Flames are one skilled bunch

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:04 PM ET

Youre not alone wondering how Ales Kotalik has just one goal in 14 games this season.

Especially after seeing him during the Flames skills competition Sunday at the Saddledome.

Kotalik, the much-maligned right winger showed just how hard he can shoot the puck by blasting a puck 105.1 mph to easily win the hardest shot competition. He also nailed the four targets in six chances in the accuracy event.

People always tell me I have a good shot, but Ive never had it (gunned) before, so that was fun, Kotalik said. I was surprised its up there.

The record for hardest slapshot during the NHL all-star game festivities is 105.4 miles per hour, set by Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara.

Sheldon Souray drilled a shot 106.7 miles per hour during the Edmonton Oilers skills competition a couple of years ago.

Which goes to show just how hard Kotalik can fire a puck.

Im obviously not doing something right, said head coach Brent Sutter. I have to get him in situations to use that shot.

Unfortunately for the Flames, Kotalik hasnt been blasting for goals often enough. Sure, hes averaging 2.5 shots per game, but he isnt seen firing pucks from those great positions. His one goal this season was a thing of beauty, too, a quick wrister into the top shelf.

Hey, Kolts is a shooter, and thats what we need him to do. Hes got to fire the puck, Sutter said. You can see he can shoot the puck, but hes got to get into those areas to shoot it. If we can get him going, get him in a zone where he can be an effective player, that could be huge for us.

For his part, Kotalik said hes firing pucks.

Im trying to shoot as much as possible, but you need a little luck for some of those pucks to go in, said the right-winger who was a healthy scratch last game but likely will return to the lineup when the Flames face Carolina Tuesday.

I know what I have. Its just a matter of how those things you have to offer are used and how much you play. Its tough right now, and Im trying to find a way to help the team.

Ive got to go out there and focus on those things which make you better and help the team in the role you have.

Anton Babchuk finished second in the hardest shot event, ripping a slapper 103.2 miles per hour. The other surprise of that event was rookie Mikael Backlund driling a puck 99.5 miles per hour.

Rene Bourque, another player struggling to score of late with no goals in 10 games, won the accuracy event by hitting the four targets in four shots. Jarome Iginla and Matt Stajan hit four in five tries.

David Moss won the fastest skater with a time of 14.35 seconds, beating a field which didnt include speedster Curtis Glencross but did have the great skating Jay Bouwmeester.

I would have bet money on Bo, but he probably was trying to make sure he didnt pull a groin, and I was going as fast as I could go, Moss said.


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