of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on February 27, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
We wrote yesterday about the NHL’s plans to replace the “Breakaway Challenge” at the All-Star Skills Competition with something called the “Four Line Challenge.”
Today, the league explained how the new event will work:
This event involves four shooters from each team. Each shooter will shoot from one of four shooting positions; near blue line, center line, far blue line and far goal line.
The first shooter from each team takes two shots from the near blue line in an attempt to score goals in either the upper left or upper right corner of the net. Successful shots score one point for their team.
The second shooter from each team takes two shots from center ice in an attempt to score goals in one of the four corners of the net. Successful shots in the lower corners score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score three points for their team.
The third shooter from each team takes two shots from the far blue line in an attempt to score a goal in one of the four corners of the net or the five hole. Successful shots in the lower corners or five hole score one point and successful shots in the upper corners score five points for their team.
The fourth shooter from each team takes two shots from the far goal line in an attempt to score a goal in the five hole. Successful shots score 10 points for their team. Captains can substitute the fourth shooter with a goalie. A successful shot by a goalie is awarded 20 points for their team.
In addition, the first All-Star to score two goals in the five hole from the far goal line will win the new 2017 Honda CRV.
Sounds like fun.
Or at the very least, worth a try.
The skills competition will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Each all-star will compete in at least one of the six contests: the skills challenge relay, the four-line challenge, accuracy shooting, fastest skater, hardest shot, and the shootout.
The Columbus Cottonmouths, a Georgia-based team in the Southern Professional Hockey League, was involved in a rollover crash on Thursday afternoon while traveling to an away game in Peoria.
Per the Peoria Journal-Star, the charter bus carrying the team crashed on Interstate 74 and all 24 passengers — players, coaching and traveling staff — were transported to hospital.
Two had to be extricated from the vehicle and were transported immediately to the hospital, while the others followed later in another bus. Morton Fire Chief Joe Kelley said his firefighters had to cut out holes in the top of the bus to remove the two. The rest were able to get out on their own.
Twenty-three of the bus’s occupants were taken to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Three were considered trauma patients and listed in serious condition, though OSF media relations coordinator Shelli Dankoff described their injuries as non-life threatening. The remaining 20 patients were not seriously injured. Some had already been treated at release shortly after 3 p.m. and were waiting for transport to their hotel.
The Cottonmouths have since followed up with a release, confirming all players have been accounted for and that there are no life-threatening injures to players, staff or personnel.
— Up top, Bob McKenzie discusses Paul Maurice’s status in Winnipeg. Is the Jets’ head coach on the hot seat?
— Did you know that Donald Trump once considered buying the Florida Panthers? He never did buy them, of course, but the Miami Herald’s George Richards recalls the time, “around 2000,” when Trump kicked the tires on the hockey club. The Panthers, oddly enough, are now owned by Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, Vinnie Viola. (Miami Herald)
— From The Journal Star newspaper in Peoria, Illinois: “A charter bus carrying the Columbus Cottonmouths team was in a rollover crash on Interstate 74 on Thursday afternoon as the Southern Professional Hockey League team was on its way into Peoria for a weekend series against the Peoria Rivermen.” Fortunately, there don’t appear to be any serious injuries — just some “bumps and bruises,” according to the team’s co-owner, Bart Rogers. However, two people were reportedly taken to the hospital in an ambulance. (Journal Star)
— The Washington Post spoke to Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer about the new streamlined pants that all NHL goalies must start wearing by Feb. 4. While Holtby isn’t too concerned about the changes, Grubauer had this to say: “I understand you want to get the game more exciting for the fans, but there’s a fine line between making the gear smaller and also keeping the goalies protected. If too many guys get hurt with those, it’s not a good thing. … What do you want to take away next? Goalies without sticks? Without skates?” PHT prediction: They’ll let goalies keep their skates on. (Washington Post)
— An encouraging update from Bryan Bickell, who was diagnosed with MS in November. The Hurricanes forward has been taking a drug called Tysabri, and the results have been good. “I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve been on the ice a couple times. … Different people react differently to different drugs and I’ve been reacting good and we’ll see how it goes.” (NHL.com)
— The Nashville Predators picked up “another teammate” on Friday, but they’re still not sure if “Mario” will last the season as their good-luck charm. (The Tennessean)
Enjoy the games!
Saros, who has been excellent as Rinne’s backup since being recalled from AHL Milwaukee, will get the nod tonight when the Preds take on the Flames in Calgary. The decision comes after Rinne played well in a 1-0 loss in Vancouver on Tuesday, but the veteran Finn was no doubt displeased on the one goal he surrendered.
(FF to 3:36)
Tonight’s start will be Saros’ ninth of the season. He’s gone 4-3-1 with a 1.25 GAA and .957 save percentage in his previous eight — including his last one, when he stopped 35 of 36 shots in a win over Boston — and could make the case for even more starts with another solid effort tonight.
Nashville heads into Calgary just one point back of the Kings for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, and needs all the points it can get.
For the Flames, Chad Johnson starts in goal.
— No rest for Mike Condon, as he’ll make yet another start when the Sens travel to Columbus. He’ll be up against Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 24 saves on 25 shots in a win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday.
— Kari Lehtonen, who made 12 saves in relief of Antti Niemi in Tuesday’s 7-6 win over the Rangers, gets the start for Dallas in Brooklyn. The Isles are going with Thomas Greiss, who posted a 32-save shutout of Boston earlier this week.
— We wrote about Henrik Lundqvist’s struggles earlier, and he’ll look to change his fortunes around in Toronto. The Leafs, as per usual, are going to Frederik Andersen in goal.
— Mike Smith gets a rare night off for the Coyotes, who will give Louis Domingue just his third start of the month. Domingue will go up against Devan Dubnyk, who saw his four-game winning streak snapped with a loss against the Devils on Tuesday.