Bobby Ryan says 2015 All-Star Game was “stale,” thinks NHL could scrap it

Jared Clinton
Bobby Ryan (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Ottawa Senators right winger Bobby Ryan played for Team Foligno at the 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus, and it was the first such showcase of his NHL career. But Ryan said if 3-on-3 overtime doesn’t help spark some interest in the event, it might not be the worst idea to scrap the All-Star Game outright.

In an interesting interview with the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Ryan was asked if he thought the All-Star Game should be eliminated. Ryan conceded that it might be a move worth considering, but he understands the fan desire to see all of the game’s stars in one place.

“Maybe with the World Cup coming in to infuse something new, it could change things,” Ryan told Garrioch. “But it’s tough for me to say…I really don’t know.” Read more

Who will win the NHL All-Star Game’s 3-on-3? We rank each division

Matt Larkin
Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg and Jamie Benn. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

By now you’ve probably heard the news about the NHL’s 3-on-3 All-Star Game format for 2016 in Nashville. It pits each division against each other in a four-team tournament, likely with 11-man rosters, and quite possibly with a million bucks going to the winning squad. Wow. I’ll go on the record and declare this whole idea awesome. The fantasy draft format was fun in recent years, but the All-Star Game is at its best when it keeps morphing and innovating. Good on the NHL for trying something wild, especially given the actual game’s diminished reputation. If the public perception is that the players don’t try anymore, the league has nothing to lose in changing things up.

It will be interesting to see how players react and, once all-star teams are selected, which ones will pull out to rest their bodies (sorry, but I just can’t picture Sidney Crosby suiting up. He has played in one – ONE! – All-Star Game). But, for the sake of prognostication, let’s assume all teams are equal. Which division can ice the best 3-on-3 lineup?

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Get set for 3-on-3 divisional showdown at 2016 All-Star Game

Jared Clinton
Claude Giroux (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Fans of 3-on-3 hockey, rejoice!

According to a report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the NHL is expected to announce a new format for the All-Star Game Wednesday for the Jan. 31 festivities in Nashville. The biggest change in the format sees the 5-on-5, fantasy-drafted rosters from recent years scrapped in favor of going back to a conference-versus-conference format that would consist entirely of 3-on-3 hockey.

The new format, McKenzie reported, will featured three, 20-minute 3-on-3 contests that begin divisional matchups. In one game, the Metropolitan Division would take on the Atlantic Division with the other semi-final game, if you will, pitting the Central Division against the Pacific Division. Once the play-in games are complete, the winning Eastern Conference team will take on the victorious Western Conference club for all-star supremacy. Read more

46 ways to make hockey way, way better. Maybe

If the NHL doesn't want to send its players to the Olympics, how about holding the World Junior Championship there? (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In 13 years as Editor-in-Chief of The Hockey News, I’ve made a ton of suggestions on how to improve the game. You’d almost think I didn’t like it.

The truth is, I feel it’s part of my job to help stimulate conversation and debate. While hockey is still pretty darned fantastic, nothing is perfect.

What follows is a list of various things I’ve suggested, conceived, advocated or supported during my baker’s dozen years in my ivory tower.
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Report: NHL All-Star Game could become 3-on-3 tournament

Jared Clinton
Jonathan Toews leads the NHL with two 3-on-3 overtime goals (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

From a fan perspective, it’d be hard to call 3-on-3 overtime anything but a massive success.

The new overtime rules make the game fast, thrilling, end-to-end action that can end at a moment’s notice. And even the contests that go to overtime without game-winning goals, like Thursday’s tilt between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators, feature breakaways, odd-man rushes and spectacular saves.

And from a league perspective, it has helped reduce the number of shootouts. Through 193 regular season tilts, 38 games have gone to overtime with only 12 making it as far as the shootout.

For those reasons, fans have been clamoring to see more of the 3-on-3 action, and they may get their wish at the All-Star Game this season in Nashville. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, 3-on-3 hockey is being discussed not as a side-event for the all-star weekend, but as the main attraction. The traditional game could potentially be replaced by a “a series of 3-on-3 games in a mini-tournament format.” Where do we sign up? Read more

How to make the NHL Skills Competition the Home Run Derby

Jared Clinton
Shea Weber  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

The MLB’s Home Run Derby took place Monday night, showcasing some of baseball’s biggest hitters in a brand new format that rejuvenated the event and made it fun to watch even for non-baseball fans.

Much like how the MLB changed up the format for the season’s Derby, the NHL’s Skills Competition is more than due for a change. Over the past few seasons the events have become stale and the fanfare, for the most part, seems to have faded to the point where the Skills Competition seems more tedious than enjoyable. Suffice to say that in a weekend that brings together the NHL’s brightest stars, the fantasy draft shouldn’t be the highlight of the three-day event.

So how, exactly, should the NHL change up the Skills Competition to make it a bit more interesting? We have a few ideas. Read more

Why not make trade deadline a made-for-TV event?

Ken Campbell
NHL draft floor  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Under the watchful eye of chief operating officer John Collins, the NHL has become the most event-driven league among major sports. From the Winter Classic to the All-Star Game fantasy draft to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Collins has positioned the NHL as an industry leader when it comes to staging glitzy, revenue-generating spectacles. It has helped build the league into an almost $4 billion business.

So why not make the trade deadline an event? It’s already one of the most highly anticipated days on the NHL calendar, so the league might as well cash in on it and make it even more compelling for fans at the same time. The league could sell a sponsorship deal and auction the television rights to the highest bidder. NHL Trade Deadline Day, brought to you by (insert sponsor’s name here) televised exclusively on (insert network’s name here). It could be much the same as baseball’s winter meetings but on a grander scale. Read more