby won MVP honors with two goals and an assist. Ryan Miller got the win in net.

2004 saw the YoungStars West earn their first victory, 7-3. Philippe Sauve stopped 18 of 21 shots to capture MVP honors. Jonathan Cheechoo was the offensive star, collecting four assists.

And that's about it. The YoungStars is always cool, but aside from Kovalchuk scoring like a chimp and Melrose cackling like a madman, there really haven't been many defining moments. This year could be different with Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin tearing it up for the East. Yes, sir, seeing Malkin and Semin on the ice together will be special. Can't wait. Semin's gonna be there, right?

Complete rosters and summaries for the first three YoungStars games are at the bottom of this here article. Tell your friends.

It all started back in 1990 with some Styrofoam plates and a dream. Seventeen years later, the Skills Competition is still going strong.

Puck Control Relay
It's kind of like the red-headed stepchild of skills competitions. No one really cares who wins the puck control relay. It's pretty much a big waste of time. The only entertainment comes when someone loses the puck or trips over an orange cone. After three-man squads from each conference go at it, there's always an individual race. Paul Kariya has dominated the one-on-one battles, winning four times. Surprisingly, Rick Nash won the individual crown in 2004. You don't really think of Nash as a nimble puckhandler. These days it's hard to even think of him as a goal-scorer. This year, assuming he does it, Sidney Crosby will win it.

2004 Rick Nash
2003 Martin St. Louis
2002 Paul Kariya
2001 Paul Kariya
2000 Paul Kariya
1999 Paul Kariya
1998 Teemu Selanne
1997 Geoff Sanderson
1996 Pierre Turgeon
1994 Russ Courtnall

Fastest Skater
No word yet on who will participate in this year's event, but if Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin decide to wind it up, the East should have a huge advantage. Jason Blake and Martin St. Louis would also seem to be natural choices.

The West's chances of winning took a serious hit when Scott Niedermayer bailed out with a foot injury. But there's still plenty of speed in the likes of Patrick Marleau, Martin Havlat, and Andy McDonald. My money would probably be on Marleau. Although I've heard officials have a calendar handy if Yanic Perreault decides to race. Bill Guerin actually won the event in 2001, but his walker and pocketful of hard candy may slow him down.


2004 S. Niedermayer    13.783 seconds
2003 Marian Gaborik    13.713 seconds
2002 Sami Kapanen      14.039 seconds
2001 Bill Guerin       13.690 seconds
2000 Sami Kapanen      13.649 seconds
1999 Peter Bondra      14.640 seconds
1998 S. Niedermayer    13.560 seconds
1997 Peter Bondra      13.610 seconds
1996 Mike Gartner      13.386 seconds
1994 Sergei Fedorov    13.525 seconds
1993 Mike Gartner      13.510 seconds
1992 Sergei Fedorov    14.363 seconds

Hardest Shot
Mention the Skills Competition and most people immediately think of Al Iafrate and Al MacInnis uncorking wicked slappers. This year's crop of All-Stars boasts similar firepower. And, once again, the East would have to be the favorites, with Ovechkin, Sheldon Souray, and Zdeno Chara locked and loaded. I wouldn't mind seeing Dany Heatley give it a whirl, either.

The West's hopes would seem to rest with Dion Phaneuf. But don't count out Brian Rolston. He can bring it. Just ask Roberto Luongo.

This is a tough call. But I'd probably lean towards Chara.


2004 Adrian Aucoin   102.2 mph
2003 Al MacInnis      98.9 mph
2002 Sergei Fedorov  101.5 mph
2001 Fredrik Modin   102.1 mph
2000 Al MacInnis     100.1 mph
1999 Al MacInnis      98.5 mph
1998 Al MacInnis     100.4 mph
1997 Al MacInnis      98.9 mph
1996 Dave Manson      98.0 mph
1994 Al Iafrate      102.7 mph
1993 Al Iafrate      105.2 mph
1992 Al MacInnis      93.0 mph
1991 Al MacInnis      94.0 mph
1990 Al Iafrate       96.0 mph

Shooting Accuracy
Who doesn't like shooting at paper plates? The Shooting Accuracy event has spoiled more picnics than fire ants. And while most everyone recalls Ray Bourque ripping four targets in four shots, my favorite memory was watching Dmitri Khristich in 1999 barely hit the net. Khristich must have had a few too many pre-show cocktails. It was like he had never even shot a puck before. Med schools are still using the tape to teach students how to recognize victims of head injuries.

Bourque won the event an amazing eight times. But guess who's second? Good ol' JR Superstar. That's right, Roenick won it three times. In fact, he's the two-time defending champion. The threepeat could be tricky. It's gonna be tough seeing the targets from Phoenix.

Brendan Shanahan could be this year's top sniper. He won in 1994 and 1998.


