Ah, the All-Star Game: a weekend in which most of the NHL gets a chance to take a break, but for a few (mandated at least one per team) to be hauled up to whatever location has been designated for the year and shill for the league while showing off how talented they are at hockey, or something.
The Flames are a meh team this year without any real standouts, but since every team has to be represented, Johnny Gaudreau is once again an All-Star for the third year in a row. He’s three for three now; do you think he may want a break at some point?
There were a couple of options for the Flames, including three more interesting ones who have never gone before, but with an overall inconsistent season, nobody on the team has really stood out – at least not to the extent that the Flames deserve to have more than one representative.
That includes Gaudreau, who has a disappointing – for him – 27 points in 33 games this season. He missed 10 games with a broken finger, but he’s still tied for the lead in Flames scoring. He’s also the most recognizable name the Flames have, and this is essentially just a marketing event, so.
Mark Giordano accompanied Gaudreau the previous two All-Star games, but will be absent from this one. Here’s what the Pacific Team will look like:
- Forwards: Jeff Carter (LAK), Johnny Gaudreau (CGY), Bo Horvat (VAN), Ryan Kesler (ANA), Connor McDavid (EDM), Joe Pavelski (SJS)
- Defence: Brent Burns (SJS), Drew Doughty (LAK), Cam Fowler (ANA)
- Goalies: Martin Jones (SJS), Mike Smith (ARI)
The California teams are the only ones in the division to get multi-player representation, which sounds about right. San Jose leads the way with three, one at every position, while the Kings and Ducks are both sending a forward and a defenceman each.
And… that’s about that, I suppose.
I dunno. This is a marketing event whose primary audience really should be kids. I’d imagine it’s a cool experience to get to watch the mainstream interpretation of who’s the very best – but with at least one player from every team, so as to not leave any fans out – compete against each other in a relaxed environment. And good for them! As long as the people for whom this event is tailored towards have a good time, then it’s a success.
But man, the NHL has done just about everything it can think of to strip away the fun for the rest of us. The three-on-three tournament was an interesting idea, and led to some surprisingly competitive hockey last year; at the same time, I was only really invested in watching it because I wanted to see how John Scott would do. The NHL went directly out of its way to avoid repeating that situation again.
The only other thing I really enjoyed watching before that was watching NHLers get drunk off their asses while waiting to get drafted. Remember Giordano’s non-stop giggling (he was SLOSHED) as Alex Ovechkin hijacked his interview begging for a car? Or Phil Kessel getting traded for Tyler Seguin? But with a divisional tournament, that’s gone, too.
Ah well. As long as Gaudreau has fun and doesn’t get hurt, then it should be a fine weekend.