Donovan leads team red in Senators Super Skills victory

Okay, maybe Shean Donovan didn't win any official events in the Ottawa Senators Super Skills competition today, he won the best dressed award when he came out for the fastest skater competition in a speed skater's full body suit. The getup earned him the nickname 'Catriona Lemay Donovan' from teammate Mike Fisher, after the legendary Canadian speed skater. He also got some help in the event from teammate Chris Phillips, who brought out a couple protective pads to prevent Donovan from crashing into the boards and getting an injury like last year's. The final score of the event (including points from some kids who were also competing) was 13 for red and 6 for black.

His team red teammate Ryan Shannon won the fastest skating competition over Donovan, though, and also won the puck control relay to help team red beat team black convincingly. You know who didn't win the puck control relay? Chris Neil, who somehow snuck onto the ticket for that event. Neil also tried the fastest skater, but he fell going around the corner, and got the worst time (credit, though, for finishing strong, and Neil did make up for it in the shootout--more on that later). Fisher somehow tied Milan Michalek in the one-on-one puck control competition.

The hardest shot competition was highliy contested, with Matt Carkner's 100.9 mph blast bested only by Fisher, who hit two in a row at 101.3 mph to retain his hardest-shooter title. Daniel Alfredsson, the team black captain, also broke the 100 mph threshold with his 100.1 mph slapshot (apparently his secret was imagining Scott Niedermayer in front of the net).

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Biggest surprise of the night had to be team black's Jonathan Cheechoo's accuracy shooting victory; the Cheechoo Train took out four targets on five shots. Team red's shooters were Jesse Winchester (4/6), Jason Spezza (4/7), and Alex Kovalev (4/6), while Cheechoo was joined on black with Jarkko Ruutu (4/6) and Chris Kelly (4/7). Kelly assumed it was the accuracy passing competition, but still did pretty well.

The powerplay challenge was a rather complicated event, with three forwards taking a 3-on-1 powerplay to control the puck and score as many goals as they could in a minute. The Ruutu-Kelly-Neil line got one shot (no goals) with Phillips and Pascal Leclaire defending, and the line of Winchester-Spezza-Donovan fared no better against Anton Volchenkov and Brian Elliott. Cheechoo kept his hot streak going thanks to a pass from Alfredsson, and his linemate Peter Regin also got one past Leclaire, but the red team's next trio had Kovalev scoring twice and Fisher getting another, so red took the win.

In the shootout competition, Kovalev stole the show with a sweet one-handed backhand (is that even possible?) over Elliott's glove, although Ruutu tried to use a wig and moustache to get some points from the fans. Even Neil had a nice dangle and scored on Leclaire, saving his stickhandling from the entire season to display them in the skills competition. One of the minor hockey players tried to flip the puck onto his stick and spin around to launch it at the net (sort of like this kid's), and got the puck up, but hit the goalie right in the chest (hard to be accurate with those, I'd guess).

The survivor shootout was a demonstration in goaltending. No one on team black could get anything past Leclaire, while Elliott stopped all but two in the first round (Shannon and Spezza scored on him) and only Spezza could get past him in the second. Unfortunately, the NHL will likely not recognize Spezza's goals as the start of another consecutive game goal-scoring streak.

Pretty fun time, all in all, and in front of a pretty huge crowd of 15,112 people--sadly, more than have attended some actual games this season, but also not sadly, because $100,000 was donated to a few charities.

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