SUNRISE, Fla. – Preparing for the primary All-Star Game of his profession, Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey turned to his teammate for recommendation. He requested goaltender Connor Hellebuyck how critical he ought to take the sport.
He mentioned Hellebuyck responded, “This is my third time. I’m here to win.”
Hellebuyck mentioned that after coasting by way of his first All-Star look in 2018, he realized a beneficial lesson from his goalie accomplice on the time, Pekka Rinne.
“I regretted it because I saw Pekka Rinne go extremely hard,” Hellebuyck mentioned. “At the end, after, I really cherished watching that. So then my next All-Star Game (in 2020), I went hard and I really enjoyed it. I had a good time.”
At least a few of his fellow All-Stars took the recommendation. The gamers’ effort ranges have been questionable at finest throughout Saturday evening’s abilities competitors, resulting in some lower than thrilling motion, however they bounced again with a stable — and generally action-packed — trio of three-on-three All-Star video games Saturday afternoon at FLA LIVE Arena.
Hellebuyck’s early heroics helped the Central to a 6-4 win within the opening semifinal, regardless of being overwhelmingly outshot by the Pacific. The general tempo was nice in all of the video games, particularly within the semifinal between the Atlantic and Metropolitan, during which eventual MVP Matthew Tkachuk and his brother Brady led the Atlantic to an exhilarating 10-6 win.
Hellebuyck mentioned the subsequent step he wished to take was experiencing the ultimate sport for the primary time, and on Sunday he lastly did. He and his Central Division teammates finally fell to the Atlantic in a 7-5 finale.
The sounds throughout Sunday’s All-Star Game have been nearly as good because the sights. Not simply the intermission present by Fall Out Boy, however the NHL’s savvy resolution to play the person staff aim music for each participant who scored.
“The Whip” performed for every of Johnny Gaudreau’s three targets within the second semifinal, “Party Hard” blared when Sidney Crosby scored on an help from Alex Ovechkin, and the Red Wings’ customized aim music was caught on repeat, as Dylan Larkin poured in 5 targets on Sunday.
Tkachuk brothers placed on present
For Matthew and Brady Tkachuk, it was a dream weekend.
Matthew, in his first 12 months with the Florida Panthers, scored a aim and help within the championship sport after a hat trick and two assists within the semifinal. Brady, the Ottawa Senators’ star, assisted on Matthew’s aim 37 seconds within the ultimate after a aim and three assists within the first sport.
Matthew, a lot to the delight of the hometown followers, was named MVP and gained a Honda SUV for his bother whereas additionally taking part in a lot of the day along with his Panthers teammate, Sasha Barkov.
Nobody’s throwing their All-Star Game hats on the ice for Tkachuk as a result of they price $38.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 4, 2023
“For (Barkov) to be able to deal with Brady and I, he should have won MVP,” quipped Matthew, who arguably was robbed in Friday evening’s breakaway problem. “Unreal experience. I think the weekend finally caught up to us in the second half of the second game. (Brady and I) did not have our chemistry, our legs there. … Not gonna lie, this weekend is unreal, but it is a lot of moving parts and it’s definitely not a break. You’re going everywhere, especially being the host team, but we had an unreal time with it. We really enjoyed it, but I’m excited for tonight just hanging out (our family) have that last night where we can all celebrate the other.”
Barkov mentioned taking part in with the Tkachuks was “actually fun. I wasn’t expecting that. … I think all my passes, I was just giving the puck to them. I don’t think I touched the puck in the offensive zone at all.”
Matthew Tkachuk rips one dwelling on the breakaway and the Tkachuk household is fired up #TimeToHunt | #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/i5kdu6SKoI
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 4, 2023
Tkachuk mentioned that in taking part in for the primary time along with his brother, he couldn’t have had a extra “perfect linemate. So we’ll see if our paths cross again.”
Brady didn’t thoughts dropping out on the MVP award.
“I’m more happy with the win,” Brady mentioned. “He can take all the glory. It’s his event here. He was the host. I think he deserves the reward with the car.”
