SUN Hockey Pool

Chara has a blast

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

DALLAS -- Zdeno Chara carries a big stick. And it's officially the NHL's best.

The Boston Bruins defenceman scored a victory for the East in the NHL's hardest shot contest with a blast of 100.4 mph last night in the SuperSkills competition at the all-star festivities.

The 6-foot-9 blueliner edged out Montreal defenceman Sheldon Souray, who fired a shot of 100 mph, but predicted Chara would win.

Neither player threatened the record 105.3-mph mark set by Washington defenceman Al Iafrate in 1993, but fans always like to see a player break the 100-mph barrier.

"Obviously, it's one of those things I like to work on and improve," said Chara. "But I feel it's more important to have accuracy than to have the hardest shot. I know I can shoot hard, but I have to improve my accuracy.

"This is different because you have to time your own speed from the blue line and make sure you get a big swing into it. You also want to make sure you keep it low."

There was a surprise in the fastest skater event. Washington's Alexander Ovechkin had declared that he would win, but was last among the six skaters with a time of 15:19. Anaheim's Andy McDonald won at 14.03 while San Jose's Patrick Marleau was at 14.08.

"I wouldn't have picked myself coming into this, I guarantee you that," said McDonald. "I would have picked Patrick Marleau. That's for sure."

Overall, the East beat the West 15-11 in the compeition.

Before the big boys took the ice, the NHL YoungStars from the East and West had a showdown that would make most coaches wince as the two teams combined for 17 goals in 30 minutes.

EAST'S KIDS TRIUMPH

Goaltenders Kari Lehtonen of Atlanta and Colorado's Peter Budaj didn't have much of a chance as the East escaped with a 9-8 victory.

New Jersey's Zach Parise finished with six points with two goals and four assists while Boston's Phil Kessel had three goals and an assist.

Los Angeles centre Anze Kopitar had two goals and five points for the West.

"It was a lot of fun out there," said Parise. "That was a great game to play in because we didn't play any defence. All you had to worry about was trying to score."


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