Predicting a victor in the NHL All-Star Game, especially since the advent of the Fantasy Draft, is about as futile as trying to stand in the way of a Zdeno Chara slap shot and not risking your life in doing so.
Yet if either side figures to own a significant edge heading into Sunday's exhibition at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, it's Team Alfredsson.
And not solely because Team Alfredsson boasts three of the four Senators participating in the weekend's festivities, though that should certainly help to sway the affections of the attendant crowd in its favor.
Rather, it's the dominance that Team Alfredsson demonstrated in the Skills Competition that will swing the fates in its favor and out of Team Chara's end.
Outside of the Breakaway Challenge (i.e. hockey's version of a dunk contest) and the Hardest Shot, wherein Chara stole the show by breaking his own record twice, Team Alfredsson took Team Chara to task. The Ottawa captain's squad was faster, better on the relay, better in elimination and equally accurate (outside of Steve Stamkos' stinker, of course).
Of course, Team Staal stymied Team Lidstrom in last year's Skills Competition but ultimately came up short in the All-Star Game, 11-10, despite playing in front of the "home" crowd in Carolina.
Still, with its bevy of skilled scorers and dominant goaltenders—between Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist—Team Alfredsson has the look of a superior side. If anything, Quick figures to play some of his best hockey now that he finally has some guys on his team who can put the puck in the net.
That may well be enough to give the folks in Ottawa what they want to see—a triumph for Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek on their home ice.