LAS VEGAS — The defining shot of the NHL’s expertise competitors wasn’t taken Friday evening inside T-Mobile Arena.

It was captured roughly 24 hours earlier, as Zach Werenski raised his palms in celebration on a man-made island in entrance of the Bellagio as the long-lasting fountain blasted into the evening sky — an image that the Blue Jackets defenseman is planning on framing.

It was ridiculous, it was excessive, it was so… Vegas.

And because the NHL All-Star weekend returned for the primary time since 2020, the league tried to embrace the setting and juice a bit of enjoyable into an occasion that has basically developed from a must-see occasion to an also-ran.

The All-Star Game itself is technically and formally the principle occasion, the one which will get nationwide TV billing on Saturday, however nobody actually cares in regards to the recreation. The 3-on-3 format may very well be thought-about enjoyable, however over the course of 20 minutes and with out the sudden-death issue, it grew to become a recreation of glorified shinny that’s forgettable.

Quick, inform me who gained an All-Star recreation prior to now 10 years that wasn’t John Scott?

No one from the league will ever admit this. That could be unhealthy enterprise and there are nonetheless company companions prepared to shell out to sponsor All-Star Weekend, however there’s a motive that the wheels began turning inside the NHL places of work greater than six months in the past about how they might construct this All-Star Weekend across the expertise competitors.

So the league took it exterior, added some celebrities, and stole an thought from the NBA.

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