If you'd just finished a really tough month on the job, which vacation would you choose: quiet downtime on the beach, or a boisterous party with a few dozen of your closest friends? As much fun as the NHL All-Star Game seems to be for many players, fans tend to worry about their favorites getting tired, stressed out or injured during a glorified exhibition game.
Mike Heika talked to Central Division All-Star Coach Lindy Ruff about having his two biggest stars on the ice in Nashville this weekend, and he wants everyone – including Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn – to relax.
"I think it will be good for them," said Ruff, who will coach the Central Division All-Stars on Sunday. "It's not physically taxing, it's not mentally taxing. I think they can go there, have a lot of fun, and it might help them. I think that's how we want to look at it."
Seguin, who's on the roster for this year's Hardest Shot Competition, famously lost a narrow head-to-head decision to the much-speedier-and-fitter-than-he-looks Phil Kessel in last year's Fastest Skater Competition. As it turns out, a fit of the giggles probably didn't help his cause that day.
Seguin lost his race in 2015 to Phil Kessel by 35/100th of a second. He said he was laughing during the race. The 23-year-old center said he'll do whatever he's assigned and finds the Skills Competition enjoyable.
"It's just good to be out there," he said. "We have fun."
Meanwhile, the accuracy contest is just another day in the garage for Captain Benn.
While he has done a video with Dude Perfect on YouTube, shooting at all manner of different items, he said he shoots at plates only at the All-Star Game. That said, he works on the skill every day.
"Honestly, it's what you do when you're a kid. It's what you do now when you're practicing. You don't need plates, you just shoot for the corners," he said.
Taylor has posted the complete rundown on the ASG skills competitions, and there's a lot more to this article at Mike Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]
And because it's scientifically proven* that you can never get enough of this, here is a video of Jamie Benn and his Three Musketeers haircut winning the Shot Accuracy Competition at the 2012 ASG.
*It would take a scientist to explain this, and frankly, I'm just too mad.
Matthew Coller of ESPN Insider revisits the question of which power duo – Benn-Seguin or Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane – you'd most want to lead you into the playoffs. [SportsDayDFW]
Allan Muir muses upon a Stars-Bruins scenario that would bring Loui Eriksson back to Dallas, with Zdeno Chara in tow. [Sports Illustrated]
Steven Stamkos isn't ready to talk about free agency yet, but he will say he still wants to win with the Tampa Bay Lightning. [ESPN]
The NHL is all about the All-Star Game this weekend. Here is a picture of Toronto Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov dressed as a country music star.
VIDEO: Leo Komarov gets country makeover for NHL All-Star Weekend! https://t.co/tJ4JmuU7sF pic.twitter.com/CswqP9wiz5— theScore (@theScore) January 30, 2016
Believe it or not, Jaromir Jagr knows something about how it feels to be John Scott right now. [NHL]
"...I was playing on the third or fourth line on the Pittsburgh Penguins because we had so many great players, and the fans voted me in. I felt kind of embarrassed. I was ashamed. I didn't want to come. I came here, I was 19, I saw all the superstars and I was in the starting lineup and I was on the fourth line in Pittsburgh."
Meanwhile, John Scott's All-Star sweater has sold out. Surely it's some kind of crowning touch to this whole crazy scene that the NHL, which made a real effort to get Scott to back out of the ASG, is now cleaning up on the ASG merch that bears his name. [USA Today]
John Scott with his (apparently) SOLD OUT jersey pic.twitter.com/0kzF2Q9hVt— #FialaTime (@notjasonzito) January 29, 2016
Is it possible that this entire controversy will make this the most entertaining ASG ever? Matt Larkin thinks so, and it sounds as if Scott's fellow All-Stars agree. [The Hockey News]
Predators blog On the Forecheck has posted an invaluable guide to (almost) all the other All-Star Game merchandise.
NHL All Star Merchandise Primer https://t.co/Tq4C48lBDy pic.twitter.com/0cHBPiFLKW— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) January 29, 2016
By the way, OtF's Twitter timeline is chock-full of photos, anecdotes and editorial comments on players' pants. They'll be updating all weekend. [@OnTheForecheck]
Texas-born country music star Craig Wayne Boyd was spotted repping for the home team at NHL Fan Fair.
Yeehaw! Rockin the @DallasStars ball cap and rocking out with @NHL at #NHLFanFair for #NHLAllStar Game! pic.twitter.com/WhxQD4jAJH— Craig Wayne Boyd (@CWBYall) January 29, 2016
What happens when the league returns to business as usual? Jared Clinton has second-half storylines for all 30 teams. [The Hockey News]
Meanwhile, there are still people thinking ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft. Mike G. Morreale shares five things he learned from Thursday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. [NHL]
Stars Director of Player Development Rich Peverley was a face-off ninja during his NHL career. Now he's teaching the Texas Stars how to be like Rich. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Finally: Tyler Seguin, that's right he is.
Who has two thumbs and is playing in the #NHLAllStar Game on his birthday this Sunday? This guy. pic.twitter.com/O2YfGlEdAA— NHL (@NHL) January 29, 2016