Busy Saturday in Raleigh; Skills tonight

RALEIGH, N.C. -- With the NHL’s biggest name, Sidney Crosby, back in Pittsburgh recovering from a concussion sustained Jan. 6, it comes as no surprise that head shots were a big topic during the league’s Board of Governors meeting on Saturday.

Crosby’s concussion has undoubtedly brought more of a focus to head shots, even though the board approved a rule change last March to increase the penalties for automatic contact with the head.

“If it was Mike Brown, there wouldn’t be an issue,” Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said after the meeting.

Either way, the board listened to various reports about shots to the head. The NHL’s general managers are expected to discuss a tougher, possible zero-tolerance rule at their next meetings in March.

Also, Pennsylvania native Terry Pegula - the same man who donated $89 million to Penn State University to start a men’s and women’s hockey team and fund a new arena - was formally introduced to the board. Pegula is expected to soon complete his purchase of the Buffalo Sabres. His introduction to the board took that one step further, as he does need the board’s approval.

PASS OR FAIL? What was your overall observation of the NHL’s Fantasy Draft from Friday night? How did it come across on TV? The general consensus in Raleigh among media folk seems to be that the NHL hit the nail on the head with the Draft, as a way to spice up the event and make it interesting for both fans and players.

Burke, however, wasn’t happy that his lone representative at the game, Phil Kessel, was singled out and chosen last. Burke hinted that he wanted the last four players to be picked out of a hat, to avoid any negative publicity for one player.

To me, that was the most exciting part of the draft.

I don’t think the charity of Kessel’s choice will be complaining about their new $20,000 donation from the NHL and NHLPA. And Kessel got a new Hondra CRX Hybrid out of the deal. Not too shabby.

SKILLS TONIGHT: Team captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom - are they getting paid overtime for this? - will determine who participates in which event tonight at the Honda Super Skills competition at RBC Center.

Here are the events:
Fastest Skater
Breakaway Challenge
Accuracy Shooting
Skills Challenge Relay
Hardest Shot
Elimination Shootout

Zdeno Chara, the current record holder, is the obvious favorite for the hardest shot competition. It will be a slow night for the Flyers, as Danny Briere and Claude Giroux will only participate in the skills relay challenge. Briere will also be one of the designated passers for the accuracy competition.

All players - rookies and All-Stars alike - will take part in the elimination shootout to end the competition.

QUOTABLE: “He looks younger than my daughter’s boyfriend.”
-former Flyer Jeremy Roenick on Hurricanes rookie All-Star Jeff Skinner, 18, who is the youngest player to make an All-Star team in any of the four major professional sports. Skinner has been Raleigh’s hottest commodity all weekend. There has been lines wrapping around the street for Skinner’s autograph.

“Do you guys share girlfriends?”
-Roenick, a guest analyst this weekend for the NHL Network, in an interview with Vancouver twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

COME BACK: Join us tonight at 7:00 for a live chat from the NHL’s Super Skills at the RBC Center.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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