Some guys vacation. Some just enjoy family time. Others do their best to heal bumps, bruises and injuries that are lurking, but not publicized.
Corey Perry does not get such luxuries as the only Anaheim Duck representative at the All Star game this weekend.
Perry was not even supposed to be an All Star this year, despite being the reigning NHL MVP. Teemu Selanne was getting the nod, but he declined the invitation. Not only did he decline, saying it was a young man’s game, but also said that Perry was the guy who deserved to be there. Selanne might be 41, but he still plays like a young man.
Nonetheless, Perry got a ticket to Ottawa.
For a guy who was not even supposed to be there, he went in the sixth round of the draft on Thursday evening. Daniel Alfredsson presided over the “home” team and Zdeno Chara headed up the away team. Perry went to Team Chara, ahead of players with names like Sedin and Stamkos, and way ahead of Logan Couture, who earned a car for being the last man standing in the draft.
After everyone was divvied up into teams, it was time to determine who would get to participate in which skills competition.
Team Alfredsson, made up primarily of anyone Swedish or normally in a Senators sweater, ended up winning the Skills Competition.
Team Chara, primarily made up of Slovakian players and Toronto Maple Leafs (can’t have Senators fans having to cheer for their hated enemy!), showed well, but could not overcome Team Alfredsson.
Chara set a new record in the hardest shot competition with 108.8 miles per hour registered with his shot. No wonder no one stands in net for that one.
Jamie Benn, who had an emergency appendectomy a couple weeks ago, won the accuracy competition. Benn has not played a game since his surgery, but was able to participate in the All Star weekend. The Sunday game will be a good warm up for him to come back after the break.
Perry was involved in the breakaway challenge, and made the most of his three attempts. His first effort saw him balancing the puck on his stick and twirling with it dizzily. On his final attempt, his best, Perry stopped mid ice and shed his gloves. Going for something under his jersey, he pulled out a mini stick from his pants. Perry finished his trek down the ice hunched over, handling the puck perfectly and putting it in behind goaltender Brian Elliott.
Perry came in second place for his efforts, losing the Patrick Kane, who added props with a Superman cape, Clark Kent glasses and a puck that shattered into several pieces when slapshotted at the net.
Team Chara may not have come out on top in the skills competition, but they reigned in the actual All Star Game. Marian Gaborik was named the MVP with three goals to his credit, including two that landed behind his New York Rangers teammate, Henrik Lundqvist.
Perry added some icing to the cake by scoring the 11th goal for Team Chara late in the third period. The final score was 12 – 9, and would have been more even were it not for the efforts of Tim Thomas in net for Team Chara.
All in all, a great time had by everyone, but that is the point of the All Star Game. Make it fun. Make it for the fans.
Tomorrow, everyone goes back to work and the serious business of the second half of the season begins.