Tag:2012 All-Star Game
Posted on: January 28, 2012 5:00 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 5:03 pm
 

Players we would like to see in skills challenge



By: Adam Gretz

The video above features Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars scoring an absolutely insane shootout goal against the Colorado Avalanche a couple of years ago. It's a pretty amazing goal, leaving then-Avs goalie Peter Budaj completely confused. Throughout his career, Ribeiro has made a habit out of scoring highlight reel goals during the regular season skills competition that is otherwise known as the shootout.

He seems like he would be the type of player that would excel in the All-Star skills competition, particularly any of the breakaway challenges. But because he's not an All-Star this year, we don't get an opportunity to see what he's fully capable of when the spotlight is on. The NBA brings in players that aren't on the All-Star rosters to take part in their skills competition, and I wouldn't mind seeing the NHL try something similar.

With that in mind, let's take a quick look at some of the players not in the All-Star game this season that could be favorites to win the various events, or at the very least, put up a solid showing.

Fastest Skater

1. Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings
2. Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks
3. Mason Raymond, Vancouver Canucks

Cogliano has actually already won this event, taking it back in 2009 with a time of 14.31 seconds, but I would put Helm up against any other skater in the league in terms of pure speed. He doesn't score much, but everything he does on the ice, including his penalty killing, seems to be a complete blur.

Accuracy Shooting

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils
2. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
3. Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres

Kind of a tough one to figure out, and it's not as easy as simply looking at a players shooting percentage because that doesn't necessarily mean a player with a high number is an "accurate" shooter, but Kovalchuk and Semin are obvious snipers that can pick their spots and hit the corners from anywhere in the offensive zone.

Hardest Shot

1. Sami Salo, Vancouver Canucks
2. Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers
3. Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars

Jason Garrison has more goals than any other defenseman in the NHL this season with 13, and eight of them have come by way of his booming slap shot, more than any other player in the league. I don't know if he has what it takes to challenge Zdeno Chara or Shea Weber, but I imagine he could put up some impressive numbers, and the same could be said for Salo. At the Canucks team skills competition earlier this week he hit 102 MPH, which would have been harder than any other participant in last year's event with the exception of Chara and Weber.

Breakaway Challenge

1. Mike Riberio, Dallas Stars
2. Todd Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings
3. Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

We already addressed what Riberio can bring to the table, but when the Red Wings are involved in a shootout they tend to be quality entertainment, not only because of the presence of Pavel Datsyuk, always a human highlight reel, but also because of Todd Bertuzzi, who has some pretty underrated skill. It's not uncommon to see him bust out the spin-o-rama move, but he has quite a few additional tricks up his sleeve as well. And don't underestimate the skill and hands that Rick Nash has for a big, power forward.

Any other players that didn't participate this season that you would like to see?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 11:40 am
Edited on: January 28, 2012 7:22 pm
 

Columbus will host 2013 All-Star Game

CBJBy: Adam Gretz

On the eve of the 2012 All-Star game, the NHL announced that the 2013 game will take place in Columbus, Ohio, at Nationwide Arena, the home of the Blue Jackets.

It will be the second major event that Columbus has hosted, as the 2007 Entry Draft was held there as well.

If the league continues its current All-Star format with two captains picking their teams from a pool of All-Stars, it's a good bet that Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash will be one of the players making the choices next season. In each of the past two years the host team has provided one of the captains, with Eric Staal being named one last season in Carolina, and Daniel Alfredsson picking his team on Thursday night in Ottawa.

Of course, two things will have to happen for us to get to that point: 1) There's no cancellation of the game due to some sort of CBA hold-up (the current agreement is up after this season, so who knows what's going to happen there) and 2) Rick Nash is still a member of the Blue Jackets.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 8:06 pm
 

TV Ratings drop for All-Star draft



By: Adam Gretz


On Thursday night the NHL held its second All-Star fantasy draft, and the league saw a drop in its television ratings as a little over 2 million viewers tuned in across North America, according to TV Sports Ratings, via Steve Lepore at Puck The Media.

Over 1.6 million of those viewers came from Canada, while a little over 400,000 watched it in the United States. The number for the states is down from the 600,000 that tuned in last year on a Friday night (again, this year's draft was held on a Thursday).

