NHL All-Star Game Snubs and Reactions

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NHL All-Star Game Snubs and Reactions

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NHL All-Star Game Snubs and Reactions

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This weekend, the NHL’s best have descended upon Sunrise, F.L. for the All-Star weekend. But who should be there and who was snubbed? What were our reactions from the events that took place during the Skills Competition?

Snubs

Nels Williams – 

METROPOLITAN: Martin Necas

How do you not have the points leader for a team be the all-star? Necas is having a breakout year and has already had more points this year with 47 than his previous highest mark of 41 in the 2020-21 season. While Sebastian Aho is the more popular Hurricanes player and is more well-known, this spot should’ve gone to Necas.

ATLANTIC: Tim Stutzle

While my pick was initially Cole Caufield, Caufield suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and would not have been able to participate anyways. Stutzle, however, is having a career year and is set to pass his point total of 58 he set last year. So far, the German-born winger has 49 points in 46 games played, and is second behind Brady Tkachuk in leading the Senators in points.

CENTRAL: Kyle Connor

Out of all of the snubs, this is the biggest. Connor sits behind Mark Schefiele in goals for the Jets (31 to 24) but leads Winnipeg with 59. The 26-year-old left winger is on pace to match his point record of 93 points he set last season, and is budding into a player that the Jets will build their team around as he’s locked up with Winnipeg through the 2026 season. 

PACIFIC: Jared McCann

Similar to Necas, McCann is having a career season. He’s on pace for at least 40 goals this season, and break his career-high mark of 27 goals set last season shortly after the all-star break. While Matty Beniers was the right choice since the rookie is having a remarkable season, instead of Chandler Stephenson replacing him, it should’ve been McCann.

 

Dan Ivan – 

METROPOLITAN: Vitek Vaneček

The Metro is always stacked when it comes to talent, and it’s not a question that everyone selected earned their spot. For my snub, I chose a guy who has become an absolute difference maker for their team in between the pipes but was overlooked by the other stellar goalies. Vaneček has arguably made one of the biggest impacts on any team after coming from Washington D.C.  to New Jersey this off-season. His 21-5-2 record matches with his 2.29 GAA and .917 SV% put him in the upper echelon of goaltenders this season. 

ATLANTIC: Steven Stamkos

Stamkos to me was an obvious snub. He reached an amazing milestone this season scoring 500+ career goals and keeps on going. Stamkos is only one of three players active in the NHL to reach this milestone (Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the others). This would have been his 8th All-Star selection especially with how great of a season he’s had being healthy and the second leading scorer for the Lightning behind Nikita Kucherov. 

CENTRAL: Kyle Connor

The Jets made the right choice sending Josh Morrissey to the All-Star game with all the scoring feats he’s achieved. Especially as a defenseman. But his teammate, Kyle Connor, had an equally respectable bid at the All-Star game. He’s the leading scorer on a resurgent Jets team, which has only benefited with how amazing Connor’s offensive play has been. The Jets as a whole are having a scoring renaissance, but without Kyle Connor, that may not be the case.

PACIFIC: Timo Meier

It’s difficult to find many snubs from the weakest division. So I went with a curveball here and picked Timo Meier. Sure you could’ve gone with Trevor Zegras to pair with Troy Terry, but the Ducks aren’t that good. There should have been another Kraken player to replace Matty Beniers instead of Chandler Stephenson from Vegas, maybe someone like Andre Burakovsky? But Timo Meier felt right here. Meier and teammate Erik Karlsson have been the only two bright spots for the Sharks. Meier is among the league’s best goal scorers this season with 28 goals and deserves to be recognized for his abilities and play this year.

 

Reactions

In the warm and beautiful climate of sunny Florida, the players seemed to have a great time stepping away from a hotly contested season. As we are now at the unofficial hallway point of the season, it’s nice to have a more casual experience for both the fans and players to recognize who’s been atop the game this season. 

And although it’s always special when the NHL brings all the best to one city for a weekend for some fun, it’s not without its criticisms. The most obvious being that this year’s skills competitions dragged on endlessly. It’s understood by all that one of the main points of the event is that it’s a selling point for the league. From the cool jerseys to the ads throughout the game to the sponsored events, it’s all about the money. And that was made super apparent with how long everything stemmed. The whole experience went on for about three hours, but without three hours worth of events and content to present. Tons of commercials built the fluff that was the air time for the game. And the NHL had nothing to show for it. 

The events always have their wow factors with a couple of key moments, but this year it all felt a bit dull. The fastest skater contest and hardest shot are staples of the All-Star game and remain timeless pleasures to watch. But for everything else, boy does there need to be a re-work. Sure, they got to try new things like the water dunk contest and the golf based event with it being in Florida, but they didn’t really give the fans much. There are a ton of things I would enjoy seeing to make the whole experience a bit more enjoyable for both sides. So here’s a list of some suggestions.

  • A Mascot and a Rookie Game
  • Mascots always bring the fun to the kids and the NBA always does it right with their Rising Stars game. Puts the league’s brightest talent on a bigger stage and shows everyone who’s up next. 
  • Bring back the Goalie Save Streak 
  • Nothing was cooler than seeing the goalies all duke it out to see how they can produce the longest save streak. It gets every player involved and makes for a more competitive event on the day of the Skills Challenge. Plus the goalies and players can make it creative with trick shots and crazy saves. 
  • Tweak the Breakaway Challenge
  • It’s either all or nothing. You either make based on bringing out cool trick shots like everyone practices or sees on the internet, or, you still have the fun and quirky bits but in a more condensed format. Just make it fun for everyone. 
  • Have less downtime between events
  • Of course the NHL has to make their money with the broadcasting of the event and generating ad revenue. But it doesn’t need to be so drawn out. Make the events a bit shorter or just decrease the downtime between events. It doesn’t have to be so convoluted just for the guys on the ice to have a breather and some fun in this 82 game season they participate in.

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