In a set earlier than the championship sport, Keith Tkachuk mentioned he and his household have been having a blast.
“How would you be if you had one kid playing in the All-Star (Game)?” Tkachuk mentioned. “Well, how about two? And they’re trying!”
Larkin atones for Friday evening flop in an enormous manner
It seemed like a comedy bit at first, with Larkin furiously backchecking and throwing his weight round in a three-on-three All-Star exhibition. But Larkin’s conspicuous effort was no joke. The record-holder for the quickest skater occasion completed lifeless final on the abilities competitors on Friday, and that didn’t sit nicely with the Red Wings star.
“I was pretty upset with last night, the skating,” he mentioned. “I got nervous about it and I came back and someone said to me, ‘Oh, you weren’t trying.’ And I was. So I got a little bit upset about that and wanted to get out there and skate and be competitive and have fun doing it. It was just fun to skate.”
Larkin did greater than skate. In a 10-6 win over the Metropolitan — simply probably the most aggressive and entertaining sport of the day — Larkin had two targets and an help and was a plus-5. His 10 shot makes an attempt have been twice as many as his nearest teammates. Then within the ultimate, he had a hat trick and put a ridiculous 10 pictures on aim in simply 7:22. All instructed, he had 5 targets, one help and was a plus-7.
It appeared like he didn’t get the memo that making an attempt was uncool.
“We loved it,” Brady Tkachuk mentioned. “Good habits.”
If the occasion have been held wherever aside from South Florida, Larkin may need been the one driving dwelling with a brand new automobile as MVP.
“It’s all right,” Larkin mentioned. “Matthew’s had a great year to date and the crowd reaction to him and hockey in Florida — you could see the fans showing up all weekend. Just pretty special what they have here, and he’s a big part of that. So is (Aleksander Barkov). And I’m happy for him. He’s deserving of it.”
Ovi Jr. steals the present
As their careers hit the twilight stage, one of many coolest issues in regards to the weekend was to observe the dynamic between longtime rivals Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
The mutual respect was obvious throughout Friday’s abilities competitors and through Saturday’s All-Star Game, once they have been linemates.
Ovechkin joked that he couldn’t wait to have a beer with Crosby as soon as they’re every retired.
Elite line. #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/rHSKHtJPQH
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 4, 2023
Still, it was Ovechkin’s 4-year-old son, Sergei, who stole the present. Wearing an “Ovi Jr.” Capitals sweater, the little man scored in opposition to Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo within the breakaway problem after slapping his stick on the ice searching for a cross from Ovi Sr. and Sid the (former) Kid. Sergei’s dad adopted him round all evening taking pictures movies, and Sergei even received to shoot the breeze with Russian gamers Kirill Kaprizov and Ilya Sorokin.
Ovechkin joked that Sorokin ranked No. 1 as a babysitter and Kaprizov No. 2.
Kirill Kaprizov and new buddy, Little Ovi pic.twitter.com/P5aqRm2KQC
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) February 4, 2023
“Sergei was always smiling,” Ovechkin mentioned … smiling.
The Washington Capitals additionally trolled the host Florida Panthers with a hilariously delicate tweet. In 2003, the Panthers tried to chose the 2004-draft-eligible Ovechkin a number of instances, claiming he ought to have been eligible in 2003 if leap years have been taken into consideration. Ovechkin was born Sept. 17, 1985, or two days after he would have been eligible to be taken in 2003.
In the final spherical, as soon as the NHL rejected them once more, the Panthers chosen Tanner Glass at No. 265 general.
Hey @FlaPanthers, simply letting you realize #OviJr is not draft-eligible but 😉
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 4, 2023
This was a extremely bizarre weekend for Bo Horvat.
Traded earlier within the week from Vancouver to the New York Islanders, Horvat nonetheless performed for the Pacific Division. In an Islanders jersey. A fisherman-logo Islanders jersey, at that.
