Second Look: Crosby and Ovechkin play on same line

This is what makes the All-Star Game such a spectacle. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, the two greatest players of the generation of which they played, playing together on the same line, setting each other up for goals.

Who wouldn’t want to watch this?

The two stars, who have been bitter rivals since coming into the league in 2005 and bitter division rivals since the NHL realigned in 2013, finished with a goal and assist apiece en route to the Metro winning the four-team three-on-three tournament that was the game. Both picked up their points in the first game, a 10-6 win over the Atlantic. Crosby got the first goal on an assist from Ovechkin before Crosby returned the favor, setting up Ovechkin for a goal with a second to play.

NHL Should Not Change All-Star Voting System

It’s the no-brainer of all no-brainers.

Sure, John Scott has played 286 NHL games with which he has to show just 11 points. Twelve of those games came last season. He also has not only played in an NHL All-Star Game, he was the MVP of the event when he participated in it last season after winning a fan vote that garnered his entry despite not having close to the credentials.

Of course, having Scott in the game came much to the chagrin of the powers that be in the NHL, and it was assumed there would be reform to the system to prevent the stuffing of the ballot box for individuals like the controversial enforcer the took the All-Star Game by storm this past January.

It appears that will not be the case.

Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that there will be “no substantive changes” to the All-Star voting system, in which fans voted for four players to represent the four NHL divisions as captains in the four-team tournament. Scott was the leading vote-getter. A trade of Scott from Arizona to Montreal ensued, in which he subsequently demoted to the AHL. The trade led to speculation of a dubious ploy within the NHL offices to shame Scott into bowing out, as the captains had to play in the respective divisions they were representing. The NHL still allowed Scott to represent the Pacific Division as a free agent, but not without having some egg on its face, be it warranted or unwarranted.

While Scott was the story of the game and his presence at it was widely celebrated, there was still some embarrassment on the front of the NHL that he was there in the first place. It’s what led to the belief there would be changes.

It’s important to note the Ken Campbell of the Hockey News learned from a source that the voting will be restricted to ‘bona-fide NHL players’. However, the source didn’t expand on what exactly that meant. It could mean anybody on an active NHL roster, a standard Scott would’ve met at the time of balloting.

The NHL All-Star Game in 2016 was just what the doctor ordered. Not only did it save the event, it was bolstered to being appointment viewing. A four team, three-on-three tournament in which three 20-minute games were player. Sure, it still lacked the intensity, the commitment to defense, and the candor of, well, a hockey game that counts for something.

But what made it so great was what it wasn’t – a tedious, drawn-out that game that was played up to be something that mattered even though everyone knew it was meaningless. You could find 11 p.m. over-40 beer league games down at the local ice forum that were more compelling that past NHL All-Star Games.

Who cares if someone who didn’t belong won the fan vote and MVP? Would you rather see the winning team decide the host of the first game of the Stanley Cup final? Go back to the 60-minute snoozefests that ended with a 20-15 final?

It’s a fan event, and last year the fans spoke – albeit in a sarcastic, borderline-mocking tone – to put Scott in the game.

If the NHL is truly standing pat and punting on reform, good for them. It’s the right decision.

Patrice Bergeron Voted into All-Star Game

The NHL announced the rosters for the league’s all-star game in Anaheim, Calif. later this month, with Bruins center Patrice Bergeron the lone player representing Boston in the three-on-three tournament among the four NHL divisions.

Under the new format, a three-on-three tournament with the four divisions have 10 players selected by the league. Each division also has a captain selected by fans. Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr was voted to represent the Atlantic, with his counterparts being Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (Central), and Arizona Coyotes forward John Scott (Pacific).

Yes, John Scott was selected as a captain. Fan votes never let us down.

The teams are composed of six forwards, three defensemen, and two goaltenders.

Bergeron is the Bruins leading scorer, with a 15-22–37 scoring line in 38 games, which ties for 12th in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. His 37 points is the second-highest total of his career through 38 games, the high-water mark coming in 2006-07, when he put up 42 (13-29) in his first 38 contests en route to a second straight 70-point season.

It’s the second straight year Bergeron will be flying solo at the event, barring injuries or withdrawals from other players. Candidates for replacements include Brad Marchand (15 goals), Loui Eriksson (34 points in 38 games), Zdeno Chara (plus-10 rating fifth-highest among defensemen in Atlantic), and Torey Krug (one of five defensemen in Atlantic with 20 points).