Anze Kopitar

All-Star captains Foligno and Toews announce player assignments for skills competition


Team Foligno and Team Toews announced the All-Star and rookie assignments for tonight’s All-Star Skills competition, which you can watch live at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN or online at

Maple Leafs’ forward Phil Kessel, who was traded from Team Toews to Team Foligno Friday night highlights the list of players participating in the fastest skater competition. Jonathan Drouin of the Lightning, Habs’ Jiri Sekac and Buffalo’s Zemgus Girigensons will also skate for Team Foligno. They’ll compete against Tyler Seguin, who was involved in the Kessel trade, Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators, Panthers’ rookie Aaron Ekblad and Blues’ sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.

Team Foligno will set Alex Ovechkin, Claude Giroux, Ryan Johansen free in the breakaway challenge, they’ll face Team Toews’ Corey Crawford. For Team Toews’ Tarasenko, Jakub Voracek and Johnny Gaudreau will be tasked with beating Brian Elliott.

Bobby Ryan, Nick Foligno, Radim Vrbata and Patrick Kane will receive passes from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Anze Kopitar for Team Foligno in the accuracy shooting competition. Rick Nash and Patrik Elias will feed shooters Ryan Getzlaf, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares and Jonathan Toews for Team Toews.

Ryan Johansen and Kane highlight Team Foligno participants for the challenge relay while Team Toews replied with Gaudreau and Bergeron.

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be part of a group of four shooters for Team Foligno in the hardest shot competition. They’ll be challenged by the likes of Brent Seabrook and Shea Weber from Team Toews.

The shootout competition will feature the likes of Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos from Team Foligno go up against Tarasenko and Tavares from Team Toews.

Individual winners will be crowned from each of the six events and points in the overall team vs. team competition will also be awarded from each challenge.

NHL All-Star Game rosters set after fantasy draft


The rosters for the 2015 NHL All-Star game have been decided. Drink it all in, hockey fans.

We saw it all tonight, didn’t we?

Phil Kessel wasn’t taken last, selected second overall by Team Toews, and then traded to Team Foligno for Tyler Seguin. Alex Ovechkin so desired a new car and didn’t get one.

Here are the rosters for both All-Star teams.


Forwards: Nick Foligno, Patrick Kane, Ryan Johansen, Anze Kopitar, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Bobby Ryan, Radim Vrbata, Zemgus Girgensons, Alex Ovechkin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Defensemen: Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns, Kevin Shattenkirk, Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Goalies: Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brian Elliott.


Forwards: Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Jakub Voracek, John Tavares, Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrice Bergeron, Patrik Elias, Tyler Johnson, Filip Forsberg.

Defensemen: Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Aaron Ekblad, Ryan Suter, Mark Giordano, Justin Faulk.

Goalies: Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Jaroslav Halak.

Girgensons, Vrbata favored to go last at fantasy draft, says oddsmaker


For the record, Friday is Media Day for the 2015 All-Star weekend, not Pick on Zemgus Girgensons Day.

Brovada released some 2015 All-Star odds today, covering obvious questions such as who will be selected first and last during the fantasy draft (as well as more esoteric ones, like Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price being on the same team).

Let’s start with who might be selected last:

Who will be picked last in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Any Other Player                       3/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         4/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  4/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        5/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     6/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    6/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      9/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           15/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     15/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    20/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             30/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  30/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   50/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                100/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 100/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                100/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      100/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    100/1

(Don’t sleep on the “one of the captains outright trolling a friend and/or teammate,” by the way.)

On the flip side, who might get selected first?

