Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.
COLUMBUS – You could argue that Jakub Voracek was the true MVP of the game, you could make the case that Nick Foligno was an odd choice to be a captain in the first place, but in an event that is all about the fans, does any of that really matter?
When the cannon smoke cleared at Nationwide Arena, the two representatives of the hometown Columbus Blue Jackets, Foligno and MVP Ryan Johansen, sat in front of the media and had one last jokey yet heartfelt chance to bask in the glory of All-Star Weekend.
COLUMBUS – The moves that NHLers can pull off are incredibly impressive, especially since they perform them in front of thousands of people live and many more on TV. The All-Star Game’s skills competition puts many of those tricks on display, but which are actually the hardest? The players themselves have weighed in.
One of several big announcements made by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday afternoon was the slate of outdoor games for the 2015-16 season. Montreal will take on Boston at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, Detroit will travel to Coors Field to face the host Colorado Avalanche and Chicago will venture out to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium to take on the Wild.
As soon as the Blackhawks were announced as competitors, the Internet crowd got a bit jealous. After all, there are still nine NHL teams that have never played in an outdoor game and don’t have one scheduled right now: Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg. The Jets could have hosted a fourth outdoor game next year, but an agreement could not be reached with the CFL’s Blue Bombers over a stadium date (Bettman hoped that 2016-17 would work now).
The Hawks are already on outdoor game No. 4 now. So why Chicago again?
It always fascinates me when someone who claims to like hockey says they don’t like fighting. Hockey has always had fisticuffs, so clearly when they fell in love with the sport, they knew what they were getting into. They’re the sort of folks who go to a Chinese restaurant and ask why cheeseburgers aren’t on the menu, I imagine.
I don’t try to intellectualize fighting because for me it’s a matter of passion – my own and that of the players. Hockey is an intense, physical game played at high speeds. It inspires loyal fans who know the sacrifices players have made to get to the elite ranks and appreciate the danger those same athletes face on a nightly basis just by skating around with each other in ill temper. Are concussions bad? Are hits to the head bad? Sure, but players have known the risks forever and I don’t believe otherwise, even if specific maladies (such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy) have only been named recently. Read more
COLUMBUS – Phil Kessel was in a good mood. Sure, he was part of the first-ever All-Star Game fantasy draft trade, but it was all in the right spirit. Because of course Kessel was traded for Tyler Seguin, the same player he was swapped for in the NHL back in 2009.
COLUMBUS – Despite some high-profile cancellations, a lot of players are happy to be at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus this weekend. For some, it’s the chance to treat friends and family to a grand experience. For others, it’s the camaraderie on the ice. But Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may also sneak in some time to do some fact-finding in Ohio.
The CHL Top Prospects Game runs tonight in St. Catharines, Ont., home of the Ontario League’s Niagara IceDogs. The all-star contest features the best major junior players available for the 2015 draft and this year has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. That’s because the top goalies have been dropping like flies and one replacement (Ottawa’s Liam Herbst) is being rushed in so last-minute that he wasn’t even in St. Catharines yesterday during the on-ice testing portion.
With that in mind, here are 10 players who could have very highlighty nights, wooing both NHL scouts and hockey fans in general. These aren’t necessarily the best 10 players overall, but they’re all fun to watch.
In past years, the captains for the CHL Top Prospects Game have been two of the highest-ranked players for that year’s NHL draft – Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart, for example.
And while Connor McDavid will wear the ‘C’ for Team Orr, his opponent on Team Cherry is a bit more under-the-radar.