2004 Jeremy Roenick  4 hits, 4 shots
2003 Jeremy Roenick  4 hits, 6 shots
2002 Jarome Iginla   4 hits, 6 shots
     Markus Naslund
2001 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 6 shots
2000 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 5 shots
     Viktor Kozlov
1999 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 6 shots
     Jeremy Roenick
     Keith Tkachuk
1998 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 6 shots
     Peter Forsberg
     B. Shanahan
1997 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 7 shots
1996 Mark Messier    4 hits, 4 shots
1994 B. Shanahan     4 hits, 5 shots
1993 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 4 shots
1992 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 4 shots
1991 Mark Messier    4 hits, 6 shots
1990 Ray Bourque     4 hits, 7 shots

In the Zone
This is a recent addition, appearing for the first time in 2004. Basically, three shooters stand in predetermined spots on the ice forming a triangle in front of the opposing goaltender. The shooters get two passes to try and score on the netminder. After two passes, they have to shoot. This is a goaltending event. So the saves count.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well, it should. I invented it!

That's right. Except I used to call it the "Pyramid of Doom." Back in the day, LCS used to have a coaching section with drills and whatnot to help young hockey players. I invented the drill while playing street hockey in my beloved hometown of Greensburg, PA. I think the city even hung a plaque to commemorate the achievement.

I put the drill online in 1998, six years before the NHL "thought" of it. Listen, I don't care if the NHL wants to steal from me, but why not steal all my ideas? I'm very bright. It's like they won't even consider cheerleading chimps. But check out the original LCS page for yourself...

The Pyramid of Doom

Breakaway Relay
This should be the coolest event ever. Nothing but breakaways. But too often guys just skate in and shoot the puck. C'mon, let's bust out the creativity. I want to see props. Or at least a chimp on a tricycle. Chimps equal comedy. But if you don't deke, you're a punk.

Past highlights would include Teemu Selanne's one-legged, fake-shot, backhand move that's become a staple of every breakaway artist's arsenal and Doug Weight's formidable skate turn, hip pivot, backhand-forehand trickery. But nothing was better than watching Mario Lemieux swoop in and beat Ed Belfour in sudden death to win the whole shebang one year.

You know Ovechkin will have something special up his sleeve. And don't be surprised to see Crosby go for a spin-o-rama. Others to keep an eye on would be Havlat, Vincent Lecavalier, and Marian Hossa. They know how to make it fun. I'm just hoping Rolston tees up a slapper. That would be swell.


Team Melrose
Coach: Barry Melrose
No. Player P Team
13 Datsyuk, Pavel C Det
17 Hartnell, Scott RW Nsh
15 Heatley, Dany LW Atl
22 Huselius, Kristian RW Fla
17 Kovalchuk, Ilya RW Atl
11 Legwand, David C Nsh
1 Luongo, Roberto G Fla
23 Mara, Paul D Phx
28 Regehr, Robyn D Cgy
19 Richards, Brad C TB
45 Tanabe, David D Car
14 Williams, Justin RW Phi

Team Fox
Coach: Jim Fox
No. Player P Team
31 Blackburn, Dan G NYR
44 Boynton, Nick D Bos
19 Calder, Kyle C Chi
89 Comrie, Mike C Edm
18 Connolly, Tim C Buf
7 Ference, Andrew D Pit
12 Fisher, Mike C Ott
10 Gaborik, Marian LW Min
10 Morrow, Brenden LW Dal
23 Rachunek, Karel D Ott
71 Ribeiro, Mike C Mtl

First Period
1. Fox - Comrie (Ribeiro, Morrow) 1:37
2. Melrose - Heatley (Datsyuk) 4:19
3. Fox - Connolly (Comrie) 4:34
4. Fox - Comrie (unassisted) 4:46
5. Melrose - Kovalchuk (Tanabe) 5:13
6. Melrose - Kovalchuk (Richards, Hartnell) 5:37
7. Melrose - Kovalchuk (Tanabe) 10:24
8. Melrose - Richards (unassisted) 11:59
Penalties: None.

Second Period
9. Melrose - Kovalchuk (Legwand, Williams) 0:22
10. Melrose - Legwand (Mara) 1:27
11. Melrose - Huselius (Richards, Datsyuk) 3:44
12. Fox - Calder (Fisher, Rachunek) 5:56
13. Melrose - Legwand (Mara, Heatley) 7:17
14. Melrose - Kovalchuk (unassisted) 10:42
15. Fox - Morrow (Ribeiro) 11:52
Penalties: Luongo (Melrose) (delay of game) 9:24.

Third Period
16. Fox - Comrie (Ribeiro) 6:35
17. Melrose - Huselius (Legwand, Heatley) 7:47
18. Melrose - Kovalchuk (penalty shot) 9:48
19. Melrose - Kovalchuk (unassisted) 11:38
20. Fox - Ribeiro (Calder) 11:48
Penalties: None.

