With the NHL All Star weekend ending, it is time to recap the weekend festivities and all the big news as well as the big winners!
1. The NHL Global Series will return:
- With the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche facing off this past season in Stockholm, Sweden for the NHL Global Series, along with the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings facing off in Beijing, China during the preseason for a series of games, the NHL announced that the Global Series shall return, but with even more teams participating this year! Starting off with the preseason, the series in China will return with the teams this year being the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. The NHL also announced that the Global Series will return to Sweden, with the teams this year being the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils. This series will feature the homecoming of Oilers’ players Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson and Devils’ players Jesper Bratt and Marcus Johansson. Not only will these two teams play each other in Sweden, but the two teams shall play exhibition games during preseason in Germany and Switzerland, a homecoming for the “German Wayne Gretzky” Leon Draisaitl and up and coming superstar Nico Hischier, respectively. Rounding up the Global Series will be the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers who will duel in Finland, in what shall be a homecoming for Jets’ player Patrik Laine and Panthers’ player Aleksander Barkov. With the NHL looking to expand as the most known league worldwide, this is one huge step in expanding their quest.
2. The Pacific Division takes home the Skills Competition:
- The Pacific Division led charge on Saturday night with players taking home 4 out of the 6 skill challenges. Starting with Connor McDavid winning the fastest skater contest to rookie sensation Brock Boeser winning the accuracy contest, the Pacific Division All Stars really showed they were the most skilled All Stars. McDavid took home the fastest skater contest in a measly 13.454 seconds! He skated around the entire rink in just 13.454 seconds which is absolutely mind blowing, he just edged out hometown Brayden Point by just two tenths of a second too just to show how quick this game is really becoming. Next Marc-Andre Fleury kept the winning coming for the Vegas Golden Knights, but in a different sense. Fleury won the save streak competition with fourteen saves, edging out Pekka Rinne by one save, and might I add with arguably the best save in the entire save streak competition. A windmill glove save on Brayden Point, which helped lead the Golden Knights goalie to both the first ever win in the save streak, along with the first ever Vegas Golden Knights skill competition win. After Fleury came Johnny “Hockey” Gaudreau taking home the puck control relay in just 24.65 seconds, leading the closest player by nearly a whole four seconds! Gaudreau, just like Fleury, won this inaugural event to show the Pacific Division might be the most skillful in hockey. And finally, Brock Boeser took home the accuracy shooting contest 11.136 seconds, besting out many experienced 30-40 goal scorers. Boeser proved this past weekend through his numerous highlights that he deserves to be considered among the league elites!
3. The new Seattle Expansion team will receive the same rules as Vegas:
- Just a few months after the Vegas Golden Knights’ first puck was dropped, along with their outstanding early success, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that should an expansion team come to Seattle, they shall have the same rules that Vegas had. For anyone who does not know how the Vegas franchise had to pick, each team in the NHL had the choice to protect either 7 Forwards, 3 Defensemen and 1 Goalie or 8 Skaters (combination of Forwards and Defensemen) and 1 Goalie. Vegas had to pick a minimum of 14 Forwards, 9 Defensemen and 3 Goalies and with the talent that the upcoming players have, the Seattle Franchise should look to compete early just like the Vegas Golden Knights had. The potential new Seattle Franchise should look to have a good coaching staff just as the Golden Knights have with some outstanding coaches just waiting to get their shot. So, with the rules remaining the same, keep an eye out on any potential news on the new Seattle Franchise.
4. Pacific Division wins it all:
- The biggest headline of all is probably the Pacific Division taking home the one-million-dollar prize. With the favorite Metropolitan Division getting eliminated early on, the floor was open for either the Pacific Division or Atlantic Division to win it all in the final. After cruising through an early victory against the Central Division, the Pacific Division did the same thing to the Atlantic Division, shutting down the biggest threat that haunted the Metropolitan Division the entire game, Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov who put up a hat trick against the Metropolitan division, didn’t even record a point against the Pacific Division who had arguably the best defense heading into the tournament. The backend, being led by Drew Doughty, really showed up allowing just a minute 4 goals total during the tournament, and when both Eastern Conference teams put up four goals at least in their head to head game, that is massive to the success shown during the contest. The offense, being led by rookie sensation Brock Boeser, scored a tournament high ten goals, and Boeser even took home the All-Star MVP award. With Boeser’s MVP title came an extra $212,500 bonus from his Entry-Level Contract along with even getting an additional $212,500 for being selected to the All-Star game. Boeser’s MVP title came at the hands of two goals and an assist, with one of his two goals holding up as the game winner in the Semi-Final game against the Central Division. However, arguably the most important players on the Pacific Division were the two goalies, Marc-Andre Fleury and Mike Smith. In the first game, both goalies let up one goal on eight shots, with a highlight reel save by Fleury on the Central Division. In the championship game against the Atlantic Division Fleury let up one goal on four shots, however, Smith stole the show with his seven save performance letting up only one goal on eight shots, along with trying to be the only goalie to ever score in an All-Star game. All in all, the Pacific Division truly put on quite the show to take home the million-dollar prize on Sunday.
5. San Jose gets the 2019 All Star Festivities:
- One of the biggest things to come out from Saturdays press conferences is the San Jose will be the host city for the 2019 All Star Festivities. Just being two years removed from a Stanley Cup Final appearance, the city of San Jose will be put to the test in hosting the All-Star Game and seeing if they can compete with their cross state rivals the Los Angeles Kings for best All-Star Game in recent years. And let’s see if the “hometown” team the Pacific Division can win it all to be the first team in this new format of the All-Star Game to reach the championship game four consecutive times!