The officially unofficial midpoint of the NHL season is quickly approaching, and while it's hard to believe the All-Star Game is already here, preparations in Ottawa are all but complete. The festivities for the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend officially begin on Thursday. Here's a full schedule, all times Eastern.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26
2:30 to 3 p.m.: NHL Trophy Procession, Rideau Canal
This event is actually in jeopardy, as officials have temporarily closed the Rideau Canal Skateway due to poor ice conditions. It's been warm and rainy in Ottawa, and that's not good for ice. You can't skate on water, so the NHL's plans to show off the Stanley Cup and many of its friends in a parade down the canal is up in the air at this point. If it does happen, it'll be done on the Skateway between Waverly Street and the Ottawa Convention Center.
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, Theatre du Casino du Lac-Leamy
It's not really a "fantasy" draft, since the players are real and the teams will actually play a game and everything, but the NHL's second-annual All-Star player draft will take place on Thursday night. It's at a casino, so maybe all the players will be drunk again. You can find it on NBC Sports Network, TSN and RDS.
The NHL Fan Fair at the Ottawa Convention Center will open at 3 p.m. and close at 10 p.m.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27
7 p.m.: Night Skate, Rideau Canal
Also in jeopardy due to the weather conditions, there's a battery company sponsoring a Night Skate on the Canal. You have to register to participate, and it's $20 for adults, but all proceeds go to the Sens Foundation.
8 p.m.: NHL All-Star Concert
The world's only satellite radio company is sponsoring a concert. Canadian bands will perform Canadian music and it'll be on satellite radio, if you have it. Otherwise, you're out of luck.
The NHL Fan Fair will open at 10 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28
7 p.m. to 9 p.m: NHL All-Star Skills Competition, Scotiabank Place
The 2012 All-Star Skills Competition will see Team Chara battle Team Alfredsson in what's probably the better of the two on-ice events at All-Star Weekend. We can agree on that, right? You can watch on NBC Sports Network, CBC and RDS.
The NHL Fan Fair will open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
4 p.m.: NHL All-Star Game, Scotiabank Place
It all concludes with the game on Sunday night, supposedly the climax of All-Star Weekend, but in reality, sort of an afterthought. Still, the game can be seen on NBC Sports Network, CBC and RDS, and at the very least, it's better than the NFL's Pro Bowl.