Man, I am convinced that anyone who has ever worked in whatever department in the NHL puts together these events has never had any fun in their entire life. Every year, the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game are slogs.
I didn’t mind them breaking up the events. It definitely did not build up any suspense like John Buccigross said/joked—for that to work, we’d actually have to care about them in the first place. However, it prevented, for me at least, the usual “God is this over yet?” I normally feel through the individual competitions.
Speaking of which, the golf one? Meh. I am lame and enjoy watching golf sometimes, but it just felt forced and took forever, and Buccigross forced more jokes. The dunk tank was kinda fun, especially since Matthew Tkachuk splashed down. Although breaking up the duration of the events prevented individual boredom, the whole thing was just too damn long—three hours, longer than your typical hockey game. But it’s for kids and sponsors, and the classics were still somewhat entertaining: Hardest Shot, Accuracy Shooting, etc. Those are pure hockey talent.
It helps when your guy wins one of those events. Brock Nelson, who I think came in with the longest odds of anyone in the competition, won the Accuracy Shooting competition, going I believe 12/16 on his shots, missing only four times through all three rounds. He had the second-fastest time in the preliminary round, and then beat Artemi Panarin and Nazem Kadri for the title to close out the night.
It was also our first chance to see Bo Horvat in a New York Islanders uniform, and he rocked it with his son. He liked the way he looked, too.
Anyway, this afternoon, they’ll hold the three-on-three tournament: Horvat and the Pacific Division face off against the Central at 3:00 p.m., and then the Metro, featuring Nelson and Sorokin, plays the Atlantic Division at 4:00 p.m. The winners play at 5:00 p.m.
- The stories on Nelson winning the final event of the night. [LHH | Islanders] It was a chance for the perennially underrated Nelson to finally get his due. [NY Post]
- Further evidence that Bo Horvat was, indeed, wearing an Islanders uniform. [Islanders]
- Nelson was hanging out with his son, as well, though I think more during the daytime than during the Skills Competition itself. I believe his whole family was there, as he carried his daughter up the red carpet.
- Alex Ovechkin had his son, Sergei, on the ice, and Ilya Sorokin was the best babysitter; they seemed to bond nicely. [Islanders]
- Sorokin had a Miami Vice-inspired goalie mask made for the All-Star game. [Islanders]
- More about the loving friendship between rivals Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin, who teamed up for the Tendy Tandem (but did not win). [Newsday]
- In this roundup, Nelson describes meeting Horvat right before speaking with the media on Thursday. He told Horvat how much he’s going to love Long Island and how much he’ll mean to the team right away. [Sportsnet]
- Some observations at the break that do not pertain to Bo Horvat, like how to assess the Alex Romanov trade and Lane Lambert. [The Athletic]
- Ovechkin’s son was out there with him primarily, I think, for the Breakaway Challenge with Sidney Crosby. [NHL]
- Dylan Strome has found a place to leave his stuff for a while, signing a five-year extension with the Washington Capitals. [NHL]
- Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen were the winners of Splash Shot (the dunk tank one). [NHL]
- Nick Suzuki won Pitch ‘n Puck (the golf one). For his efforts, he earned a year of free Chipotle. But, as he informed everyone, Montréal doesn’t have Chipotle. Well done, NHL.
- Some women’s hockey stars were out there, as well, and Canadian Sarah Nurse pulled off the “Forsberg.” [NHL]