The draft is definitely a unique thing for the NHL, and it's unlike anything else any of the other major sports leagues do for their All-Star games, so I give the NHL credit for trying something different to spice up an event that generally draws a collective yawn from the fan base.

The problem is it just doesn't seem to translate all that well to television with some awkward moments and way too much empty space. Actually, the most entertaining part of Thursday's festivities was the Senators fans treating it like a battle of Ontario game and heckling Joffrey Lupul (and his Leafs teammates) at every opportunity.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

NHL All-Star Rosters
Couture Last Man Standing

All-Star Skills Challenge Lineups
More NHL All-Star Game Coverage

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 5:49 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 5:56 pm
 

All-Star skills challenge lineups announced

By Brian Stubits

For a lot of fans, Saturday is the highlight of All-Star weekend, not Sunday when they play the actual game. Saturday is the skills night, the NHL's version to the NBA's popular Saturday night with the slam dunk contest and three-point shootout.

Instead we have the shootout challenge and accuracy shooting contests, just as entertaining if not more so.

With the rosters finalized in Thursday night's draft, we were able to draw the lines for the skills competitions. Captains Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara further clarified that by naming the competitors for Saturday's events.

And away we go.

Fastest Skater
Class Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Backward Kris Letang (Penguins) Brian Campbell (Panthers)
Goalies Jonathan Quick (Kings) Jimmy Howard (Red Wings)
Rookies Carl Hagelin (Rangers) Colin Greening (Senators)
All-Stars Keith Yandle (Coyotes) Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs)
All-Stars Erik Karlsson (Senators) Marian Hossa (Blackhawks)

The highlight of last year's fastest skater competition might well have been the battle between Tim Thomas and Cam Ward. Remember Thomas blowing a tire around the first net? In case you don't, here's your reminder.

This year's contest will feature Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick. OF COURSE Quick is in the fastest skater competition. He had to be, right?

I'm going to go with Team Alfredsson here for the best showing. Watch out for the rookie Hagelin to maybe turn in the best time.

Breakaway Challenge
Class Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Rookie Sean Couturier (Flyers) Ryan Johansen (Blue Jackets)
All-Star John Tavares (Islanders) Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)
All-Star Logan Couture (Sharks) Corey Perry (Ducks)
Goalie Brian Elliott (Blues) Carey Price (Canadiens)

This is the NHL's best equivalent to the Slam Dunk competition in basketball. Four chances, four moves, see what you can do. Here's an example of what it looked like last year from one of this year's competitors, Corey Perry.

I see Kane and I see Perry on one team. Yea, that's where I'm going to go on this one. I know, I know, more disrespect for Couture.

Accuracy Shooting
Class Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Rookie Matt Read (Flyers) Cody Hodgson (Canucks)
All-Star Jason Spezza (Senators) Tyler Seguin (Bruins)
All-Star Steven Stamkos (Lightning) Jamie Benn (Stars)
All-Star Daniel Sedin (Canucks) Marian Hossa (Blackhawks)
Passer Alex Edler (Canucks) Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs)
Passer Dan Girardi (Rangers) Ryan Suter (Predators)
Passer Claude Giroux (Flyers) Jordan Eberle (Oilers)
Passer Henrik Sedin (Canucks) Brian Campbell (Panthers)

Here is the 3-point contest equivalent. If you like guys who excel at the fundamentals, this one is a little more up your alley, but it does keep "fun" in fundamentals. It's impressive to watch.

It's fast, though, that's the only downside. Would be cool to see them do it on two nets or from much further back, maybe even at the blue line.

Well the defending champ is back in it with Daniel Sedin and he crushed it last year, so I think I see a clear favorite in this one. And this time he'll be able to have his brother passing the puck to him as well.

Hardest Shot
Class Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Rookie Justin Faulk (Hurricanes) Luke Adam (Sabres)
All-Star Daniel Alfredsson (Senators) Dennis Wideman (Capitals)
All-Star Jason Spezza (Senators) Dion Phaneuf (Maple Leafs)
All-Star Shea Weber (Predators) Zdeno Chara (Bruins)

Here is our buzz-worthy event. This has probably become the most popular event of the weekend contests. Who doesn't love a booming slap shot?

Poor Luke Adam, though, he's just hoping not to get embarrassed in the process. "Hardest shot?! Will it be embarresing when I don't break 80? #toughbreak"

Wideman doesn't stand much of a chance to compete in this one either.

