NHL 2017-18 Recap Week 16 – NHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition
The NHL had their annual All-Star festivities this weekend in Tampa Bay. Something they probably wouldn’t have had if they sent the players to the Olympics. So it needed to have been good and, for the most, part it was.
The Central Division and Pacific Division faced each other in the first game in uniforms that can only be described as ugly. All white and all black with a touch of red is not a good look. I had a hard time getting into this game. It just wasn’t very exciting. It was close though, minus the empty net goals, and I guess that’s what matters. Pekke Rinne played great in goal in the losing effort. Connor McDavid had four assists, although two were on empty net goals. Although the Central Division played way better than last year, they still just aren’t very good. They have also never won a game in the new format. At least there was only one Blackhawk there this year.
The Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division game was way better and had better uniforms. When the Metropolitan jumped out to a 3-1, I really thought we were heading for a finals rematch. But Nikita Kucherov, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel had other ideas. Each played exceptionally well and the Atlantic came back for their big 7-4 win. I do have to say Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby make a good pairing.
In the finals, the Atlantic looked nothing like the team that just beat the Metropolitan. Probably because they were tired. When Mike Green is the only player who scores on your team, that’s a problem. The extra break seemed to really benefit the Pacific Division. Brad Marchand deserves an Emmy for his acting after the tripping call he drew and all his gestures to the crowd throughout the games. He relishes his villain role. Brock Boeser won the MVP for his two goals in the finals. Although you could make a case for Rickard Rakell and his two goals.
First timers Jack Eichel, Brock Boeser and Auston Matthews were much needed new blood. Now we just need to get Patrik Laine and Leon Draisaitl there.
Things I like
1. I like the new skills competition events. Although I miss the teams aspect of the competition where they played for points. I also missed the relay event, especially when the goalies had to hit the long shot. I especially love the re-branding of the shootout to the saves streak and for it to be about the goalies instead. They deserve an event and it gives the players a reason to try and score. The new lighted discs are cooler and they also alternate which makes it harder.
2. There’s nothing like watching Drew Doughty getting frustrated doing his whole entire competition. Except for Anze Kopitar getting even more frustrated taking forever to hit lighted discs. Something tells me the Kings need to start working on the basics more. Maybe that’s why they’ve been losing so much as of late. And what was with all the NHL players cheating and picking up the puck by hand at the end of the puck control relay? It’s nice to see All-Stars showi they are human and have problems with certain things. At that they will break the rules to win and not embarrass themselves.
Things I don’t
1. I never understood the appeal of the fastest skater. They just skate around the rink. It’s not really very exciting. It’s as exciting as NASCAR and I don’t watch that either. I also didn’t like that half the players tried to cheat at the puck control relay. Use your skills, you’re supposed to be pros.
2. I overlooked some other All-Star snubs last week. Jonathan Marchessault or William Karlsson should have been selected over James Neal. I also sympathize with what Brian Boyle has gone through with his cancer but he doesn’t deserve to be named as an All-Star replacement. Taylor Hall and Evgeni Malkin were sorely missed.
Fights of the Week
Special thanks to hockeyfights.com for making this section a little easier to do.
Jamie McGinn vs Stephen Johns
A lot of fights in the Panthers vs Stars game, This one was the best. Hard hitting but unfortunately it was short.
Keith Yandle vs Antoine Roussel
This “fight” was funny because Yandle didn’t want to fight.
Goats of the Week
Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
Laine mishandles the pass and Adam Henrique takes it the other way. The Jets lost in the shootout.
Collin Miller – Vegas Golden Knights
Miller has a hard time handling the puck and doesn’t see Mathew Barzal who passes to Jordan Eberle for the goal. The Golden Knights lost by a goal.
Stat Line of the Week
1/25/18 Chicago 5 vs. Detroit 1
Alex DeBrincat scored the second hat trick of his career, and the season, and added an assist in a much needed win for the Blackhawks against their archival the Red Wings. The Blackhawks had lost four in a row, including a big loss against the Red Wings.
500 – Career NHL assists for Alex Ovechkin
2 – Game winning goals back to back for Travis Konecny
7 – Goals scored in the second period in the wild Canadiens vs Hurricanes game
.943 – SV% for Blues “backup” Carter Hutton
This Week in Hockey History
Special thanks to the Hockey Hall of Fame site for making this section a little easier to do.
January 22, 2003 Detroit’s Brett Hull became just the second player in NHL history to score 20 goals in each of his first 16 NHL seasons, when he connected for the 699th of his career in the Red Wings 4-3 loss in overtime against the Oilers at Edmonton.
January 23, 2004 Vaclav Prospal scored his first career hat trick and added an assist, all in the third period as the Mighty Ducks scored 5 unanswered goals for a 6-2 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild.
January 24, 1997 NY Islanders’ General Manager Mike Milbury stepped down as head coach, and named Rick Bowness as his replacement.
January 25, 1989 Hartford’s Ron Francis scored his 200th career NHL goal as the Whalers tied 3-3 with the visiting St. Louis Blues.
January 26, 1991 Adam Oates had five assists to tie a club record, as the Blues won 5-4 in overtime over the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Detroit’s Steve Yzerman scored his 12th career hat trick for the losing Red Wings.
January 27, 1972 Bruins’ Phil Esposito scored his 13th career hat trick in a 4-2 win over Philadelphia, at Boston Garden.
January 28, 1959 Chicago’s Ted Lindsay scored his 350th career NHL goal as the Black Hawks won 3-1 over the Rangers, at New York.
The rankings are based on how the teams are currently playing.
29. New Jersey
26. Los Angeles
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.