ST. LOUIS — Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano told Sporting News on the red carpet he was hoping Shea Weber would have an off night and give the other participants, including himself, a chance to win the Hardest Shot at the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills competition.
Instead, the hard-hitting Montreal Canadiens defenseman fired off a shot that hit 106.5 mph on the radar gun — the seventh-hardest in the competition's history — and captured his fourth win.
"Not surprising at all," said Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner regarding Weber reaching that number. "I play against him a lot. See his shot a lot. It’s terrifying. . . . He's a great player out there. He’s got a scary shot, like I said. Wasn’t too surprised that he won."
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After not competing the last two years, Weber was faced with this opening question: "Still got it, I guess?" He laughed and replied with a smile, "Next question."
"He’s just a mountain of a man and obviously a great hockey player, a great defenseman and the way he can shoot the puck, it’s such a heavy shot, and somebody was asking me a couple of days ago who my pick was and I said, ‘If he's in it, I'll pick him to win it,’" former St. Louis Blues defenseman and seven-time Hardest Shot winner Al MacInnis told Sporting News. "He's just got a bomb. . . . When he’s playing, I love watching him because he’s thinking about shooting before he gets it and he’s an old-school guy."
MacInnis kicked off the event by firing off a 100.4 mph shot — with a wood stick, no less — although he did tell Sporting News he may "have gotten a little help on the clock." The 100.4 mark tied the number he fired off in 1998 when he was on a run of four consecutive wins.
"It’s like riding a bike," the 56-year-old MacInnis noted. "You just don’t lose it. But, no, it was fun to have a small piece of this weekend."
Weber, 34, who joked that he had asked MacInnis if he could use his wood stick to see if he could hit a high number too, passed Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson's 104.5 mph mark with his first shot attempt, which was clocked at 105.9 mph. Carlson was the defending champion of the event.
"I think I knew all along that we were all just a part of the show," he said.