Ah, who am I kidding, this is a two-man show. It's a battle between Weber and Chara, with Weber still trying to finally beat Chara in this event.

Quite frankly, Chara's only competition in this event is the radar gun. And the KHL, if you believe the accuracy of their radar guns.

There are two other events too, those being the Skills Relay and the Elimination Shootout. You can see those lineups at NHL.com right here.

What event will be the best in your book? Which team will win the overall battle?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 3:39 pm
 

All-Star Game preview: Finding lines to entertain

By Brian Stubits

When it comes to All-Star Games, the NHL is probably in the middle. It's certainly a notch below the holy grail of games, baseball's Midsummer Classic, but it's undoubtedly ahead of football's Pro Bowl. Like the NBA's version, defense isn't even optional, it's pretty much discouraged.

So truth be told, people don't watch the All-Star Game for the hockey. Really, mid-week games featuring the Blue Jackets and Oilers will provide a better game (not necessarily entertainment, however). Instead, fans watch it for the Stars , the chance to see their favorite players.

Or to see things we never get the chance to see.

Thanks to the Fantasy Draft, the possibilities exist for some squeamish line combinations that wouldn't otherwise have been feasible. Such as Bruins playing with Canucks. However seeing as one of the two captains was a Bruin, we missed out on some golden opportunity to have Zdeno Chara paired with Alex Edler while playing with Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Tyler Seguin in front of them with Tim Thomas in net. Oh, if Chara could have only seen the potential.

What Chara did end up doing was drafting a host of right wingers, making this pre-draft incredibly awkward exchange all the more apropos.

With all that said, thanks to our Line Mixmaster 3000 (patent pending) we were able to come up with some interesting lines with the teams that were selected -- and some lines that make you go "meh." Hey, you can't win them all.

(Do note we had to execute some position changes to get four even lines. But to Joffrey Lupul and Daniel Alfredsson: I see what you did. Lupul only helped Chara draft one left winger and Alfredsson only picked one right winger. Sorry fellas, you can't triple shift.)

Let's start with Team Alfredsson, considering he's the host and all.

As Seen in Ottawa line: Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson. Intrigue? Nah, there's not a whole lot on this one, frankly. Senators fans can see these guys together most every night. But you have an entire line of guys not out of position in their hometown ... it's a lock. But hopefully they keep the mic on Spezza during the game like he had it on in the draft and this time we can hear a full-out laugh. That's interesting enough.

Third Wheel line: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Logan Couture. OK, I'll relent and keep the Sedins together. The best third wheel for them is Couture. You have the whole Predators of the sea thing (Canucks' killer whale vs. the Sharks), the little rivalry between their teams and, well, just another way to pick on Couture a little bit after he was Mr. Irrelevant. Sorry Henrik, I don't think you're going to get those better players to play with this year (It's OK, Daniel, you can smile!).

I Believe I Can Fly line: Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, John Tavares. I had a harder time naming this line than any of the others (no doubt it shows). But the Flyers connection is pretty clear and they get an Atlantic Division friend in the mix in Tavares, somebody who has wheels that just might inspire Hartnell to try and skate faster and contribute to the Hartnell Down-O-Meter. Tavares converts to the wing to make it happen, a pretty easy transition from center.

The Forgotten line: James Neal, Steven Stamkos, Jason Pominville. Neal was the guy who the NHL just didn't seem to want to invite. It took the last replacement spot for Neal to get the call despite being second in the league in goals scored. Stamkos is the only guy with more goals than Neal and yet he's such a quiet superstar that some might not even be aware of that fact. As for Pominville? Well it's been a forgettable season in Buffalo so far, so he fits in here.

Defensive pairings: This is really a hodgepodge of names when put together, there's not a whole lot that screams out for obvious potential pairings. So I've got Shea Weber with Alex Edler (Western Conference the tie that binds), Erik Karlsson with Kris Letang (excessive use of the letter K) and Dan Girardi with Keith Yandle (ummm, they were each in that game that was won with 0.1 seconds left this season).

Now on to Team Chara. Here are the lines that we can put together, seeking maximum intrigue.

