NHL Week in Review (January 21-27)

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It is that time of the year again in the NHL as the teams take a break for the weekend and the best payers in the league descend on one city.

The All-Star break is here and it will bring up the debate that is brought up at this tie every year in all sports.

This same weekend the Pro Bowl will take place highlighting the best of the NFL while the NBA All-Star game is only a few weeks away.

It is a time for a break in the season for all of these leagues and a chance to see the best players in the leagues to showcase the sport.

That is essentially what the All-Star game is all about as the league shows hosts games as another event to sell the game.

It is the best chance for them to display what the league has to offer with the best players in the league all gathering in one place.

It is a time for these players to have fun in interviews and show their personality while also displaying their skills on the ice.

With all of that the league can show what it has to offer and help to grow the sport into a more widespread love.

That hasn’t necessarily been the case though as the All-Star game in any league has become one of the worst games on the calendar.

Instead of truly showcasing the talent in the league the game tends to be boring as there is nothing to play for and very little defence to make it a good game.

The NHL has been one league that has tried to do everything they could to increase interest in the game and the weekend.

The traditional format was outdated and wasn’t providing a lot of people with any type of interest.

So the NHL was the first to look into making this about more than just conferences and instead making it more of a fantasy game.

They gave the players an opportunity to draft their own teams out of the group of players who were voted to be all-stars.

That draft peaked some interest in the game but eventually, it got old again and the league changed the format again.

When they re-arranged the conferences and moved teams into four different divisions they decided to change the all-star format along with the new divisions.

This time they would change the game to become a tournament where they could highlight the skill of the game by playing three-on-three.

Each division would have fans vote for the best players, the captains would be the four players with the top votes, and create teams with three-on-three combinations.

Each division would play each other in a semi-final game and then later the two winning teams would play in the finals.hockey-sidebar

The winning team would split a $1-million prize in an attempt to give some extra motivation for the athletes.

It was an interesting attempt by the league to inject some more interest into the weekend providing fans with something they don’t see.

It has been good so far but it still hasn’t solved the problem of the all-star weekend as the love for the weekend is still not the best.

They are one of the few leagues that has found some success in the weekend mainly with their skills competition.

It has been so successful that it has somewhat taken over the actual tournament as the best part of the weekend.

Although the NBA has the dunk competition and the MLB has the home run derby both are just single events that make a lot of noise.

The NHL Skills competition has a number of big events that people want to see as they want to know who is the fastest skater, who has the hardest shot and who is the most accurate.

Taking that type of excitement to the game or the tournament has always been the challenge and although the tournament format is better it has yet to really make more people excited.

The NHL is in the midst of their latest All-Star weekend in Tampa Bay and much like every other league they still don’t have the answers.

They may be doing well with certain parts of the weekend but the fact is the interest in the All-Star game has never really increased.

They will continue to ride this current iteration of the weekend and hope that it helps to grow the interest in the game far more than just in the city it is being held.

 

Overtime

Marchand’s Latest

Brad Marchand made his way through the NHL as one of the biggest pests in the league, consistently bothering his opponents. He had evolved in the last few years though as he still had that tendency to bother opponents but he began to become a leading scoring. Last year his season saw a small campaign for winning the Hart Trophy. He seems to be back to his old ways this year as Marchand received a five-game suspension for an elbow thrown in front of the net, that some believe was an accident but his reputation as a pest has many doubting that excuse.

Thornton Out

Joe Thornton is considered one of the best leaders in the game and his ability to lead has helped the Sharks for years. They will have to do without their veteran though as an MCL injury is likely to keep him out of the lineup for a number of weeks. These type of injuries are tough to overcome and his age is surely not going to make things better. For now, the Sharks will have to move on without one of their top players as they continue to compete heading into the last half of the season in a very competitive Pacific division.

Draft Preparation

As the second half of the season gets underway teams begin to prepare for what the rest of their season might look like. That includes the NHL draft as teams are looking harder than ever at the guys they might be able to get to help turn their team around a year from now. With that in mind, many of the top media outlets are beginning to release their rankings for the top players in the draft. One thing seems sure this year as Rasmus Dahlin looks like the consensus #1 pick in the draft bringing another Swedish defenceman to the forefront.

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