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NHL All-Star Gameday News: Speedy Barzal and the surging Islanders

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The Islanders’ hot first half draws buzz at the mid-season break, but a playoff home is still TBD.

NHL: All Star Game-Skills Competition
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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After the skills drills event Friday night, the All-Star 3-on-3 mini-tournament takes place tonight in San Jose:

NHL All-Star Game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m. ET │ NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS, plus their streaming apps.

Islanders and All-Star News

  • Mathew Barzal finished third in the fastest skater competition. [NHL] He’s excited to be among the stars, of course. [Isles] Here are photos. [Isles]
  • Jonathan pulled lots of video to break down what Josh Ho-Sang was doing right — and wrong — through 10 games this season under Barry Trotz. It’s always a loaded topic because of how different fans feel about the player or how he’s handled, but there are real signs of progress here. [LHH]
  • In his annual state-of-the-league pow-wow with media, Gary Bettman said the NHL will have the final say on whether the Islanders, should they make the playoffs, play home games at the Coliseum or Brooklyn. [Newsday | Post]
  • Nice look at how Michael Dal Colle — who gained more height and weight than I realized since his draft day — reinvented his approach last summer. [Athletic]
  • A data visualization look at how the Islanders under Trotz are playing compared to last year. [Waveintel]
  • John Tavares, and everyone else around the league: all impressed by the Islanders so far. [Newsday]
  • ...because the Islanders — and Robin Lehner’s impressive rebound — are the hottest story this year. [SI]
  • But after the break and bye week, the Islanders must be prepared for a hectic schedule, with very little time for practices. [Newsday]
  • Mitch Gillam’s extended but fun All-Star Journey for the Railers. [Telegram]

Elsewhere

  • Revisiting some All-Star oddities from yesteryear, like the Gordie Howe fight and the Sandis Ozolinsh trade. [PHT]
  • A few boos in San Jose during Tavares’ introduction at the media event. Heh. [Yahoo]
  • Connor McDavid had to put up with those “doesn’t it suck where you are? Don’t you want to demand a trade?’ questions and took it in stride, said he looks to prove everyone wrong. [TSN]
  • Interesting interview with David Quinn on the differences between coaching in NCAA vs. the NHL. [Post]
  • Would the Flames want low-producing veteran Chris Kunitz for their playoff push? (And would he waive his no-trade clause for one last run?) [Elliotte Friedman via Nichols on Hockey]
  • A look inside the NWHL’s top shooting duo. [Ice Garden]
  • The U.S. women’s team revealed its Olympic medalist-laden roster for the Rivalry Series. [Ice Garden]