Cyborg line: Corey Perry, Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla. The cyborg obviously references the man in the middle, but it also includes one of the league's ageless wonders in Iginla plus a guy with a connection to Disney. Hey, we have to make some stretches. The only person out of position here is Perry, being forced to the left wing because of Chara's right-side glut.

Miss-match line: Jamie Benn, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Gaborik. Yea, there isn't a whole lot of connections with this line except Malkin and Gaborik are both from Eastern Europe. But hey, good for Benn to play his first game in weeks alongside the best player in the NHL the last couple of weeks in Malkin. He'll take it, I'm sure.

Two Blackhawks and a Kid line: Jordan Eberle, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa. So this line has a couple of players "out of position" but Kane is no stranger to center. We had to convert somebody to the middle and he's the easy pick seeing that he's played there this season. He gets to be alongside his Chicago buddy Hossa. Poor Eberle, he might not get to see the puck with these two guys. That won't make his fan club president (on the right) too happy.

Blackhawks and ladies? No doubt this will be Joey the Junior Reporter's favorite line to follow.

The Awkward line: Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Seguin, Phil Kessel. We saved the best for last. Yes, consider this the coup-de-grace of interesting lines. The two players -- Seguin and Kessel -- who will forever be tied to each other thanks to the trade between the Maple Leafs and Bruins, alongside another Leaf in Lupul.

“I said ‘Kess, I think we’re linemates,'" Seguin said to Kessel on Thursday (from the Boston Herald). "He said ‘That be cool. I think the media would like it.’”

Yes, Phil, yes we would.

Defensive pairings: Well we have to put Chara with Dion Phaneuf. Again, it's the Leafs-Bruins angle but also two of the more fearsome defensemen in the league. Good pairing. Ryan Suter gets paired with Kimmo Timmonen so they can find out if there is any chemistry there in case Philly is Suter's landing spot if he's traded. That leaves Brian Campbell to pair with Dennis Wideman. All I got here is Campbell is a current Panthers defenseman and Wideman used to be one.

As for a goalie to be mic'd up like Cam Ward was last year? I'm going to vote for Carey Price. Hey, any guy that does a campaign video like this and nearly spits his drink out when he's picked in the draft is probably entertaining enough to help carry the event for a period.

Enjoy the game. It will be a lot easier with some of the above intrigue. But please, leave your gripes about the lack of defense at home, we all know it's sorely lacking.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:09 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:10 am
 

Joey the Jr. Reporter takes on Ottawa, lands date

By Brian Stubits

If you don't know who Joey the Junior Reporter is, this will serve as a great introduction.

Joey is only 6 years old and drew a little fame when he was 5 for interviewing some of the Blackhawks players and being able to carry the conversation. Jump ahead more than a year and now Joey is covering the All-Star draft for the NHL.

Here's some of his handiwork from last night in Ottawa.

Seriously, I love his reaction to being up close to see the dancers. Again, he's 6.

In case you haven't gathered yet, Joey is a Blackhawks fan. So his trolling of the Flyers fan is just classic, asking him who won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and then thanking him for the reminder.

He also took the chance to hit up a Maple Leafs fan and his crazy hat.

However his most impressive move of the night? That would have to be the moves he put on NHL Network's Heidi Androl to get a steak dinner date.

That nonchalant, show-it-off posture? The quick wit? Man, this kid is a smoother operator than I ever was or ever will be.

The All-Star Game itself might not be all that great, I'll be the first to concede that. However the weekend is still one of the best of the NHL season if you ask me. Fun things like this are a perfect example why, as was the draft. I feel that was one of the best decisions the NHL has made in years, to institute the fantasy drafty.

It was also a pretty good move for somebody to give Joey Jr. a microphone.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Category: NHL
Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:41 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 10:51 am
 

Logan Couture last man standing at All-Star Draft

By: Adam Gretz

Nobody remembers that Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward was the first pick in last year's All-Star draft, just like nobody will remember that Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk went first this year.  But everybody seems to remember it was Toronto's Phil Kessel that was the last man sitting in the seats waiting for his name to be called a year ago.

Perhaps a little too much.

Kessel, of course, didn't think it was all that big of a deal, and still doesn't today. When asked on Thursday, after being selected in the eighth round by Zdeno Chara, what advice he would give to the player that goes last this year, he simply laughed and said "it doesn't matter, it's not a big deal."

