The NHL is on break, the Dallas Stars don’t play until Tuesday, and John Klingberg, Tyler Seguin, Victor E. Green & Co. have decamped to Tampa Bay for the 2018 All-Star Weekend. Let’s fire away, shall we?
First things first: Check this link for all your sweet-photos-of-Seguin-and-Klingberg needs. The Stars plan to update it throughout the weekend. [Dallas Stars]
This is Klinger’s first All-Star appearance, and he didn’t seem to understand that putting ridiculous stuff on your head is part of the schtick. Here is fellow Swede Erik Karlsson, explaining through example.
Yes, Karlsson and a third Scandinavian, Victor Hedman, actually showed up dressed as pirates – apparently in observance of Tampa’s other big event this weekend, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.
Then they roped in Rickard Rakell, Henrik Lundqvist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson and it was the Swedish House Mafia on the ice in there.
Did you fear that John was funneled into the Hardest Shot Competition just to show him up and kill his Norris Trophy buzz? If anything, it may have helped.
Here are the numbers from the hardest shot competition. As you can see, John Klingberg stacked up quite well: pic.twitter.com/30NyRXKoFs— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) January 28, 2018
Klinger may have been more surprised than you, and now Segs wants a new assignment.
Speaking of Seguin, he gave it a good go during the Puck Control Relay, but no one could catch a phenomenal opening run by Johnny Gaudreau.
There was also a nice interlude of #MDK solidarity among Klinger, Segs and Central Division captain P.K.
Here’s a highlight reel of some of the best moments from the Skills Competition – including Brayden Point’s near-upset of Connor McDavid for the Fastest Skater crown and a stunning duel between Pekka Rinne and eventual winner Marc-Andre Fleury in the Save Streak portion.
Around the League(s), Or, Not the All-Star Weekend News
Because the Norris Trophy Drumbeat Must Not Cease, not even for All-Star Weekend: Andrew Berkshire takes a deep dive into the cases for seven leading candidates.
Believe it or not, there was actual NHL news yesterday: Commissioner Gary Bettman held a press conference in which, among other things, he confirmed that the 2019 NHL All-Star Game will be hosted by the San Jose Sharks.
The NHL will play preseason games in China and regular-season games in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Finland next season, building on a strategy to expand its international presence. [NHL]
The commish discussed plans to clarify (again) the league’s goalie-interference rules and reviews. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]
On goalie interference reviews, Gary Bettman says: "Overall, the system works." But he says people are "overthinking" it. Wants quicker, easier decisions from refs. "You shouldn't have to search for a reason" to overturn a good goal.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 27, 2018
Bettman also delivered the news that the next expansion team – presumably Seattle – will have the same opportunities out of the gate that the Vegas Golden Knights did.
Gary Bettman indicates that the NHL’s 32nd team — Seattle — will get the same expansion draft rules as Vegas did.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 27, 2018
Gary Bettman on Seattle: Ownership is still working on expansion application, will file soon. Timetable is largely up to them.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) January 27, 2018
Just in time, the Associated Press delivers an article on what an NHL franchise could mean for the Emerald City.
A hockey team in Seattle could give the city something new to rally around https://t.co/hitpoUJQLV— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) January 28, 2018
As a Winter Olympics preview, Team USA’s Meghan Duggan, Hannah Brandt and Hilary Knight offered a demonstration of how the All-Star Skills Competitions work.
Knight is good. She’s really, really good.
Hilary Knight @HilaryKnight (11.64) would have finished third in the NHL allstar accuracy shooting beating Blake Wheeler, James Neal, @jneal_18 , Brad Marchand, Anze Kopitar, Sidney Crosby and @RealStamkos91 Steven Stamkos.— Greg Heakes (@gheakes) January 28, 2018
As we look ahead to regular play, Sean Tierney has posted a plot showing the Stars’ Corsi differential over time, so I’ll just leave it here.
Hitch yourself to the Dal bandwagon - they're good. pic.twitter.com/1i1WjAwSDc— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) January 28, 2018
And, in case you missed it, Stars prospect Colton Point registered a 51-save shutout for Colgate against Harvard yesterday.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars returned to second place in the Pacific Division with a 4-3 win over the Stockton Heat. Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov and Colin Markison earned Stars of the Game honors. [100 Degree Hockey]
Head coach Derek Laxdal singled out several players, including Julius Honka, after “a solid 60 minutes” in a game that righted the course from a tough loss on Friday.
Derek Laxdal discusses tonight's effort in the Stars' 4-3 win against the Stockton Heat. pic.twitter.com/vrquxCVt8b— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) January 28, 2018
You know that “John Klingberg on the beach” is going to be a Stars meme for the next 15 years or so. You just know it. Enjoy.