I was very fortunate to attend the Skills Competition last night/afternoon in LA and I also got to check out the surrounding area.
I took a lot of pictures just so I could share them all with you! They may not be the best, but they were taken with good intentions! So here's some pictures and stories from last night!
These were some the lovely outside decorations that made the whole arena look special. Hockey was everywhere you looked and it couldn't have been better.
The Introductions were definitely great because Snoop was there but also hearing fan reactions was great as well. Since it is LA, Sharks and Ducks players were not crowd favorites. Blackhawks also were not very welcome and same with Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby, but they have that reputation will all NHL fans (even though I don't understand the Crosby part).
The East did have some cheers here and there but they were not popular because this is a West Coast city that cares about other things. Auston Matthews, of course, was popular being from the West. Wayne Simmonds also received a nice response after returning to where he played years before. Martin Jones on the other hand... not so much, but it was only because he went to San Jose. If he went to Boston, he would've gotten cheers.
The relay was fun to watch and to hear all the collective 'ah's made it even better. The goalie goals part had to have been one of the best parts because seeing the goalies whack away at the net was great. Carey Price definitely was good at that!
Feel free to try and peer into the photos because there are many scenes of the All Stars frozen in time. Also notice that evert picture is a different team.
The Four Lines Challenge was definitely hard for the players and you could tell. Very few could get it in and we hoped for more but there were many missed shots.
The highlight of this one, of course, was Mike Smith's goal. The entire place erupted because even though he plays for the Coyotes, he played for the Pacific that night and he meant more now! Before he made the shot, his mascot Howler was cheering from behind and tried to get the crowd to howl with him for Smith. I think it worked.
I also noticed during this competition that Carey Price was skating around with his daughter. I enjoy precious moments like that and it was wonderful to see them enjoying their time on the ice together.
I loved seeing the younger players in this competition do well, especially Auston Matthews. I was so excited to see him nearly win this competition in his first chance ever. But I also highly respect Crosby and he remains the best in the game. Seeing him do well was also great and it's fantastic that both young and more established players can dominate at the same time.
I only took one photo of this but I wanted to capture McDavid just in case he would beat Larkin's record. He won the competition, but he didn't beat it. I felt bad because he had to have been so tired to run another lap after crushing his first. Given more time, maybe he would've beaten it? It's up for debate!
Had to take a photo of Ovi and Weber because this was going to be a huge match up!! Weber once again still has it but he didn't break the record.. Oh well.. He was much closer than many others because they were not even close and some couldn't hit 100 mph. Not that I could but they seem more likely than me to hit it. As someone else there put it, '100 sure is faster than it sounds'. Maybe I was also too far up to hear the terrifying sound... Who knows... Oh wait, the goalies do!
Here's a picture of Price about to save another goal and make the Pacific look not as hot offensively. Let's just say that the East breeds snipers and the West thinks more defensively. I didn't capture the adorable Ryker Kesler fooling Price but it was a fun moment. I also could not believe that Burns' between-the-legs shot hit the post!! It looked like it went in but nope. Fantastic try though!
And here's me trying to take a picture up close but freaking out because security guarded every other entrance but this one. I tried but I was scared so this is all I got... Enjoy!
There you have it! All the final scores from today's action!
Congrats to Wayne Simmonds and the Metropolitan on their win!
Meet the rookies representing in All Star Game!
Scored his 23rd goal against Detroit on Wednesday's 4-0 shutout. Matthews continues to lead the rookies in goals and is tied with Alex Ovechkin (only the best can say that!) with the third most tally of goals in the league.
Matthews will make his All Star debut in tonight's game. He competed in the Skills Challenge Relay, Accuracy Shooting, and in the Shootout. He almost won the Accuracy contest but Crosby happened. Matthews still managed to put up the second-best time of 12.28 seconds, which is hard to do considering how long everyone else took. Since his performance was impressive, let's watch it again!
It was like he never missed any games... Laine returned this week and registered 3 points (1 goal & assist vs. Chicago, 1 assist vs. San Jose) in 2 games. He now has 22 goals and is second behind the guy above.
Laine will also make his All Star debut tonight and also showed off his nice skills last night. Laine participated in Accuracy Shooting, Fastest Skater, and Hardest Shot. In the Fastest Skater, he edged out Bo Horvat but since Horvat stuck his stick out, the timing system had him at first. Thankfully, they reviewed it and awarded Laine as the fastest in his race. He was not the fastest overall but he still managed a time of 13.42, .01 faster than Horvat. The Hardest Shot was where Laine succeeded the most in, where he held the record from the beginning until the end when Shea Weber came in and took his crown back. Laine was the only other person besides Weber to have a shot hit in the triple digits, which tells you not to mess with him.
Schedules this week for the top rookies
Jakob Chychrun & Brendan Perlini
Sebastian Aho & Brock McGinn
Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, & William Nylander
Everything you need to know about the showcase of the AHL's best! Read more to find out the details!
Excited for the all stars to show off their skills?! The fun part of the weekend kicks off tonight at 7 pm ET! Enjoy the somewhat simple explanations of what is to come tonight.
