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2017 NHL Skills Competition: Start time, TV schedule, and online streaming

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Here’s everything you need to know to tune into the 2017 NHL Skills Challenge.

2017 NHL All-Star - Fan Fair Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NHL All-Star Weekend is here, and the first big day of action in Los Angeles features the Skills Competition, which pits the game’s top players against each other in a variety of hockey-based minigames.

It’s an entertaining contest that’s as much about having fun as getting the competitive juicing flowing, and with the rest of the hockey world taking a break, it’ll be your primetime viewing for Saturday night. Think Mario Party, but instead of Yoshi racing in a canoe, it’s Nathan MacKinnon trying to skate as fast as he can.

The Skills Competition is set to begin at 6 p.m. CT in Los Angeles with six different events on the slate. It will be broadcast on NBCSN in the United States, and CBC, Sportsnet, and TVA Sports will all handle coverage in Canada. NBC will also have a live stream available here.

One notable difference this year is the replacement of the breakaway challenge with what the league is calling the “Four Line Challenge.” We got some hilarious memories out of the old event, but the league is mixing it up this year.

The Blackhawks have four players representing the team in Los Angeles this weekend. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Corey Crawford will all be there, and after the first three got honored Friday night in the league’s Top 100 Greatest Players ceremony, they’ll try to have some fun at Staples Center. Here are the player assignments for Saturday night.

The events

Skills Challenge Relay

The relay features seven skaters and one goalie per team going through five different events — one-timers, passing, puck control, stick-handling, and goalie goals. The Central Division will face the Pacific Division, while the Atlantic Division will take on the Metropolitan Division. The winner of each section earns a point, and there’s an additional point awarded to the team that posts the best overall time.

Blackhawks participating: Toews, Kane, Keith

Four Line Challenge

The newest event might not lead to the hijinks of the breakaway challenge, but it could still be interesting. Four skaters from each team will line up at different positions on the ice (the two blue lines, the red line, and the opposing goal line) and try to score as many goals as possible. There’s also an interesting wrinkle where teams can substitute their final shooter for a goalie and get bonus points, so we’ll be rooting to see Crawford there.

Blackhawks participating: none

Accuracy Shooting

A classic event where skaters try to knock out 15-inch diameter targets placed in each corner of the goal. The objective here is speed, as the player who posts the fastest time in each heat will earn a point for his team. Additionally, a point will be given to the player with the fastest overall time, and if anyone breaks Daniel Sedin’s All-Star record of 7.3 seconds, another point will be awarded.

Blackhawks participating: Kane

Fastest Skater

Like the Accuracy Shooting event, this one pits individual players against each other in a series of heats. There will be four head-to-head races featuring two players, and whoever makes it around the track fastest earns a point. The skater with the fastest overall time will earn an additional point, and will be given the chance to do a full lap time trial to beat Dylan Larkin's record of 13.172 seconds for another point.

Blackhawks participating: none

Hardest Shot

A competition that pits two players against each other to see who can shoot the puck the hardest in terms of miles per hour. Each shot comes 30 feet from the goal, and a point is awarded to the player that wins each heat. Like with Accuracy Shooting and Fastest Skater, the player with the hardest shot overall will get an additional point and have the chance to break Zdeno Chara’s record of 108.8 mph.

Blackhawks participating: none

Shootout

Well, this one is a shootout. The top-scoring teams from each conference through five events will get to participate in this one, and the scoreboard will reset so this one is for all the marbles. Nine players and two goalies from each team will participate, with standard NHL shootout rules in effect.

However, there are some wrinkles. One is that the captains of each team participating will select one player from the losing division in their conference to join the team, and that player’s shootout attempt will be worth two goals instead of one. Another is that captains will decide the next shooter following each attempt, and players can shoot more than once. In normal NHL games, each player is only allowed one attempt per shootout.

Blackhawks participating: Depends on results of other events

How to watch the Skills Challenge

Time: 6 p.m. CT

TV: NBCSN (U.S.); CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports (Canada)

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live