The NHL All-Star Weekend is a favorite among fans and players (well not every player… I wouldn’t say Nathan MacKinnon looked thrilled when the camera panned to him). Every year I skip the actual game but countdown the seconds to the start of the skills competition.
Going into this year’s event I felt a little torn about the roster. On one hand I love to see different players showcased instead of seeing Crosby and Ovechkin every year. On the other hand this is the “All-Star Weekend” and you expect to see the best of the best. This year had a ton of first year all-stars and while it is fun to see players you normally don’t see can you call it an “All-Star” weekend?
This year there were some additions to the skills competition. The new challenges were the Elite Women’s Three-on-Three Game and Shooting Stars. Fastest Skater, Save Streak, Accuracy Shooting Competition and Hardest Shot were all back and still the favorites of the night.
- There is a new fastest skater in the NHL and he’s from the New York Islanders. Matthew Barzal finished the competition in 13.175 seconds. Connor McDavid’s winning streak ended when he clocked in at 13.215 seconds. Biggest surprise of the night? I would say most definitely.
- I love how the Blues incorporated their alumni. Al MacInnis stepped onto the ice before the Hardest Shot Challenge and registered a 100.4 mph shot with a wooden stick. Who doesn’t love a little old school hockey?
- Seeing the ladies take the ice for 20 minutes and realizing how impressive their skills are. Am I the only one shocked at how quick some of those women on Team Canada were?
Speaking of the women’s three-on-three game…I have some thoughts on how it played out . While I like the steps the NHL is taking to incorporate the women’s league I was not a fan of the execution. The NHL decided to place the women’s exhibition game halfway through the skills competition. It reminded me of a half time show, you know the time where people grab food and refill their drinks. I would have preferred to see their game played before the actual All-Star game in it’s own time slot.
Over the weekend I was invited onto the Dr. Hockey Podcast to discuss the All-Star Weekend (and my New Jersey Devils). Check out the link below to hear more of my thoughts on the NHL’s latest event.