NASHVILLE — Brent Burns couldn’t say enough good things about the folks who organized the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend.
“It was great. The city of Nashville did themselves proud,” said the Sharks defenseman with the big beard and all the tattoos. “It was unbelievable. The location. All the events. The NHL did a great job. It’s easy to get to everything. The food’s been great. The people have been awesome.”
He was right on all accounts, of course. It was a fantastic time in Nashville. One of the best All-Star weekends ever.
But Burns, a.k.a. Chewbacca, and his fellow players deserve a lot of the credit, too. After all, they were the ones who showed the fans their personalities on Saturday. And they were the ones who embraced the new 3-on-3 format on Sunday.
And, of course, they were the ones who rallied around John Scott and helped turn what had been an embarrassing story for the NHL into a pretty great one. Instead of spending their time criticizing the league’s handling of the situation, they chose to hype Scott up.
Likewise, Scott deserves credit for choosing the high road. He said his piece in the Players’ Tribune. He let it go after that, taking the commissioner at his word that the league was happy to have him in Nashville.
“In my opinion this is the new NHL,” P.K. Subban, a.k.a. Jaromir Jagr, told reporters. “This is what it’s about. You look at professional sports, the more athletes can engage and interact with the fan base, the more you’re going to get out of it, right? The more you’re going to get out of your league, the more revenues grow, in my opinion. That’s the game now. Fans want to be able to interact with players and get to know them. I think the All-Star Game is a great opportunity to do that, no matter what the format is.”