Five things to watch for at NHL All-Star Weekend
Although the Flyers haven’t played since beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 on Saturday night, the league’s all-star break doesn’t officially begin until Thursday.
Forward Kevin Hayes will represent the Flyers at the festivities in Sunrise, Fla., but he’s far from the only reason to watch the event. With so many bright young stars to showcase across the league, new creative skills competitions, and Miami Vice-inspired clean jerseys, it promises to be a fun-filled All-Star weekend. That said, here are five reasons to watch:
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1. New Florida-centric skills competitions
Although there has been much debate over how NHL All-Star lists are constructed – with each team guaranteed at least one representative often means some of the league’s true stars are left out – one thing the NHL is to be commended for is continuing to try to polish the skills competition and attract new audiences.
After experimenting with two Vegas-themed skills competition events last year incorporating the fountains of the Bellagio and playing a form of life-size blackjack, the NHL will once again adapt two events to its host city. This year, the first event will be “Pitch ‘n’ Puck”, a combination of golf and hockey. Six players will play a par 4 golf hole with an island green, using a combination of pucks and balls, with the top individual scorer crowned the winner.
The second event, “Splash Shot,” will take place in the beautiful setting of a Fort Lauderdale beach and will see four teams of two players face off in a knockout competition. Players will simultaneously fire pucks at targets in a race to send their opponents into a dunk tank. As has been the case for the past few seasons, some of the best players in the world will also show off their talents on the All-Star stage, such as Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight from Team USA, and Emily Clark, Rebecca Johnston and Sarah from the Canadian team. The nurse will participate in various capacities.
NHL All-Star Weekend has lost some of its luster and still ranks behind some of other sports’ All-Star offerings, but at least the league is finally trying new things to market its star players and attract new ones. audiences and younger fans.
2. What could have been
Let’s say this could be a trigger weekend for Flyers fans. Why? After an offseason of speculation that Salem County’s Johnny Gaudreau could sign with the hometown Flyers, Flyers fans will be forced to watch Gaudreau, who ended up signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, line up alongside de Hayes for the Metropolitan Division in the All-Star Game.
The two close friends and Boston College college teammates will likely even pressure Metro coach and former Flyer Rod Brind’Amour to play down a line together, giving Flyers fans a little taste of what to expect. what the pair might have looked like playing together in Orange and Black. Hayes, who was the number 1 scout in the Gaudreau contest, considers Gaudreau among his best friends and will surely appreciate the opportunity to play with him again, even if it’s just for a day.
Oh, what could have been, the nation of the Flyers…
3. Which team will Bo Horvat play for?
Midway through a career season for the Vancouver Canucks, center Bo Horvat was voted Jan. 19 as a Pacific Division All-Star. This is where things get awkward.
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Horvat, who already has 31 career goals this season, was traded from the Canucks to the New York Islanders on Monday. So which team will Horvat be representing at All-Star Weekend? That remains to be seen as the NHL has no contingency plan for such events.
Will Horvat play for the Pacific? The Subway? Both? We will find out later this weekend.
4. Enemies Become Friends
The division versus division All-Star format creates good stories, as fans get to see players who can be fierce rivals playing against each other. But no rivalry or debate has plagued this generation of hockey fans like Sidney Crosby versus Alexander Ovechkin.
On Saturday, Crosby and Ovechkin will be teammates as the Pittsburgh Penguins center and Washington Capitals sniper both play for the Metro. With Crosby, now 35, Ovechkin, 37, and all the debate about changing the All-Star format, could this be the last time we see the two line up together as teammates?
The two former No. 1 overall picks both entered the league together in 2005-06 and have faced each other, both on the ice and via water cooler talk, ever since. From the hunt for individual awards to epic playoffs, the rivalry has dominated NHL headlines for nearly two decades now, with the duo combining for 22 All-Star nominations, five Hart Trophies and four Stanley Cups.
Probably the two best players of their era, even after 18 seasons, Crosby and Ovechkin are only five career points apart. Enjoy these two legends, even though they’ve both been major thorns alongside the Flyers over the years.
5. Break records?
When it comes to traditional skill contests like fastest skater, hardest shot, and marksmanship, there’s always the chance for someone to do something special.
Last year, St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou upset Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the fastest skaters competition in a shocking upset. With all the young outfielders in today’s game, could anyone break Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin’s record of 13.172 seconds set in 2016?
A record to watch is the hardest shot mark, achieved by Boston’s Zdeno Chara in 2012 at 170 mph. put a lot. Breaking 108.8 mph will take an all-time feat, but Thompson has hit 101 mph in one game this season and has the kind of outing that could make it worthwhile.