Based on the success of the 3-on-3 tournament from last season in Nashville, the NHL has elected to do the same thing again in Los Angeles, where the game will take place on Sunday, January 29th, shortening Week Sixteen, because of the event.
The voting for the All-Star Game captains concluded on January 2nd and they were announced on the 4th. A week later, the whole rosters were dropped, not to mention the look of the jerseys that will be used in the four-team tournament and we have the makings of a pretty good All-Star weekend upcoming.
But what we're all here for is the players that are playing and how that would look, if there was a mini-game involved here. Let's start with the host team, the Pacific Division.
|Connor McDavid||EDM||Stacey C.|
|Bo Horvat||VAN||John S.|
Connor McDavid was voted in as the captain of the host team, but the Kings are not short on representation on home-ice. Marcie has a lot of stock in the Pacific Division as well, leading all pool teams with three players on this squad.
|Vladimir Tarasenko||STL||Derek B.|
|Jonathan Toews||CHI||Derek W.|
|Ryan Suter||MIN||John S.|
|Devan Dubnyk||MIN||John S.|
We'll stay in the West for the second All-Star squad, as the Central Division had all kinds of players to choose from, but only so many could go. This is a very solid bunch, led by captain P.K. Subban, who is so popular, even though he missed so much time, gets to captain this squad. The Blackhawks have four players going and Clayton leads this team with two selections.
|Frans Nielsen||DET||Dale B.|
|Erik Karlsson||OTT||Dale B.|
Who says you can't have a goalie as your captain? In the All-Star Game, you certainly can. The Atlantic Division will be led by Carey Price, who ranks 2nd among teammates in pool scoring, as of Sunday morning. This is a pretty evenly spread out team, with the Habs, Bruins and Bolts with a couple of players each. Dale B., our new pool leader has a couple of players here.
|Sidney Crosby||PIT||Brenda & Seward|
|Wayne Simmonds||PHI||Kristy & Don|
|Taylor Hall||NJD||John S.|
|Ryan McDonagh||NYR||Derek W.|
|Seth Jones||CBJ||Stacey M.|
Finally, the last team of the four, from the Metropolitan Division, has to be one of the favourites going in. They have the best player in the pool, Sergei Bobrovsky, their captain, Sidney Crosby, is in fine form this season and their forwards are just ridiculous for a 3-on-3 tournament. Pittsburgh, Washington and Columbus all have a couple players each, rounding out a pretty decent team, while no one appears to have more than one player on this team in the pool.
Now that we've seen all four teams, the question would be... what if this was a mini-game? It had a chance at being one. Marcie and John S. would be the early favourites in this tournament, each having four players participating. Dale C. is the only team of the 25 in the pool to go without, as players like Artemi Panarin or Patrice Bergeron were not included.
The top player not going to the mid-season classic, as of Sunday morning, is Edmonton's Cam Talbot, which could have given Marcie a fifth player at the game for her pool team. Talbot ranks 6th in pool scoring today, but the Pacific Division team had to be rounded out somehow.
Other top players not going, in order of rankings... Peter Budaj of the Kings, Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Mark Scheifele of the Jets, John Gibson of the Ducks, Phil Kessel of the Penguins... and those are just the guys in the top 20 in pool scoring. This isn't a travesty or a great injustice, it just has to happen, given the parameters of team selection.