Skills Competition • Saturday, Jan. 28, 7:00 pm ET
All-Star Game • Sunday, Jan. 29, 3:30 pm ET
Atlantic vs. Metro
Central vs. Pacific
TBD vs. TBD
Watch on NBC (US) • CBC/Sportsnet (Canada)
These 4 All-Stars are changing the game forever
Why do All-Star Games matter?
That question comes up a lot these days. When we mourned the death of the Breakaway Challenge recently, a vocal minority of fans told us the NHL should get rid of the All-Star Game all together. “What’s the point,” they seemed to be asking.
The point is, as ever, appreciation. Not just for the stars you already know, like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but for the wonderfully unique players from teams you rarely get to watch, enjoying terrific seasons you’ve only heard whispers about.
And it’s just a fun weekend to celebrate where the NHL is heading. Glance around each of the four rosters and you’ll find world-class players with a blend of skills and hockey IQ that point to the bright future laid out for hockey as a whole.
Because today’s NHL isn’t about one-dimensional players who know their role and stick to it rigidly. The best players in the league are the best because they show up to the table with Batman’s tool belt of talents and abilities and put them to use better than anyone who’s played the game before them.
So why have an All-Star Game if not to drag those hockey-humbled personalities directly into the spotlight? And that’s the other great thing about many of the 2017 All-Stars: they ooze personality.
We’re talking P.K. Subban and his remarkable dedication to charity, community and just being himself. We’re talking Brad Marchand and his one-of-a-kind role as a pest everyone can love. We’re talking Alex Ovechkin’s raw emotion feeding his all-time great scoring abilities. We’re talking Brent Burns embracing a laid-back, “just here to have fun and win a lot” playing style.
The NHL is littered with players with skills and personalities that are immediately infectious. And four of them showing up to the All-Star Game deserve a special moment of appreciation for just how they’re leading the charge for a rapidly-evolving sport. These are players entering the prime of their careers, so there’s more than enough time to fall in love with their playing styles if you haven’t already.
And they embody what will make hockey so uniquely different in the coming years: unparalleled speed, incredible vision, subtle yet incredible body language and grit and scoring ability that makes fans and coaches fall head-over-heels for.