Let’s face it, the new format for this year’s All-Star Game is fascinating.
Most fans have participated in a fantasy draft of some kind before. Whether it’s in hockey, football, or baseball so we know what it’s like when you’re looking at a pool of endless talent and trying to decide on the best of the best. This time around, Eric Staal and Nick Lidstrom will be the guys looking at doing that for Sunday’s All-Star Game.
With discussion picking up about who wants to take which players, the discussion of how to get one over on each other is picking up as well. The one guy Eric Staal is hoping to land the most is teammate Cam Ward and today he said he’s willing to do what it takes to try and get his teammate goalie on his team.
When told of Nicklas Lidstrom’s possible plan to pick Ward in order to divide the home crowd’s allegiances — something Lidstrom talked about during a conference call Monday — Staal said he might have to “figure something out as far as making a trade.” He told Bill Clement and Don LaGreca on NHL Live! he might have to bribe Lidstrom by offering to buy him dinner.
However, when asked if Ward will be his first pick if he wins the pre-draft coin flip, Staal was wishy-washy.
Hey, he doesn’t want to let the cat out of the bag early.
“There are plenty of other options out there,” Staal said. “You never know.”
Ahh the careful dance of trying to do what’s best for your team and keep your teammates with you. It’s one of the things that NBC play-by-play man Doc Emrick alluded to in his interview with PHT when talking about this year’s game and this is the brand of fun drama that it will provide.
We’re hoping for trades galore at this draft. We want to see players doing their part to negotiate to get friends and teammates on their side for the game. Have Lidstrom and Staal trade off dinner plans for Corey Perry. Think of the fun we can get here. If Team Staal does take Cam Ward first, how soon does Team Lidstrom with Martin St.Louis as his assistant captain then take Steve Stamkos? 0.4 seconds after that? The possibilities are endless and that’s not even taking into account the Sedin twins and whether or not they’ll end up teammates again or opponents for the first time in their pro careers. Like it or not, it’s generating buzz and has us all keeping an eye on things to see if it pays off in the end.
The low penalty minutes and high point totals are in, and thus we have the 2016 NHL Awards’ three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy: Aleksander Barkov, Loui Eriksson and Anze Kopitar.
OK, the actual definition for the award is that it goes “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Same difference, eh?
Barkov really made a breakthrough this season with the Florida Panthers, scoring 59 points versus just eight penalty minutes. He only has 34 PIM in 191 career regular season contests.
You can see Eriksson and Kopitar representing their respective countries in this post’s main image. Eriksson enjoyed his best (and maybe last?) season with the Boston Bruins while Kopitar hopes to win the 2016 Selke as the Los Angeles Kings’ defensively adept – yet apparently courteous – forward.
It’s unclear who wins this “fight,” but one would assume it wouldn’t be a dirty one.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Can Sidney Crosby and the Penguins even things up against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals? Will the Lightning avoid dropping both games at home against the Islanders? We’ll find out on NBC.
NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.
Some reading to get you pumped up:
– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media(reportedly).
– Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.
– T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.
– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).
– Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Patrick Eaves won’t be able to play for the Dallas Stars against the St. Louis Blues in their upcoming Game 2.
The last time we saw Eaves, he was leaving the ice by gliding on one foot after being hit by a teammate’s shot. He needed help to the locker room and was seen on crutches according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.
The bad news is that Eaves cannot go. The good news is that the Stars can replace him with a player who boasts considerable offensive skill, as Valeri Nichushkin will take Eaves’ place.
Nichushkin wasn’t very effective in five postseason games so far, failing to score a point and only managed three shots on goal.
Still, if the frenetic pace of Game 1 carries on through this series, Nichushkin could very well make an impact.
Update: the Stars have other options at forward after making recalls:
Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.
As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.
Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.
For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.
The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”
Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.
The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.
“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.