Some thoughts in the aftermath of All-Star weekend:
*First all-star thought that has nothing to do with the game. Please everybody, stop complaining about the game and what it lacks and how it means nothing and on and on and on. It is what it is. It’s an exhibition. If you like backchecking, guys going hard into the corners, and open-ice hits, this game isn’t for you. It’s really not a secret at this point. Just watch something else.
*With that said, I fully admit I’m not the world’s biggest all-star game enthusiast, but the NHL has hit a four-bagger with this three-on-three format. It’s something different. It’s not a 17-13 five-on-five, 60-minute glorified Beer League game that becomes a borefest after about three minutes. Guys aren’t going full-tilt but the skill and creativity is through the roof and the three-on-three opens up the ice. The 20-minute game is right on point.
*Wayne Simmonds was named the MVP as the Metropolitan Division won the All-Star Game, defeating the Pacific, 4-3, in the championship game of the four-team, three-on-three tournament that is the all-star event. He got it started for the Metro, scoring the team’s first two goals of the 10-6 semifinal win over the Atlantic Division and scored the winner in the final.
*Here’s a great piece by Ken Campbell on Simmonds, the inner-city kid from Toronto that has grown up to become a NHL star.
*You think the Kings regret trading Simmonds?
*The best player for the Metro may have been Cam Atkinson. Scored three goals on the day but was all over the ice. He scored the tying goal five seconds before Simmonds got the winner.
*What a day it was for Boston College. Johnny Gaudreau wasn’t far behind Atkinson among the best players on the ice. Those are just two of several Eagles making an impact in the NHL.
*Good day for the Blue Jackets, too. How about this goal by Seth Jones amidst what was the game-changing sequence in the Metro/Atlantic game, when the Metro scored three goals in 19 seconds to take a 6-4 lead. This was the middle goal of the sequence, which put the Metro up, 5-4. The kid has got some skill.
*And Jones wasn’t finished. Here’s his second goal, which came in the final. Again, serious skill.
*Then there was Sergei Bobrovsky, who was solid in net all night forming a great tandem alongside Braden Holtby.
Who says goalies don’t have hands?
*Ranking the four sweaters: 1- Atlantic (can’t go wrong on the black-and-gold scheme); 2- Pacific (love the black-and-silver, the colors you think of when you think of the Kings); 3- Metro (silver-and-white not bad, just not as nice as the other two); 4- Central (no thank you on the purple).
*Four points in the semifinal and five points overall for John Tavares.
*Not a bad showing for the kids representing the Florida teams despite the Atlantic’s 10-6 loss to the Metro. Four points apiece for Vincent Trocheck and Nikita Kucherov. Victor Hedman had a goal and assist. Those three were the only player with multiple points for the Atlantic.
*Nice debut by Auston Matthews, but he didn’t light the world on fire like I expected him too. Granted, I got a little bit carried away in the Matthews Mania hype, which is totally fine, not to mention totally me.
*With that, his goal was pretty incredible. No transfer of weight, just an effortless flick that he managed to blast past Holtby. No chance he scores that in a regular game, but all the less a pretty nice goal. The kid is only 19, in case you haven’t heard.
*Bo Horvat is a budding star, having a great year nobody is noticing because Vancouver has been written off as an also-ran. He had two goals and four points, three of which came in the first game. His first goal was one of the best of the night.
*How the Central was shutdown in the first game was pretty surprising. When you looked at that lineup, with the firepower up front in addition to the skill on the back end, they certainly hit the under with three goals.
*The all-tournament team (three-on-three tournament, but let’s stretch it to five): Forwards; Cam Atkinson, Wayne Simmonds, Johnny Gaudreau. Defense; Seth Jones, Justin Faulk. Goalie; Braden Holtby.