Alex Ovechkin won’t be in action during Tuesday’s Florida Panthers – Washington Capitals game, but the reigning player of the month will suit up.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (pictured) took home January’s honors, and he hopes to follow up his All-Star appearance with another strong night tonight.
You can watch the Eastern Conference’s two division leaders go toe to toe on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.
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If that wasn’t enough, tune in for an interview with All-Star MVP John Scott.
The NHL rolled out another stars list on Monday, this time naming the top three for the month of January.
First star: Evgeny Kuznetsov
The league summarizes a blistering month for the Washington Capitals’ other unstoppable Russian forward.
Kuznetsov helped solidify his all-star credentials with four goals and 12 assists in 10 games during January, becoming the Capitals’ leading scorer for the season with 49 points (15 goals). He went on a scoring binge in five games prior to the break, scoring two goals and 11 points. It started with a three-point game (two goals, one assist) against the Vancouver Canucks in a 4-1 win on Jan. 14 and also featured seven assists over the course of two games, a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Jan. 17 (three assists) and a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 19 (four assists).
Second star: Corey Crawford
He didn’t make the All-Star Game, but many noted that he probably should have.
This past month was a testament to how he’s developed into an increasingly important piece for Chicago: he went 9-2-0 with a fantastic .952 save percentage to help the Blackhawks pass the Dallas Stars and become the West’s (and Central Division’s) top team.
Third star: Kris Letang
The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman showed how explosive he can be when he’s reasonably healthy, generating Erik Karlsson-type numbers: three goals and 11 assists for 14 points in 10 games.
As much as the Penguins’ turnaround has been about Mike Sullivan taking over and Sidney Crosby returning to form, it’s probably no accident that they’re thriving with No. 58 back in the lineup.
More monthly/weekly awards announced on Monday
John Scott’s ride continues with first star of the week honor
Louis Domingue named the rookie of the month
Jaromir Jagr may have preferred to stay home heading into the 2016 All-Star Game, but it sure looked like he had a good time.
Indeed, instead of seeing the active legend huffing and puffing through that high-speed brand of 3-on-3 hockey, the most common image was Jagr with a huge smile on his face.
It happened most memorably when P.K. Subban presented his mulleted ode to No. 68, but really, he was grinning from ear-to-ear seemingly all weekend long.
He confirmed his good time – yet also his previous stance – to NHL.com following the tournament.
“I said before that I’d like to stay home and practice, get ready for the last 30 games,” Jagr said. “But it was fun, no question about it.”
He was happy with the 3-on-3 action, too, noting that “everyone wanted to win it.”
Jagr also seemed to defy the aging process (for the most part), including scoring a pretty goal:
Heck, Roberto Luongo provided a nice barb to NHL.com, noting that “I even think I saw him backcheck once today, which he doesn’t even do in Florida.”
As much as this ended up being John Scott’s weekend, it was clear that Jagr was treated like royalty by his fellow All-Stars. It was also clear that he loved the attention, even if he might be a little tired today.
The Detroit Red Wings announced some dismal injury news on Monday, although there’s at least a glimmer of hope buried in it.
The undeniably bad: Niklas Kronwall‘s knee issues are at least bad enough to land him on LTIR.
The hope: Head coach Jeff Blashill places Kronwall’s target for return as a Feb. 14 game against the Boston Bruins.
This is a small comfort, but perhaps Kronwall being on LTIR may provide temporary cap relief for Detroit? His cap hit is a bargain at $4.75 million, yet things are pretty tight for the Red Wings right now.
Also: Riley Sheahan is dealing with an illness that may keep him from practicing tomorrow:
Credit the 3-on-3 tournament, John Scott or any number of factors, but either way, the 2016 NHL All-Star Game generated impressive ratings for NBCSN.
NBC Sports PR shared the word on Monday, including the following:
Overall, it was a smash success for the NHL and Nashville. Would you like to see this format return for next time?