Can't make it to the game or can't decide on buying the program or not? Don't worry! Pieces of the official program can be found here (click below)!
All the latest news from this week's buzzworthy rookies.
Hannikainen scored his first career NHL goal against the Hurricanes. His goal came in the first and helped his team secure a 3-2 victory.
The underrated Aho had two goals this week and now finds himself at third place on the team's total and also third for all rookies. Aho's goals were both scored on the Blue Jackets but they were separate games. Aho is now 2 for 3 in games against his Metropolitan rival.
Wood killed last night's 4-1 win over Philadelphia with two goals. He thought that scoring a goal in that was so nice, he did it twice! Wood also got his third assist of the season vs. Minnesota last Tuesday.
Matthews is now tied for third among the NHL in goals after he scored his 22nd against Buffalo. Matthews is with great company in third place as he shares the spot with Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin. That amazing trio will not last long because one of them will most definitely get their 23rd soon.
Marner collected two assists this week vs. Buffalo and New York Rangers. His 27 assists lead the team with James van Riemsdyk behind at 22. Marner is tied for 18th in the NHL in assists, leads all rookies in that category, and is also with good company at 27 assists, including Jamie Benn, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Joe Thornton. Sounds like Mitch has found his niche...
You cannot take back Perlini to the AHL All-Star Classic because he will not let it happen! He's also already been replaced but he has a good reason to stay in the NHL. Perlini's 7th goal of the season came against Minnesota off of Devan Dubnyk this week. Anytime the Coyotes face Dubnyk it's a big deal since they traded their star goalie to Minnesota a few seasons ago.
Perlini is very unique among rookies being that he was born in England. He identifies as British Canadian since he moved to Canada at age 11, but he is doing great things for all the British hockey players in the future.
The Coyotes defenseman went on a two game goal streak against Winnipeg and Minnesota. Chychrun does not mess around with his goals since his three have been scored on Carey Price, Ondrej Pavelec, and Devan Dubnyk. Not bad at all for your first season.
Chychrun also had two hits vs. Winnipeg and one hit vs. Minnesota, because he plays defense too.
Update on Patrik Laine:
Jets fans rejoice! Laine was cleared for full contact practice today and could possibly play on Tuesday's game vs. San Jose. We probably will get to see him in the All Star Game one week from today. Yay!
All About The All Star Classic:
Reminder: The AHL All-Star Classic is next Sunday and Monday (29-30) in Allentown, PA.
In recent news, forward Alexandre Grenier (Utica Comets) was added to the North Division; goaltender Anton Forsberg (Cleveland Monsters) was added to the Central Division roster; forward Christian Fischer (Tucson Roadrunners) was added to the Pacific Division team and defenseman Vojtech Mozik (Albany Devils) will replace Mark Barberio (St. John's) on the North Division team.
Following their success in the NHL, Kasperi Kapanen, Juuse Saros (recognize that name?!), and Brendan Perlini will not play in the game and are replaced by those mentioned above.
The All-Star Classic has 38 first-time participants, 13 AHL rookies and 11 former first- and second-round NHL draft choices. Also, 27 of this year’s All-Stars were called up to the NHL (all info from theahl.com).
Fan of the Week
Ever wanted to become a penalty box attendant? Well, that wish came true for one San Diego Gulls fan! A season ticket holder named Adam Jones, who works another part time job as the outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, decided that he wanted to become even closer to his beloved team.
Jones worked yesterday's game vs. the San Jose Barracuda and had his hands full with 16 total penalties from both teams, including an 11 penalty third period. If you ever see a game in San Diego, make sure to look around for Jones in the stands and say hi!
Check out which games to watch this week!
Excited to feature not one, but TWO rookie goalies this week! Also happy to see defensemen and lesser known forwards collecting points this week!
In Thursday's win over Boston, Nashville's star that night in goal was Saros with 35 saves in 36 shots. Saros' Goals Against Average is now 1.25, best in the NHL, and he collected his fourth win that night vs. Boston, which is the same amount as our next rookie goalie...
Coreau stopped 28 shots in Detroit's big win over Pittsburgh last night. Coreau only has one loss in regulation and a save percentage of .903%. Coreau played his first NHL game against Pittsburgh and gave up 4 goals in that loss. Guess he learned how to finally stop them last night...
Werenski collected his 20th assist this season in Columbus' 3-1 win over Tampa. Werenski's 20 assists ranks him third in the team (tied with Cam Atkinson, good company to be around). Columbus leads the Metropolitan with 62 points are a nice surprise this year.
The Leafs only had 2 games this week but Nylander managed to get a point in both games. His goal in Friday's game vs. New York was his 9th of the season and opened up the scoring in Toronto's 4-2 win. Nylander's other point this week was his 19th assist vs. Ottawa last night. Another achievement? Nylander made it on here while fellow teammate and Rookie Report favorite Auston Matthews did not (he will be back though).
Update: Congratulations to Rookie Brock McGinn on being named NHL's third star of the week!!!
McGinn collected 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in Carolina's three home wins.
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!