- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 28, 2012

OTTAWA — When does a 95.3-mph slap shot seem like child’s play? When Zdeno Chara fires one at 108.8.

It almost doesn’t seem possible, but the Boston Bruins’ star broke his own record in the hardest shot event at Saturday night’s NHL All-Star SuperSkills competition, in the process leaving Washington Capitals defenseman and ex-teammate Dennis Wideman in the dust.

Chara, whose year-old record was 105.9 mph, shot 106.2, 108.8, 106.9 and 107. By the time he hit 107, the Scotiabank Center public-address announcer seemed unimpressed.

Count Wideman among those marveling at those numbers.

“Every year he’s going to get harder,” the Caps defenseman said. “There must be a knack to it, because he seems to be getting better and better every year.”

Despite losing to Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson (101.1, 101.3 mph) in the head-to-head competition, Wideman broke 90 twice. That was his goal — to just not get embarrassed. He hit 94.6 and then 95.3.

“I broke 90. That’s what I was going for,” he said. “It wasn’t quite as hard as I’d like. It’s tough sitting there. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

Then came the big boys, Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber and Chara. The Bruins’ captain is supposed to be one of the villains this weekend, but his wicked slapper was one of the highlights of the night.

“I had great years in Ottawa,” said Chara, who played in Ottawa from 2001 to 2006. “I wanted to break the record here.”

The only thing that prevented Chara from being the star of the skills competition was a breakaway relay that included Patrick Kane and a red cape. Kane waited for his attempt as Chicago Blackhawks teammate Marian Hossa skated over and tied a cape onto him. Kane proceeded to make a Superman dive to the delight of the crowd.

“I can’t copy Dwight Howard off the slam-dunk competition,” Kane said. “I know I couldn’t wear the shirt obviously with the shoulder pads on, so I just tried to throw on a cape with that symbol and the Clark Kent glasses, too. It was fun.”

Team Alfredsson beat Wideman, Kane and Team Chara 21-12, but it was all about entertainment.

“That was fun. It was exciting,” Wideman said. “It is what it is. It was a good time.”

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