NHL All-Star weekend is in the books, as the NHL’s brightest stars did their best to entertain in another fun, weird, and lively showcase. With the biggest and best the NHL had to offer showing off their talents, there’s plenty to catch up on, in case you missed it, in this week’s star-studded edition of the NHL Best and Worst.
Goal of the week
There was no shortage of goals to choose from between Saturday’s trio of games, but it was actually an impressive showing during Friday’s skills competition that caught everybody’s attention. While nobody could figure out what was going on during the Tendy Tandem event, it didn’t make it any less cool when Stuart Skinner, who’s scored his share of goalie goals in the past, nailed this 200-foot doozy that had the fans at FLA Live buzzing.
Hands of the week
When you’ve got a penalty shot during the NHL All-Star game, you can’t help but take advantage of the spotlight. Rasmus Dahlin had the honours after drawing a phantom hooking call, going toe-to-toe with Connor Hellebuyck. The Sabres’ Norris contender didn’t quite manage to cash in, but two thumbs up and extra marks added for the creativity and cajones to pull the move off anyways.
Player of the week
Matthew Tkachuk may have taken home MVP honours for his four goals and seven points, including a hat trick in the semi-final, but he wasn’t the only son of an NHLer that shined in the spotlight. 4-year-old Sergei Ovechkin had the crowd on his side all night on Friday during the skills competition, including putting home the shootout-winning goal on behalf of his dad Alex and Sidney Crosby. Not only did Sergei have the fans in a tizzy, even the players couldn’t get enough of The Great Junior Eight, while the youngster’s fans and NHL teams alike on Twitter had plenty to say about the apparent budding superstar.
Quote of the week
When The Great One speaks, the people tend to listen, especially when it comes to his notes on the game’s brightest stars. While Gretzky made sure to relish in the astonishing season of Connor McDavid, he caught his share of fans by surprise by declaring an unsuspecting centreman as the heir apparent to the MVP crown.
A longing glare
Nick Suzuki may not be a former star at the University of Michigan, but that didn’t stop him from putting on his best Wolverine impression in this hilarious tweet from the Montreal Canadiens. With Caufield out for the rest of the season, Suzuki is no doubt missing his top-line sidekick.
While most teams had their bye weeks in the lead-up to the NHL All-Star Game, a few teams, namely the Boston Bruins, were grinding right to the end. Brad Marchand, as you might imagine, was probably a little cranky that he couldn’t get going on his vacation yet, and decided to have some fun at the expense of a few unfortunate victims. Of course, after the Bruins took care of business against the Maple Leafs to close out matters, primary target number one had a particularly astute observation in the process.
One of the other clubs that went right down to the wire, the Carolina Hurricanes, had their own memorable conclusion to their first half of the season. Falling behind 4-1 to the Los Angeles Kings, the Hurricanes looked about as checked out as an NHL team could possibly be, particularly given the time of the year. Something must’ve been said by master motivator Rod Brind’Amour, however, because the Cardiac Canes flipped the switch in a hurry and pulled off a comeback for the ages to head into the break on a high note.
Worst of the week
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Most wholesome moment of the week
Not a playmaker
Leon Draisaitl has always been the finisher on his line during his time with the Edmonton Oilers — only Auston Matthews has more goals than the German star since the 2018-19 season — so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that during a game where seemingly nobody wanted to take the lead, Draisaitl’s decision pass out of a breakaway would result in one of the funniest moments of the entire event.
Who are we playing for?
The NHL Skills competition certainly had its moments, but on the whole, the evening affair was certainly divisive amongst its viewers. One of the event’s biggest stars last season was about as vocal as an NHLer on Twitter could reasonably be expected to get, while some other prominent NHL voices across social media had their share of notes and suggestions for the NHL to get fans interested in Friday’s portion of the mid-season classic. At least the players seemed to be entertained, though some admittedly may have needed a bit of a jolt to make it through the event without dozing off.
Teddy bear toss
The NHL was on pause this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the AHL wasn’t rolling right along with their regular season. The Hershey Bears, for instance, had their Teddy Bear Toss Night last Monday, albeit to mixed results. Even against the Bridgeport Islanders, who have given up the eighth most goals in the entire AHL, the Bears were unable to solve Isles netminder Jakub Skarek, who made 39 saves and spoiled the event until the very end of the hockey game.
The Winnipeg Jets season has been nothing short of a roller coaster, as the team dominated to start the year, fell back to earth as injuries piled up around Christmas, only to find their footing and remain in the hunt through January. Heading into the break, however, the Jets once again began losing steam, having lost three straight to three non-playoff teams in the Predators, Sabres, and Jets.
It seemed as though they were headed for a fourth straight L after falling behind the St. Louis Blues last Monday, and the vibes could not have been worse ahead of All-Star weekend. Enter Josh Morrissey, whose snipe on this one turned things around, but more importantly, check out the celly.
‘He’d get my vote’
With Bo Horvat making his Islanders debut at the All-Star game, albeit with the Pacific Division, questions quickly began swirling as to who his successor for the Canucks captaincy would be. Playing alongside presumptive heir apparent Elias Pettersson at the All-Star game, Horvat gave his approval for the young Swede’s ascension, while also sharing a cool moment on the ice before linking up for a goal.
Soaking up the sun
Getting away from Winnipeg during the dead of winter for the sunny shores of Florida sounds like a nice deal, and if anybody knows that, it’s Josh Morrissey. The defenseman, after being asked by a reporter what his typical beach day looks like, was sure to remind everybody that there’s a reason people have taken to calling the city Winter-peg.
Roberto Luongo has always been known for his exceptional sense of humour, so kudos to him for embracing the All-Star festivities and sneaking a crafty little joke onto his equipment. Luongo, famously unable to wear the C due to restrictions on goaltenders being named captain, included a nod to that era of Canucks hockey on his custom All-Star game pads, which combined to commemorate his time in Vancouver along with the Florida Panthers.
Hall of Fame tic-tac-toe
Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin lacing up the skates together during an All-Star weekend will never get old. Even if the future Hall of Famers may be getting a little long in the tooth, they certainly showed out and looked every bit as exceptional as their peers during the NHL All-Star Game. Not only was the pair dazzling the South Florida fans with their awesome give-and-go goals, but they also got up to some shenanigans off the ice, including a hilarious interview with Kevin Weekes while on the bench.
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