The last man standing this season: San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture, as he ended up on Alfredsson's team after Zdeno Chara selected Dallas' Jamie Benn in the final round.

But don't feel too bad for Couture. This isn't quite the same as being picked last for kick ball in gym class or on the playground. He is, after all, still getting an opportunity to play in the NHL All-Star game with some of the best players in the world, which is an impressive accomplishment on its own. But he also takes home a brand new car for being the last player selected, which this year is a Honda Crosstour. Shortly after the draft ended, Couture went to his personal Twitter feed and posted, "First order of business. Pimping that Honda out."

Along with the new ride, the NHL and NHLPA will also be donating $10,000 (each) to the grassroots hockey fund of his choice.

It's not much of a surprise that Couture was the last pick, as he was one of the favorites heading into the draft. According to the folks at Bovada earlier in the week he was a 13/2 pick to be the last player selected (yes, people actually bet on this … recreationally, of course).

The other favorites were Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell (6/1), Buffalo's Jason Pominville (13/2)  and Benn (13/2).

The only thing we knew for sure was that the last player was going to be a forward, as every goalie had to be selected before the end of round 10, and all of the defensemen had to be selected before the end of round 15.

More 2012 NHL All-Star Game Coverage

Complete All-Star Game Rosters
Complete 2012 All-Star Game Coverage

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:23 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 11:42 am
 

2012 NHL All-Star Rosters

By: Adam Gretz

We knew which players were going to be taking part in the All-Star game this season, but we had no idea which team they would be playing for and who they would be playing against. It was all settled in Ottawa on Thursday night as Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, the two captains for this year's game, made their selections as you can see below in the order they were picked.

Chara won the coin toss and ended up with the first selection and chose Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, and continued to load up on offense in the early rounds going with Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa and Phil Kessel.

Kessel, of course, was the last pick in the All-Star draft a year ago, but went in the eighth round this season. The last man standing this season was San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture

Two developments that should not have been a surprise to anybody: First, The Vancouver-Boston rivalry that started in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, and carried over into this season as we saw in their regular season matchup a couple of weeks ago, continued on as Chara did not pick a single Canuck.

That means that unlike last year when they were split up, the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, will play on the same team as they've always done throughout their time in the NHL.

Also not a surprise: Alfredsson made sure to pick every Senator in the game, ending up with Erik Karlsson (his first pick), Jason Spezza (his second pick) and Milan Michalek.

2012 NHL All-Star Rosters
Team Alfredsson Team Chara
Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers, Goalie)* Joffrey Lupul (Maple Leafs, Forward)*
Erik Karlsson (Senators, Defense) Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings, Forward)
Jason Spezza (Senators, Forward) Tim Thomas (Bruins, Goalie)
Jonathan Quick (Kings, Goalie) Evgeni Malkin (Penguins, Forward)
Claude Giroux (Flyers, Forward) Marian Hossa (Blackhawks, Forward)
Kris Letang (Penguins, Defense) Kimmo Timonen (Flyers, Defense)
Steven Stamkos (Lightning, Forward) Corey Perry (Ducks, Forward)
Brian Elliott (Blues, Goalie) Carey Price (Canadiens, Goalie)
Shea Weber (Predators, Defense) Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs, Forward)
Daniel Sedin (Canucks, Forward) Ryan Suter (Predators, Defense)
Dan Girardi (Rangers, Defense) Jimmy Howard (Red Wings, Goalie)
Keith Yandle (Coyotes, Defense) Brian Campbell (Panthers, Defense)
Milan Michalek (Senators, Forward) Patrick Kane (Blackhawks, Forward)
Henrik Sedin (Canucks, Forward) Dion Phaneuf (Maple Leafs, Defense)
James Neal (Penguins, Forward) Jarome Iginla (Flames, Forward)
Alex Edler (Canucks, Defense) Dennis Wideman (Capitals, Defense)
John Tavares (Islanders, Forward) Marian Gaborik (Rangers, Forward)
Scott Hartnell (Flyers, Forward) Jordan Eberle (Oilers, Forward)
Jason Pominville (Sabres, Forward) Tyler Seguin (Bruins, Forward)
Logan Couture (Sharks, Forward) Jamie Benn (Stars, Forward)

(*Assistant Captain)

More NHL All-Star Game Coverage


For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com