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.”SHEA WEBER 106.5 MPH 🚀 #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/sfAqrI07hv— Here’s Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) January 25, 2020After 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.”MORE: How to watch NHL All-Star GameMacInnis 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.
Michael Thompson landed the second PGA Tour title of his career Sunday when he held his nerve on the final day of the 3M Open in Minnesota.Thompson’s win at TPC Twin Cities ended a barren run that followed his breakthrough triumph in the 2013 Honda Classic. Birdies at the 16th and 18th holes took Thompson to 19 under for a two-shot victory over Adam Long, whose weekend charge was almost rewarded with trophy success.Long made birdie at the last as he followed his 63 from Saturday with a 64 to reach 17 under, which at the time gave him a share of the lead as Thompson navigated his way through the back nine.With the pressure on, Thompson made a birdie 3 at 16 and parred the next to go to the final hole armed with a one-shot lead.His second shot over water to the green gave Thompson two putts for the title from around 15 feet, and the 35-year-old American drained his first attempt to complete a round of 67, sealing a first win in 167 starts.Congratulations, Michael Thompson! A birdie at the last to win the @3MOpen.It’s been 2,702 days since his last victory.#QuickHits pic.twitter.com/FYqLyI6r5h— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 26, 2020A teary Thompson said: “It’s been a long time. I’m really sad my wife and kids aren’t here to celebrate this with me. I can’t wait to see them.”This is so exciting. I played such good golf today. I stayed within myself, believed in myself, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.” Victory earns Thompson a ticket to the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, which he said meant “the world” to him, as well as a guaranteed two more years on the PGA Tour.The leaderboard was highly congested, with nine players tying for third at 16 under: Robby Shelton, Charles Howell III, Emiliano Grillo, Alex Noren, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Cameron Tringale, Richy Werenski and Charl Schwartzel.Werenski had been the overnight co-leader with Thompson but could only shoot 70 on the final day, his worst score of the week.