Shots on Goal 
Melrose (29) 10 - 9 - 10
Fox (44) 18 - 13 - 13

Melrose - Luongo
Fox - Blackburn


YoungStars East
Coaches: (Ottawa)   Roger Neilson,
Perry Pearn, Don Jackson
No. Player P Team
4 Bouwmeester, Jay D Fla
55 Brendl, Pavel RW Car
14 Hagman, Niklas LW Fla
81 Hossa, Marcel LW Mtl
30 Miller, Ryan G Buf
24 Pyatt, Taylor LW Buf
36 Seidenberg, Dennis D Phi
46 Sutherby, Brian C Wsh
16 Svitov, Alexander C TB
10 Tallinder, Henrik D Buf
24 Volchenkov, Anton D Ott
11 Weinhandl, Mattias RW NYI
9 Weiss, Stephen C Fla

YoungStars West
Coaches: (Vancouver)   Jack McIlhargey,
Mike Johnson
No. Player P Team
1 Aebischer, David G Col
39 Arnason, Tyler C Chi
23 Chistov, Stanislav LW Ana
24 Frolov, Alexander LW LA
18 Hall, Adam RW Nsh
10 Horcoff, Shawn C Edm
5 Jackman, Barret D StL
39 Kapanen, Niko C Dal
44 Klesla, Rostislav D CBJ
4 Leopold, Jordan D Cgy
61 Nash, Rick LW CBJ
29 Radivojevic, Branko RW Phx
55 Schultz, Nick D Min
4 Vaananen, Ossi D Phx

First Period
1. East - Brendl (Svitov, Hossa) 2:28
2. East - Volchenkov (Weinhandl,Weiss) 6:26
3. East - Weiss (unassisted) 7:06
4. East - Sutherby (Seidenberg, Hossa) 7:58
5. West - Hall (Nash, Schultz) 9:06
6. West - Nash (Arnason, Hall) 9:26
Penalties: None.

Second Period
7. West - Nash (Radivojevic, Horcoff) 6:48
Penalties: None.

Third Period
8. East - Weinhandl (unassisted) 2:40
9. East - Pyatt (Sutherby) 7:59
10. East - Sutherby (Bouwmeester, Seidenberg) 9:05
11. East - Brendl (unassisted) 9:45
Penalties: None.

Shots on Goal 
East (29) 11 - 7 - 11
West (13) 3 - 5 - 5

East - Miller
West - Aebischer


YoungStars East
Coach: Tom Reid
No. Player P Team
37 Bergeron, Patrice C Bos
7 Hunter, Trent RW NYI
12 Malone, Ryan LW Pit
7 Martin, Paul D NJ
44 Orpik, Brooks D Pit
44 Pitkanen, Joni D Phi
1 Raycroft, Andrew G Bos
9 Roy, Derek C Buf
73 Ryder, Michael RW Mtl
12 Staal, Eric C Car
14 Stajan, Matt C Tor

YoungStars West
Coach: Lou Nanne
No. Player P Team
96 Bouchard, Pierre-Marc LW Min
14 Cheechoo, Jonathan RW Nsh
44 Ehrhoff, Christian D SJ
2 Hamhuis, Dan D Nsh
18 Lombardi, Matthew C Cgy
15 Lupul, Joffrey C Ana
15 Ruutu, Tuomo C Chi
30 Sauve, Philippe G Col
5 Semenov, Alexei D Edm
14 Torres, Raffi LW Edm
13 Zherdev, Nikolai RW CBJ

First Period
1. East - Staal (Bergeron, Ryder) 5:24
2. West - Torres (Cheechoo) 6:45
3. West - Zherdev (Ruutu) 9:35
Penalties: None.

Second Period
4. West - Ehrhoff (Zherdev) 1:35
5. East - Malone (Stajan, Martin) 2:23
6. West - Lupul (Cheechoo) 8:22
Penalties: None.

Third Period
7. West - Lupul (Cheechoo) 2:05
8. West - Bouchard (unassisted) 4:31
9. West - Lupul (Cheechoo) 6:42
10. East - Stajan (Hunter) 8:52
Penalties: None.

Shots on Goal 
East (21) 9 - 9 - 3
West (24) 8 - 6 - 10

East - Raycroft
West - Sauve


7 - Ilya Kovalchuk, Team Melrose, 2002
3 - Mike Comrie, Team Fox, 2002
3 - Joffrey Lupul, YoungStars West, 2004

3 - Ilya Kovalchuk, Team Melrose, first period, 2002

4 - Jonathan Cheechoo, YoungStars West, 2004
3 - Mike Ribeiro, Team Fox, 2002

2 - David Tanabe, Team Melrose, first period, 2002
2 - Paul Mara, Team Melrose, second period, 2002
2 - Marcel Hossa, YoungStars East, first period, 2003
2 - Jonathan Cheechoo, YoungStars West, third period, 2004

7 - Ilya Kovalchuk, Team Melrose, 2002 (7G)
4 - Mike Comrie, Team Fox, 2002 (3G-1A)
4 - David Legwand, Team Melrose, 2002 (2G, 2A)
4 - Mike Ribeiro, Team Fox, 2002 (1G, 3A)
4 - Jonathan Cheechoo, YoungStars West, 2004 (4A)

3 - Mike Comrie, Team Fox, first period, 2002 (2G, 1A)
3 - Ilya Kovalchuk, Team Melrose, first period, 2002 (3G)
3 - David Legwand, Team Melrose, second period, 2002 (2G, 1A)

LCS Hockey: Born Again
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