ST. LOUIS — The Hardest Shot competition is the premier event of the NHL All-Star Skills Challenge and the equivilant of MLB's Home Run Derby or the NBA's Slam Dunk contest.
And, the Blues just happen to claim the best player to ever compete in the event.
Al Macinnis' slap shot is truly legendary.
Defensemen and goalies feared it as one of the hardest in the league. Heck, even the boards needed to be wary every time MacInnis got the puck on his stick.
His prowess was never more evident than in the hardest shot contest at the All-Star Game. MacInnis won seven of the contests during his career, including four in a row from 1997 to 2000.
So, just what advice might "Chopper" have for someone competing in tonight's competition?
"Just try to grip it and rip it I guess," MacInnis said. "We got a couple of tries at it and the first one you didn't want to embarrass yourself and get a decent score, and then on the second and third one you wanted to up the 'ante a little bit. I've told the story a hundred times that I used to shoot pucks all summer long growing up as a kid in a small fishing village. Never did I think it was going to give me an opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. I was doing it because I was bored stiff. I'm not the biggest guy, so the curve of my stick helped me, but I got back to shooting pucks all summer long as a big tribute to it."
MacInnis' hardest in contest clocked in at 100.4 miles per hour in 1998. Nowadays, players can reach up to 107 and 108, with Zdeno Chara holding the record at 108.8.
And now that you're all wondering, yes, MacInnis does have a pick to win this year's event.
"If Shea Weber is in it... He might be my favorite right now," MacInnis said.
Shea Weber will compete along with Mark Giordano, Seth Jones, Victor Hedman, Elias Pettersson and John Carlson in the Enterprise Hardest Shot competition in St. Louis on Friday night.