NHL announces 2019 All-Star Skills participants

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The NHL’s All-Star Skills event takes place on Friday night (coverage begins 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN) and we now know who exactly will be taking place in what events.

Below is the official lineup from the NHL for each skills challenge.

It was announced earlier on Friday Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby will not participate in the event due to illness but is still expected to play in the game on Saturday night.

On to the events…

FASTEST SKATER

Key rules: Each skater will do one full lap around the rink in the direction of their choice, and can position themselves as far as three-feet behind the starting line. The clock will begin when the skater crosses the start line.

Key note: Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche was supposed to participate in this event but is being replaced by Kendall Coyne of the U.S. Women’s National team.

1. Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets
2. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders
3. Kendall Coyne, U.S. Women’s National Team
4. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
5. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
6. Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes
7. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
8. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

PUCK CONTROL

Key rules: A timed single-round event that will highlight three skills: Puckhandling, cone control where they must skate through eight cones in a zig-zag formation, and gates where a skater approaches each gate and is required to shoot or otherwise guide the puck through the lit rung of the gate.

1. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
2. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
4. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche
5. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks
6. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets
7. Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres
8. John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 8 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

SAVE STREAK

Key rules: Let’s just let the NHL explain it…

A minimum of four goalies and all 36 skaters will participate in the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak™, a shootout grouped by division where goalies compete to make the most consecutive saves. Each goalie will face one opposing division and a minimum of nine scoring attempts. Each scoring attempt is officiated in accordance with NHL shootout rules and begins on the referee’s whistle. Players from each division will shoot in numerical order, lowest to highest, with the divisional captain shooting ninth. A goalie’s round at the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak™ cannot end with a save – if the divisional captain’s shot is saved, the goalie will continue to face shooters until a goal is scored. If the goalie makes a save on the divisional captain’s shot, the order of shooters to follow is the same as the original order. The goalie with the longest consecutive save streak during his time in net is the winner of the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak ™

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

PREMIER PASSER

Key rules: Players will have to do three passes, including a breakout pass, a pass into the mini-nets, and a target pass where they must complete passes to targets that will light up every three seconds. The player that completes the three skills in the fastest time is the winner.

1. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes
2. Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators
3. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
4. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
5. Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks
6. Ryan O'Reilly, St. Louis Blues
7. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche
8. Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers

HARDEST SHOT

Key rules: Shoot the puck as hard as you can.

1. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
2. John Carlson, Washington Capitals
3. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

ACCURACY SHOOTING

Key rules: Let’s again go right to the NHL…

Eight players will compete in the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting™, a timed event where a shooter is positioned 25 feet from the goal line and shoots pucks at five LED targets located in the net. On the referee’s whistle, one of the five LED targets will randomly light up for three seconds and the player will attempt to hit the lit target. Hit targets will be taken out of the random sequencing and if the target is not hit within three seconds, the next target will light up. The clock stops when the player has successfully hit all five targets, the player that hits all five targets in the fastest time will be crowned the winner of the Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting™. If there is a tie for the fastest time, the tied players will compete again to determine the winner

1. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
5. Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils
6. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
7. Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
8. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

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Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports
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LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced Wednesday.

The Knights termed the procedure Tuesday as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested early Wednesday morning in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released later Wednesday on $500 bond.

The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.

Stars aligned with new coach DeBoer, Nill-constructed roster

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DALLAS — General manager Jim Nill sensed things were coming together for the Dallas Stars even before the season started with new coach Pete DeBoer and a roster mixed with proven veterans, up-and-coming young players, and even a teenaged center.

At the NHL’s All-Star break, after 51 games together, these Stars are leading the Western Conference.

“Every year you start, you put a team together, and there’s always going to be question marks,” said Nill, in his 10th season as the Stars GM. “You have ideas how you think you’re going to come together, but there’s always the unknown. . This year has been one of those years where right from the start, you could just see everything was kind of jelling.”

The Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) have their trio of 2017 draft picks that just keep getting better: All-Star winger Jason Robertson, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The seemingly ageless Joe Pavelski, at 38 and already re-signed for next season, is on the high-scoring top line with Robertson and point-a-game winger Roope Hintz. Wyatt Johnston, their first-round pick in 2021 and half Pavelski’s age, has 13 goals.

There is also the resurgence of six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin two years after hip surgery and 33-year-old captain Jamie Benn, who already has more goals (19) than he did playing all 82 games last season.

The Stars have a plus-40 goal differential, which is second-best in the NHL. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game, more than a half-goal better than last season when they were the only team to make the playoffs after being outscored in the regular season. They are also allowing fewer goals, and have improved on power plays and penalty kills.

“Where we sit at this break, I think guys are happy with that,” Seguin said, before being asked the keys to the Stars leading the West and on pace for a 100-point season with their new coach.

“Our style, our team speed, our puck speed, being predictable. All the clichés, knowing where the puck’s going. Really how we play the five-man unit,” he said. “Our pace this year, it’s been a lot quicker. There’s been some solid depth scoring this year while we’ve got one of the best lines in hockey.”

The Stars went into the break on their only three-game losing streak of the season, all 3-2 overtime losses at home.

“Those aren’t real losses,” said DeBoer, who twice has gone to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with a new team. “I’m happy where we’re at. I like how we’re playing.”

Plus, Dallas won’t have to worry in the playoffs about 3-on-3 hockey, which has been the only real stain on their season so far. Only one team has more than its 10 losses after regulation.

“We’ve played a lot of good hockey. We’ve made a lot of good strides in our game,” DeBoer said. “We still have another level we have to get to when we get back, but there are a lot of good things that have happened. They’ve worked to have us where we are right now in the standings. Good spot to be in.”

The Stars have 31 games left in the regular season. The first four after the break at home, like the last four before their week-long hiatus.

Robertson’s 33 goals rank sixth in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has the same number of assists while averaging 1.29 points a game even after he missed most of training camp before signing a four-year, $31 million contract. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) while playing every game, and Hintz 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in only 43 games.

Oettinger, who is 21-7 in regulation, has a .923 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average since signing his three-year, $12 million contract. That deal came after 223 saves in a seven-game playoff series against Calgary last May, capped by 64 in the series finale that went to overtime.

Nill said Robertson’s production has improved even with the league adjusting to the high-scoring forward, and that Oettinger is proving to be one of the league’s best goalies. But they are just part of what has been a tremendous team effort.

“They kind of had that mojo right from the start, and it was kind of this team’s got the right mix,” Nill said. “It’s come together well, and it’s shown in the standings. It’s been good to watch.”

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.