It’s that time once again, where winter’s bite is in full force across North America and the United Kingdom alike. But, there’s a positive side to the January freeze. We are halfway through the 2016/2017 NHL season, which means two things. The first, is that we are only a two and a half months away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The second, is that the NHL All-Star Game is this upcoming weekend.
The NHL All-Star game is a spectacle that marks the mid-way point of the NHL season. The All-Star game has seen many changes just in the past five years alone. The NHL has vacillated between a few different formats, including the traditional East vs. West format, but for last year, they switched to an inter-divisional format. Where each division fields its own team, with each team in the division sending at least one player, with the captains of each team elected by the fans (no, there is no John Scott or John Scott-type this year, sadly.)
Another difference this year is the venue, last year’s All-Star Game was played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Central Division’s Nashville Predators. This year, the game and its subsequent festivities will take place in the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
With the game being held in Los Angeles, the uniforms will reflect the Los Angeles Kings 50th anniversary as well as the NHL Centennial. The jerseys will be colors that the Kings have worn throughout their history, purple, black, gold, and white, with the NHL shield on the front being lined in a chrome silver to commemorate the NHL’s centennial anniversary. The Pacific Division will wear black, the Central will wear purple, the Atlantic will wear gold, and the Metropolitan Division will wear white.
The yearly All-Star Skills Competition remains largely unchanged, with the mainstays of the accuracy challenge, hardest shot, fastest skater, shootout, as well as the Skills Challenge relay, all remain unchanged. However, instead of individuals competing, each division will send representatives for each challenge. Also gone is the Breakaway Challenge, swapped out for the new Four Line Challenge.
Also new is the NHL Celebrity Shootout, where a team of NHL legends will face a team of celebrities in a friendly hockey game prior to the NHL Skills Challenge on Saturday, January 28. Then, the NHL’s major stars will take the ice the night after on Sunday, January 29 for the NHL All-Star Game.
The rosters for each division are listed below (these courtesy of nhl.com)
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Frans Nielsen, Detroit Red Wings
Kyle Okposo, Buffalo Sabres
Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (Captain)
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (Captain)
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes
Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators (Captain)
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Captain)
Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Mike Smith, Arizona Coyotes
The Celebrity Shootout will begin at 5:15 P.M. ET, and the NHL Skills Competition will take place at 7 P.M. ET on Saturday, January 28. The NHL All-Star Game will be at 3:30 P.M. ET on Sunday, January 29.
As with all hockey, keep it here at TalkingBaws for all you need to know regarding the National Hockey League.