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Hitting the Links: 108.8 MPH Weekend Edition

Last night at the NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition, Zdeno Chara defended his Hardest Shot competition title with a 108.8 MPH blast. The shot broke the record 105.9, set by Chara himself just last year. The crowd in Ottawa, where Chara used to play, gave him a standing ovation.

Can you imagine being an NHL goalie and having to face that shot, especially during a live game? I'd think that Chara could go higher than 108.8 with the intensity of a real game and maybe a smooth setup for a one-timer. And poor Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, who have to deal with that in practices and warmups. Just watching Chara shoot in warmups at the Garden makes me nervous.

After the jump, reactions to Chara's shot, more from the competition, and Tom Brady helps out Sid the Kid.

Bruins News

  • The All-Star break comes at a good time for the Bruins, as they were on a 3-3-1 skid (is it fair to call that a skid with this team?) before the break, and didn't look very good against Washington. [WEEI]
  • Andy Brickley weighs in on the Tim Thomas debate, saying skipping the White House was "not the best decision." [WEEI]
  • Thomas said that the controversy is "all media-driven." That's not going to help him. [ESPN]
  • Claude Julien gets to coach in his hometown of Ottawa for the All-Star Game. [ESPN]
  • Julien and Phil Kessel appear to be past any issues they might have had in the past. [CSNNE]
  • Not the main focus of the article, but it mentions that Kessel and Leafs teammate Joffrey Lupul will play tonight with none other than Tyler Seguin. That should be a great line. [Toronto Star]

NHL News

  • Video of Chara's shot. The reaction from the crowd is amazing, and Chara handles it really well. Just an incredible sight. [Puck Daddy]
  • Sidney Crosby apparently had a neck injury to go along with his concussion last season. There was an issue with his C1 and C2 vertebrae, but it has healed now. Crosby got the diagnosis from a specialist in Utah that was suggested to him by none other than . . . Tom Brady. Is there anything he can't do? [Puck Daddy]
  • Patrick Kane busts out the Superman cape in the Breakaway Challenge. I'd love to see him try this move in a game, because I'm pretty sure it's legal. Corey Perry's mini-hockey move was pretty cool, too. And Carey Price needs to stop being so darn likeable. [NHL]
  • Gary Bettman said yesterday that there is no set date to start collective bargaining talks. The current CBA expires September 15. Bettman hopes the process will be "painless and quiet and quick," but it's still a little worrying. [Pro Hockey Talk]
  • The NHL is helping the Devils out with some advance cash while the team's ownership figures out some issues, with one co-owner wanting out and one wanting to stay. This doesn't make Zach Parise's future with the team look any more promising. [Pro Hockey Talk]
  • With no Crosby or Ovechkin, the All-Star Game is lacking a huge star, but that could help someone break out in a big way with a memorable performance. Steven Stamkos won the Elimination Shootout last night, and you can bet he'll have a big game tonight. This could be his weekend. [TSN]