The Most Fun Moments of the 2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition

Adrian Dater@@adaterNHL National ColumnistJanuary 30, 2016

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks and P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens react in the DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skill Competition at Bridgestone Arena on January 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Hockey players have always had the reputation as the nicest guys in pro sports. Nice can be boring at times, though. P.K. Subban and Brent Burns are super-nice guys, but not boring. If only more NHL players were like them.

Hockey's sometimes-humorless culture, where individuality can be a dirty word, was given a great, big, refreshing cross-check Saturday night by Subban, Burns and others here at the NHL's Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena. It was like a night of chicken-fried steak wrapped in poutine.

Some in the stuffed-shirt hockey media (got my hand up here, too, folks) were even seen busting out in belly laughs over Subban's and Burns' antics.

This All-Star Game has been marked by the controversial inclusion of 6'8" AHL enforcer John Scott, which led to much hand-wringing among some—including, it seems, the NHL. Commissioner Gary Bettman ducked a question earlier in the day when asked whether the league initially lobbied Scott to decline the invitation bestowed upon him by its own Internet fan vote.

But Scott's grace and humor over it all has seemingly won over everyone and loosened them up. That kind of attitude prevailed at the skills competition.

Here's a list of the night's most fun moments:

 

1. Burns as Chewbacca

The night's most viral moment came when San Jose Sharks star Burns donned a Chewbacca mask for one of his breakaway challenge shots. Before he lined up for the shot, his evolution from short-haired, fully toothed rookie to wild-bearded, man-bun-hair-wearing, gap-toothed veteran appeared on the Jumbotron. 

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks reacts in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skill Competition at Bridgestone Arena on January 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This will be repeated on many sports news television programs within the next 24 hours, no doubt.

 

2. Subban as early '90s Jaromir Jagr

Apparently on a suggestion from one of the Eastern Conference trainers, Subban donned a painted, long-haired wig and an old-school Jofa helmet to impersonate Jaromir Jagr from the 1990s. It brought the house down.

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens (L) poses with Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Florida Panthers during the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skill Competition at Bridgestone Arena on January 30
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Subban even got Jagr's zig-zaggy skating style right as part of his impersonation. Jagr laughed heartily and interrupted Subban's interview by saying he wanted to have a word with his mother about never knowing he had a brother.

Subban is a genuinely funny man, not to mention a great player to watch. Let's hope he influences a new generation of players to realize it's OK to have some fun playing this game too.

 

3. Burns with his son

Burns came in on a two-on-one break with his four-year-old son, Jagger Burns. That immediately melted Twitter's collective hearts with "awwwws."

That figures to be a pretty nice early memory in the life of Jagger, eh?

On the shot, by the way, Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider did some playacting, staging a mock fight that moved out of the crease before Jagger's attempt went in. Luongo and Schneider were once teammates in Vancouver, British Columbia, and they were subjected to frequent goalie-controversy stories.

 

4. Matt Duchene in cowboy hat

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene spent part of his Friday night jamming on a Nashville stage with country music star Lee Brice. Duchene, a huge country music fan, donned a ten-gallon hat for his breakaway challenge attempts.

Jan 30, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Central Division forward Matt Duchene (9) of the Colorado Avalanche skates with a cowboy hat during the breakaway challenge during the 2016 NHL All Star Game Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chri
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

He scored on a nifty lacrosse-style one-hander and tossed the hat into the stands after the goal.

 

5. Dierks Bentley on ice

Let the record show, Dierks Bentley can skate.

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 30:  Country music artist Dierks Bentley skates during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skill Competition at Bridgestone Arena on January 30, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images)
Sanford Myers/Getty Images

The country music star displayed genuine wheels in a two-on-one breakaway challenge shot with Nashville Predators right wing James Neal.

Wonder if Elvis could ever skate?

 

Adrian Dater covers the NHL for Bleacher Report.