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2023 NHL All-Star Weekend

Jonathan Huberdeau competes in a Vegas fountain at NHL All-Star Weekend

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Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers competes in the NHL All-Star Skills Competition from the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas on Thursday night. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

Florida Panthers star Jonathan Huberdeau competed in an only-in Las Vegas skills competition to headline the opening night of NHL All-Star Weekend on Friday.

Sort of.

Huberdeau took part in the ‘Fountain Face-Off’ which was held in the famed Bellagio fountains off the Vegas strip.

It was pretty obvious the segment was taped the night before — but does it really matter?

Regardless, it was a cool event as players took a boat out to to a platform in the middle of the fountains and took aim at four targets positioned around the water.

The two players who hit the targets in the least amount of time moved onto the finals in which a fifth target was added.

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Huberdeau, batting leadoff, seemed to be at a disadvantage being the first contestant to play as it took him 39.9 seconds to complete the task. He was quickly eliminated from championship contention.

Still.

“Obviously it was a lot of fun,” Huberdeau said Friday night. “It was different from the other events, being out there on the water, at the Bellagio. That was a lot of fun and I was happy to be a part of it.”

After the first round, the two lowest times faced off in the finals.

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Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davison stole the show with a 16.253, but Zach Werenski and Roman Josi followed her up with a 15.16 and a 11.855 respectively.

Werenski, the Columbus defenseman, won the event by beating Josi in the final.

Vegas, Baby, Vegas

Being Vegas, judging came into play in one of the more popular skills event.

The NHL brought back the Breakaway challenge for the first time since 2018 and it’s safe to say it was a hit, until it was not.

Anaheim rookie Trevor Zegras and Jack Hughes of New Jersey — who happens to be the youngest All-Star — captivated the crowd with two creative moves.

First, Zegras paid homage to the movie ‘Dodgeball’ by performing blindfolded while mascots from around the league tried pegging him with dodgeballs. Zegras actually scored while not being able to see.

He certainly dodged a ball — only no one tossed any wrenches his way.

Hughes followed up by performing a magic trick, with a “younger Hughes” coming out and performing a similar move to the one the older Hughes scored in overtime against the Chicago Blackhawks, completing the move by sharing the same tossing of the stick celebration the latter did following the goal.

Hughes’ goal was the leader headling into the final round.

Alex Pietrangelo of the Vegas Golden Knights was up for the finale.

He skated out and immediately skated the puck into the pads of the netminder.

FAU Alum Carrot Top — because all politics have a local angle — was not amused.

He sent some chirps Pietrangelo’s way (he conviently was mic’d up in the crowd) which convinced the judges to give the Vegas defenseman a second chance.

The Vegas Golden Knights drum corps came onto the ice and Pietrangelo attempted another shot.

Again, he did not score.

Judge Jon Hamm, a St. Louis native and famed Blues fan, scored it a ‘19’ — which was almost double what should have been allowed.

Pietrangelo did help Hamm’s team win the Stanley Cup in 2019, after all.

So, Pietrangelo won the event — a result no one will remember tomorrow.

Those two goals from Zegras and Hughes, however, will be shown over and over.

What’s Next?

Huberdeau and Florida coach Andrew Brunette will join the Atlantic Division team against the best of the Central in the first round of the NHL All-Star Game in its 3-on-3 tournament.

The winner of that game will face the winner of the Pacific/Metropolitan semifinal.

Team Atlantic will play the second game.

Each player on the winning team splits $1 million.

NHL ALL-STAR GAME

LAS VEGAS

  • WHEN: Saturday 3:30
  • TV/STREAMING: ABC-10, ESPN+
  • WHERE: T-Mobile Arena
  • PANTHERS PARTICIPATING: Jonathan Huberdeau, coach Andrew Brunette

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