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All-Star Mukhamadullin Shares Travel Ordeal, Biggest Regret About Skills Competition

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The first day of the AHL All-Star Classic quickly turned from the “Everybody’s watching Shakir” into the “Anyone seen Shakir?” story.

For a number of the players, it’s one challenge to make the AHL All-Star team.

But for Shakir Mukhamadullin, that was only half of the challenge.

The real All-Star challenge for the 22-year-old defenseman began when he was trying to get back to San Jose from Abbotsford where his Barracuda played against the Canucks last night.

The plan was simple. At least on paper.

After an impressive NHL debut (three games with the San Jose Sharks), Mukhamadullin was sent down to the Barracuda—to help the team during the NHL break and, of course, to participate in the AHL All-Star Classic.

Then, a horrible Bay Area storm happened.

On Saturday night, after the second game against the Canucks, Mukhamadullin left Abbotsford earlier on Sunday than the rest of the team to make it back to San Jose on time.

But the weather didn’t cooperate.

Mukhamadullin wasn’t there for the scheduled red carpet ceremony on Sunday afternoon at 3 PM.

Then, Mukhamadullin wasn’t there for the Skills Competition warm-ups at 4:30 PM.

And when the Skills Competition was midway through at about 6 PM, the San Jose Barracuda announced that Mukhamadullin wouldn’t participate. He was supposed to participate in the Puck Control Relay, Hardest Shot, and Breakaway Relay.

Which only proved how unlucky the Barracuda and San Jose were with their All-Stars over the past few weeks.

First, it was Barracuda’s top scorer as well as assist and points leader Danil Gushchin who got an upper-body injury on Jan. 26 against the Calgary Wranglers and had to skip All-Star weekend.

Danil Gushchin’s Dad Shares 10 Unexpected Facts & Pictures About His Son (+)

And with Shakir out, the San Jose Sharks were about to have zero representatives in the All-Star Skills Competition…in San Jose.

But this stormy, windy, and crazy night had a very happy ending.

About 15 minutes after the Cuda announced that he wouldn’t be there, Shakir showed up for the very last competition, Breakaway Relay. The last competitor in the Skills Challenge, he even scored!

That goal capped off the Western Conference’s 18-13 victory over the Eastern Conference in the Skills Competition. The All-Star Game is tomorrow.

A few minutes later, Mukhamadullin had an almost hour-long autograph session on the ice, which continued in the locker room.

Turns out his hockey equipment was still a little wet after Saturday’s game in Abbotsford.

The top San Jose Sharks prospect woke up at 4 AM on Sunday to get back to San Jose.

“Our equipment manager, our media relations person, and I left Vancouver at 7 AM today,” Mukhamadullin said in Russian about one of the craziest days in his life. “The plan was to be here in San Jose earlier. But because of the weather, we turned around as soon as we made it to San Francisco. We headed to Los Angeles and stayed there for two-and-a-half hours. And when we flew back to San Francisco, we had to fly around the airport for about an hour, waiting for our turn to land.”

They then had to take an Uber from San Francisco International Airport. The ride took them about 45 minutes.

“Our equipment manager told the driver not to rush it but we had people waiting for us in San Jose,” Mukhamadullin laughed.

When he finally showed up in the locker room, he said he had to “break records for the fastest change.” He didn’t get a chance to tie everything up properly. What’s more, he didn’t even change his regular athletic socks to his hockey ones.

Speaking about his breakaway goal, Mukhamadullin noted that he knew how he wanted to shoot:

“I thought it through before my shot a little. After all, it’s a show, so I wanted to do something unusual. Can’t say it was that beautiful but it turned out to be a little unexpected.”

Mukhamadullin’s biggest regret about tonight’s game? He missed the hardest shot competition.

“My whole life I wanted to check my shot. My whole life I wondered where to find these speed-measuring devices. And I thought it was finally time… But not a big deal, will try to make it to the next skills competition.”

Sheng’s Travel Fund

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