“It was pretty crazy, I’m not going to lie,” Horvat mentioned within the Western Conference locker room following the abilities competitors. “I didn’t think the first time I was going to wear another team’s jersey would be at an All-Star game. But it was a lot of fun. Definitely felt weird, but it’s pretty cool. I love the jersey. The dark blue looks good on me.”
In the opening sport of the three-on-three event, Horvat arrange his outdated teammate, Elias Pettersson, for a aim one final time.
Offside evaluation? In the All-Star Game? Really?
Pacific coach Bruce Cassidy opened his postgame press convention exclaiming, “We got screwed by the refs!”
Cassidy’s tongue-in-cheek criticism was referring a Pettersson aim that was overturned for offside after a evaluation. It would’ve put the Pacific up early in a semifinal sport they finally misplaced to the Central 6-4.
The finest a part of it, although, was Central coach Pete DeBoer’s response on the bench when it was introduced the aim didn’t rely. A large smile stretched throughout his face as he applauded.
“We were talking about it before the game,” Cassidy mentioned, “because Pete lost a game last year on a challenge to Roddy (Brind’Amour). We were all talking about it before the game.”
This time, the odd All-Star evaluation, which was initiated by the league, went DeBoer’s manner.
Bad … and nice new recollections for Kevin Fiala
To no avail, Los Angeles Kings speedster Kevin Fiala pleaded along with his outdated Minnesota Wild teammate, Kirill Kaprizov, to not again out of the quickest skater competitors simply earlier than the occasion kicked off the abilities competitors on Friday.
After watching the primary contestant go, nevertheless, Fiala in all probability wished he had bowed out as nicely.
Cale Makar’s Fastest Skater goals have been dashed with just a little spill on his run 😢#GoAvsGo | #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/QXxzYeZgHZ
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 4, 2023
That’s grew to become Colorado Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar blew a tire, skipped and by chance crashed into the protecting mats alongside the nook boards. The stumble introduced up dangerous recollections for Fiala, who broke his left femur through the 2017 playoffs for the Nashville Predators.
“I’m happy he was all right,” Fiala mentioned. “It was not the thing I wanted to see right before me.”
Fiala wound up ending second within the occasion, skating a lap in 13.997 seconds to advance to the ultimate in opposition to Andrei Svechnikov. The Canes’ younger star wound up beating Fiala within the championship, 13.699 to 14.114.
Fiala, 26, within the first 12 months of seven-year, $55.125 million contract with the Kings and recent off a career-best 33-goal, 85-point season with Minnesota, has 53 factors in 53 video games this season. Of his first All-Star Weekend, Fiala mentioned, “It’s a dream come true. I’ve enjoyed everything.”
Ones on ones
Jack Hughes entered the league in 2019 because the No. 1 general choose, drawing comparisons to Patrick Kane and anticipated to dazzle instantly.
He had seven targets as a rookie. By his third season, he was higher than a point-a-game participant. Now in his fourth season, he’s a bona fide famous person, on tempo for greater than 50 targets and nicely greater than 100 factors.
Hughes doesn’t assume it’ll take this 12 months’s probably No. 1 choose, Connor Bedard, as lengthy to understand his potential.
“There’s been a bunch of first overall picks recently that have struggled out of the gate, myself included,” Hughes mentioned. “I don’t know, I’ve watched him a good amount, mostly from World Juniors. And I assume he’s going to come in and be pretty special right away. Probably be a 35-goal scorer right away. That’s just my opinion. He’s a special player.”
Perhaps the one two present NHLers who entered the league with as a lot hype as Bedard will are Crosby and Connor McDavid, each of whom have been on the spot successes. Crosby sees an identical destiny for Bedard.
“He’s getting the attention that the other Connor did,” Crosby mentioned. “I think that he just continues to meet expectations that are high. But you see him play and you see what he can do. I had the chance to skate with him last summer and, yeah, just no weaknesses. It’s pretty cool to see someone at that age as dominant as he is.”