Who will be picked first in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                2/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 2/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                4/1
Duncan Keith (CHI)                    10/1
Corey Crawford (CHI)                 10/1
Shea Weber (NAS)                    12/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      30/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      30/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI)                 40/1
Carey Price (MON)                     40/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   40/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             40/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    40/1
Any Other Player                       40/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         50/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  50/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           50/1
Jaroslav Halak (NYI)                  80/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     80/1
Ryan Suter (MIN)                       80/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    80/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     80/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)             80/1
Roberto Luongo (FLA)               80/1
Mark Giordano (CAL)                 80/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                        100/1
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)             100/1
Erik Johnson (COL)                   100/1
Justin Faulk (CAR)                     100/1
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)              100/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        100/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  100/1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHO)      100/1

Despite being one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL, Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he wouldn’t be shocked if he went last:

As far as who will win, Team Toews is at even odds while Team Foligno’s -140 (5/7). Finally, some of the odder bits:

Will Carey Price (MON) and Jaroslav Halak (NYI) be on the same All Star Team?        
Yes                  EVEN   (1/1)
No                    -140      (5/7)
Will Ryan Johansen (CLB) and Nick Foligno (CLB) be on the same All Star Team?     
Yes                  – 200     (1/2)
No                    +150     (3/2)
Will Jonathan Toews (CHI), Corey Crawford (CHI), Duncan Keith (CHI) and Brent Seabrook (CHI) and be on the same All Star Team?   
Yes                  +550     (11/2)
No                    -900     (1/9)

Is anyone else a little disappointed that “uncomfortable Phil Kessel facial expressions” wasn’t a category? (Taking over-four.)

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks face Kings in California clash

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with Wednesday’s second game as the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings at the SAP Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Beating the Los Angeles Kings handily to open the 2014-15 season obviously didn’t erase all the pain from that infamous “reverse sweep” in the 2014 playoffs, but the San Jose Sharks still got a measure of revenge with that 4-0 win.

The Sharks will get another chance to spite the Kings tonight, as things haven’t been going smoothly for the defending champions lately. The aim is obvious enough for a Kings team that is currently on the outside of the playoff picture, as notes.

“We need to be in that playoff spot before the break. No doubt about it,” Drew Doughty said . “We need to win this game. It’s a division game and it’s a big rivalry. We need to win it, and we need to go into the break feeling good about ourselves.”

Really, you can trace the bad times back to a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 6. Including that defeat, the Kings have gone 6-7-7 in their past 20 games. More recently, Los Angeles has dropped three straight games and six of seven, squandering precious points from an expired seven-game homestand.

(While four of those defeats netted standings points, there was also the frustration of leaving points on the table.)

Much of those struggles stem from Jonathan Quick’s prolonged slump.

After starting brilliantly (.942 save percentage in October), Quick’s individual stats have dropped significantly each month; his January save percentage has been a putrid .861.

That’s not to say that the Kings are the only team that sees room for improvement, of course.

You know things aren’t going great for a team when its head coach questions their drive, as Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan did on Tuesday.

After beating Toronto to begin this seven-game homestand, the Sharks have dropped two straight games. They would greatly benefit from exploiting this opportunity to load up on standings points.

As much as these two perennial contending California teams have been struggling lately, there’s still plenty of talent on hand. From Joe Thornton to Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, the Sharks remain loaded with scoring skill. Los Angeles can go toe-to-toe in that area with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter as well while also boasting elite defenseman Drew Doughty.

Sharks – Kings games are always an entertaining watch, but things get that much more interesting when there’s something on the line. That’s the case tonight, January game or not.

Kings’ Jones silences Leafs for third shutout in eight starts


Kings goaltender Martin Jones doesn’t get many opportunities to fill in for Jonathan Quick, but when Jones does he’s often risen to the occasion, as was the case in Los Angeles’ 2-0 victory over Toronto Monday night.

It was Jones’ third shutout in just eight starts this season, although he got plenty of help from his defense tonight as the Maple Leafs were limited to 19 shots on goal. Jones now has a 2.07 GAA and .916 save percentage in 2014-15.

Anze Kopitar opened the scoring just 37 seconds into the game, but play continued because it was initially thought that the puck didn’t get past the line. Once there was a chance for the play to be reviewed, Kopitar was awarded his 10th marker of the season:

That was all the offense that this night provided, with the exception of Marian Gaborik’s empty net goal with a minute left in regulation time.

Although this wasn’t a bad game for the Maple Leafs, it nevertheless contributes to their recent descent. Toronto has won just three of its last 12 games. Over that span head coach Randy Carlyle has been fired and replaced by Peter Horachek, who is now 1-2-0.

For the Kings, this was a key win, both because it ended their three-game slump and given that the Cup champions are getting by without forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.