ESPN’s second year covering the NHL All-Star skills competition seemed very different than the first, unless I don’t remember last year. While mostly positive, there were way too many commentators and analysts. Sometimes less is more. If they’re only going to appear four times for a minute on a three-hour broadcast, maybe don’t use them.
The opening nickname segment was highly awkward and unnecessary. After P.K. Subban had Connor McDavid pick his nickname of McJesus and Nathan MacKinnon picked little mac, in the next segment, Subban referred to McDavid as McDavid rendering the previous segment pointless. The commentators did use the nicknames later but geesh.
This year they decided to hold the finals of certain events later instead of just doing it in its entirety, something I hated. The four breakaway challenge attempts were completely spread out, and I didn’t care for that either.
I’m probably the only one who doesn’t like the breakaway challenge. There are only so many things you can do. You could get really creative, like having obstacles or positioning the net some other way, but that has yet to happen. I have no idea what Mitchell Marner and Roberto Luongo were supposed to be doing. The David Pasternak Happy Gilmore thing was funny, but it didn’t do much for me. It’s great that Alex Ovechkin could share this experience with his kid, and I love kids, but a kid scoring into an empty net a foot away is not memorable for this event. Major props to Matthew Tkachuk for going all out and coming up with an innovative way to score a goal. He won in my eyes.
I had no idea who these celebrity judges were except the Street Profits, who I was surprised were there. Yes, I like wrestling, but I don’t watch WWE. The celebrity judges were interviewed, and as you might imagine, they had nothing important to say. What’s odd is the only time you would want to interview them was when the White Lotus actor gave a 2 to prevent Matthew Tkachuk from winning, but there was no interview. Journalism at its finest. I guess we’ll never know. I can probably Google it, but people shouldn’t have to do that.
I like how they come up with new events yearly that pertain to the game’s location. Splash Shot and Pitch n Puck were both original and fun. Although I think the team that wins should dunk the player after both teams go. The current way was confusing, and whoever went first would get dunked regardless of if they won. But I think they edited it, so the team that won went first, which made it worse. They also threw it to the interview by saying the team that won when the second team hadn’t gone yet, and it turns out they did win.
Tendy Tandem was a very creative idea and way better than the goalie streak challenge. It’s amazing how many 3 on 0 didn’t score. I liked how they continue to find innovative ways to get the women players involved, and Sarah Nurse is quite the player.
Leon Draisaitl is so bad at accuracy shooting. I don’t know why he continues doing it. I think he was worse this year than last year. He took four times as long as Connor McDavid. Speaking of McDavid, I guess he no longer wanted to do the fastest skater. Or maybe you retire once you lose. McDavid deserved to be in the final. He didn’t miss any shots but took too long on the final shot because he couldn’t see what Nazem Kadri was doing. If the times are that close, it should go to the player with the fewest shots. Kadri then choked against Brock Nelson. It wasn’t even close. I’d rather have seen McDavid vs. Nelson. I won’t ask about the eco discs again. I guess the players hated them.
Things I like
The new All-Star game format continues to work eight years later. I enjoyed all three games, even though a few stretches were boring. They were close, and that’s what matters. The last game is usually the lowest scoring, but that wasn’t true here. I don’t get why it’s always the most lopsided. The Central team made it close at the end, even outscoring the Atlantic in the period, but it was too little too late. Congratulations to the Atlantic on their first win. Only the Central has yet to win now. The Ovechkin to Crosby goals were very memorable. The Tkachuk boys were also entertaining. Almost all the best players were on the Atlantic squad. Either Matthew Tkachuk or Dylan Larkin would be MVP and you have to give it to the hometown player.
The comeback Carolina Hurricanes did it again. This time they were down 4-1 in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings but scored four straight to win in overtime. The Hurricanes have now won seven in a row and collected points in ten consecutive games. If it weren’t for the Boston Bruins, they’d be the top team in the NHL. Who can forget their first-round playoff series last season, where the home team won every time. They will assuredly not meet in the first round this season.
Things I don’t
- It’s very unusual to trade your captain in the middle of the season, but that’s what the Vancouver Canucks did when they sent Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Räty, and a first-round pick. That’s not a bad haul for a player, but I don’t like the message it sends to the Canucks’ players. We’re giving up, and your captaincy means nothing. He’s also a two-time 30-goal scorer, which isn’t something you traditionally move. I guess it came down to them not being able to resign him, which brings me to the Islanders. This is not a good deal. If you don’t resign him, it’s an awful move. If you don’t make the playoffs this season, it’s a terrible move. Now if they do both, it’s a great trade, but those are some big ifs.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
A J Greer vs Wayne Simmonds
This was the only fight this week. Simmonds clobbered him.
Stat Line of the Week
1/31/23 Ottawa 5 vs. Montreal 4
Tim Stützle had the third four-point game of his young NHL career against the Canadiens in a very entertaining game. In a back-and-forth fashion, four goals were scored during a seven-and-a-half-minute span to end the game. Stützle had two points on the power-play and assisted on the game-winner. Stützle has already matched his season-high total in goals and will easily pass his highs in assists and points. He just turned 21 too.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. He has five points in his last three games and scored two beautiful goals in this game in a losing effort.
6 – Game goal streak for Sebastian Aho, the second of his career
6 – Points for Dylan Larkin
7 – Points for Matthew Tkachuk
6 – Assists for Mitchell Marner
7 – Goals scored in the final two and a half minutes of the final
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
- New Jersey
- Tampa Bay
- San Jose
- St. Louis