Crosby doesn’t appear to assume the strain and expectations will have an effect on Bedard. After all, he’s already received 44 targets and 46 assists in simply 37 video games for the WHL’s Regina Pats.
“He’s really confident in himself,” Crosby mentioned. “I think he wants the challenge. When you’re in that position, it’s not easy sometimes, there’s a lot of pressure. A lot of eyes. And I think everyone’s trying to break your game down, or be critical of certain things sometimes. I think he’s just got a ton of confidence and I think he welcomes that. That’s important to have because it’s not going to get any easier. He’s got the right mindset.”
Sarah Nurse pulls off the Forsberg
While the NHL gamers have been placing the naked minimal effort through the abilities competitors, the ladies’s hockey gamers understood the project just a little higher, providing just a little effort and aptitude. Sarah Nurse beating Igor Shesterkin with the Peter Forsberg transfer, particularly, was a spotlight.
When a reporter urged that it should have been further particular for Nurse to drag off the Forsberg in opposition to “a top-three-in-the-world kind of goalie,” Hilary Knight shortly interjected through the post-even information convention, “And she’s a top scorer.”
Nurse mentioned that through the interminable downtime of the abilities competitors, she was speaking with the likes of McDavid about what a disgrace it’s that the perfect males and the perfect ladies on this planet by no means have been capable of play in a global occasion collectively, due to the NHL skipping the final two Olympics. They’re all holding out hope for 2026 in Milan.
“We would love to go to an Olympics with those guys,” Nurse mentioned.
NHL monitoring regional sports activities networks scenario
With the information that Diamond Sports – a subsidiary of Sinclair that operates the Bally Sports Regional Networks – might quickly file for chapter safety, many puzzled what affect it might have on the NHL. The networks air video games for 12 NHL groups (Anaheim, Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Tampa Bay).
As a part of his state of the league information convention, during which he announced the 2024 All-Star Weekend will happen in Toronto, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Saturday that the league is intently monitoring the scenario however in the meanwhile he doesn’t imagine any modifications are imminent.
“The impact to the league, based on how much the Sinclair regionals pay, is not very large relative to the approaching $6 billion in revenue (that the league brings in),” he mentioned. “However, for the clubs involved, obviously it will have a serious impact. We are in regular touch with the people running the Sinclair regionals now. They are suggesting that there isn’t an imminent financial crisis, that they’re trying to reorganize their business and move forward effectively so the clubs will continue to get paid and the games will continue to be distributed.”
Diamond disclosed in November a $1.2 billion quarterly loss amid a ten p.c drop in subscribers. Bettman mentioned the ever-growing market of streaming providers and cord-cutting have impacted the regional sports activities enterprise, and the evolution of how hockey video games are distributed is one thing the league could be very centered on.
“We are obviously monitoring it very closely and exploring, at least theoretically, what the options may be in the event the worst were to happen,” Bettman mentioned.
One NHL staff govt instructed The Athletic, “It’s hard not to be quite concerned, but we will survive, of course. The regional sports network model and cable industry must evolve and change to be in line with technological progress, as in streaming, and customer demands and preferences. There will probably be some short-term pain, but it would be a better and more sustainable model going forward.”
Bettman supplied an replace on the Ottawa Senators sale, saying there are 15 suitors seeking to purchase the franchise, that they’ll start whittling down the candidates within the coming weeks and that “whoever buys this club is keeping it in Ottawa and there may be a great opportunity to take this team downtown to LeBreton Flats.”
See no tampering, hear no tampering
Is Artemi Panarin lobbying the Rangers to commerce for his outdated operating buddy, Patrick Kane, earlier than the commerce deadline? Panarin pled ignorance to all of the hypothesis.
“I have Nokia phone, so I don’t read the news,” he mentioned.
The NHL didn’t acknowledge the death of Bobby Hull earlier than the All-Star Game, or at any level through the weekend.
(Photo of Sergei Ovechkin and Roberto Luongo: Jasen Vinlove / USA Today)