Sunday, February 2, 2003

MacInnis, Roy lead West to skills victory

By Ira Podell
The Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. - Al MacInnis proved he can shoot the puck harder than anyone, no matter what stick he's using.

The St. Louis Blues' defenseman won the NHL's hardest-shot competition for the seventh time, leading the Western Conference to a 15-9 victory in the All-Star skills Saturday night.

Shunning a composite stick - one made of graphite for example - to use an old-fashioned wooden one, MacInnis won for the first time since a four-year run between 1997-2000 with a shot at 98.9 mph. The 39-year-old player in his 12th All-Star game wasn't on the North America team in either of the past two years.

"It's working for me, so I'm not going to change," MacInnis said. "I don't have that much time left anyway."

At the start of the evening, planned ceremonies with a space theme were significantly cut back in memory of the seven astronauts killed in the space shuttle Columbia accident earlier in the day.

The shuttle, scheduled to land in Cape Canaveral, about 200 miles north of the All-Star festivities, broke apart over Texas.

The NHL switched the format for All-Star weekend back to the traditional East against West matchup after five years pitting North America against the World.

Patrick Roy helped the West's cause in goal, stopping eight of nine shots in two events. The no-checking, high-scoring style in this exhibition is not usually goalie-friendly.

"The fun part is being named to the team. After that, the nightmare starts," Roy said.

MacInnis used the more popular composite stick all last season, but said he was never comfortable with the feel and puck control it provided. While it might be able to let go a more powerful shot, it didn't do so with enough consistency to suit MacInnis - so he switched back to wood this season.

"It's worked pretty well for me," MacInnis said. "The puck doesn't bounce as much, and with a wooden stick I think there's a little bit more give."

MacInnis was the only player in the eight-man event to use a wooden stick and won with a second attempt.

"The guy's a freak," Eastern forward Jeremy Roenick said. "I'm never going to get in front of his shots."

Jarome Iginla, who recorded the second-fastest West shot at 97.3 mph, wasn't surprised MacInnis won again.

"I'd just like to know how much more power he could generate with a composite stick," Iginla said.

The West, using Doug Weight, Nicklas Lidstrom and Ray Whitney, won the team puck control relay to earn one point. The East got even by winning the individual part of the event, when Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, in his first All-Star game, edged 1998 winner Teemu Selanne.

Paul Kariya won the individual event each of the last four seasons, but the speedy Anaheim forward, making his seventh All-Star appearance, didn't compete this year.

Marian Gaborik, also an All-Star rookie, was the fastest skater. He circled the ice in 13.713 seconds. The West easily won the team event, with its three skaters beating all but one player from the East.

Roenick knocked out four targets with six shots to win the shooting accuracy event. He matched his percentage of 1999, when he finished in a three-way tie at the top.

The West won the pass and score event 3-1, and the breakaway relay 7-5 in competition that showcased the goalies.

Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, traded from the host Florida Panthers to the West's Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Thursday, didn't take part in Saturday's media availability or the skills competition because he was uncomfortable returning to South Florida so soon after being dealt.

He is expected to play in Sunday's All-Star game as a member of the Eastern Conference team. Ozolinsh will, however, be introduced as an Anaheim player.

The NHL has held the skills competition every All-Star weekend since 1990. The Western/Campbell conference has won five times. The Eastern/Wales Conference finished first three times. The World team held a 4-1 advantage over North America.

All-Star Skills Results



Eastern Conference 9, Western Conference 15



Heat 1

Three-player squads

West (Doug Weight, Nicklas Lidstrom, Ray Whitney) def. East (Marian Hossa, Tom Poti, Vincent Lecavalier).

Heat 2


Martin St. Louis (East) def. Teemu Selanne (West).



West 14.123 seconds (average) (x-Marian Gaborik, 13.713, Sergei Fedorov, 14.443, Bill Guerin 14.213) def. East 14.573 (Miroslav Satan, 14.949, Tom Poti, 14.567, Martin St. Louis, 14.207).

x-earned team point



Team (average of team's eight shots)

West (96.2 mph) def. East (93.6)


Jarome Iginla, West, 97.3, 97.2

Rob Blake, West, 94.2, 91.8

Sergei Fedorov, West, 92.8, 94.4

x-Al MacInnis, West, 96.2, 98.9.

Scott Stevens, East, 93.3, 93.6.

Roman Hamrlik, East, 89.6, 86.4.

Alexei Kovalev, East, 93.5, 93.3.

Zdeno Chara, East, 97.8, 96.0.

x-earned team point




East (15 hits-28 shots) def. West (12-32)



Todd Bertuzzi (3-8), Marian Gaborik (3-8), Peter Forsberg (3-8), Markus Naslund (3-8).


Jeff O'Neill (4-7), x-Jeremy Roenick (4-6), Glen Murray (4-7), Joe Thornton (3-8)

x-earned team point


PASS AND SCORE (Shooters in parentheses)

West wins 3-1


Martin Brodeur, 2 goals against (Mathieu Schneider, Mike Modano, Ray Whitney).

Patrick Lalime, 0 goals against (Eric Brewer, Doug Weight, Jarome Iginla).

Nikolai Khabibulin, 1 goal against (Ed Jovanovski, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi).


Marty Turco, 0 goals against (Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar, Jeff O'Neill).

Jocelyn Thibault, 1 goal against (Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, Miroslav Satan).

Patrick Roy, 0 goals against (Olli Jokinen, Alexei Kovalev, Dany Heatley).




Round 1

Eric Brewer (Goal), Al MacInnis (Save), Bill Guerin (Save), Ray Whitney (Save), Doug Weight (Save), Mike Modano (Goal), vs. Martin Brodeur (2 goals-4 saves).

Round 2

Niklas Lidstrom (G), Mathieu Schneider (S), Todd Bertuzzi (S), Jarome Iginla (S), Teemu Selanne (S), Paul Kariya (G), vs. Patrick Lalime (2 goals-4 saves)

Round 3

Rob Blake (G), Ed Jovanovski (S), Markus Naslund (G), Marian Gaborik (S), Peter Forsberg (G), Sergei Fedorov (S) vs. Nikolai Khabibulin (3 goals-3 saves).


Round 1

Tom Poti (G), Martin St. Louis (S), Dany Heatley (G), Glen Murray (S), Joe Thornton (S), Miroslav Satan (S) vs. Marty Turco (2 goals-4 saves).

Round 2

Zdeno Chara (S), Sergei Gonchar (G), Jeff O'Neill (S), Olli Jokinen (S), Marian Hossa (S), Jaromir Jagr (G) vs. Jocelyn Thibault (2 goals-4 saves).

Round 3

Roman Hamrlik (S), Scott Stevens (S), Martin St. Louis (S), Jeremy Roenick (S), Alexei Kovalev (G), Vincent Lecavalier (S), vs. Patrick Roy (1 goal-5 saves)


GOALIE COMPETITION (combined score from Pass and Score and breakaway relay)

1 - Patrick Roy (0, 1)

2 - Marty Turco (0, 2)

2 - Patrick Lalime (0, 2)

3 - Jocelyn Thibault (1, 2)

4 - Martin Brodeur (2, 2)

4 - Nikolai Khabibulin (1, 3)

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