Kendall Coyne Schofield to serve as NBC Sports analyst on Wednesday Night Hockey

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STAMFORD, Conn. – January 29, 2019 – 2018 Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield will join NBC Sports’ coverage for this week’s Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN (watch live stream here).

Coyne, who currently plays for the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), became the first woman to compete in an NHL All-Star Skills Competition event this past weekend when she participated in the fastest skater event.

Coyne will be featured on NBC Sports’ commentary team throughout the night, joining NHL Live pre-game coverage, providing reaction and analysis during intermissions, and serving as an ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst, and booth analyst.

“Kendall’s a gold-medal winning player who had a spectacular moment at the All-Star Game that had people talking about hockey,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “We saw the enormous reaction the players and fans had when she blazed that amazing speed, and want to celebrate her accomplishment. We think viewers will be very interested to hear her lean in and talk about hockey during a regular-season game.”

Coyne will join the broadcast team of John Forslund (play-by-play), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Emmy Award-winner Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) for the call from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Wednesday night.

Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET on NHL Live, hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and NHL insider Bob McKenzie.

MORE: Coyne Schofield’s NHL All-Star Skills participation makes big statement

Isles’ Mathew Barzal impresses All-Star teammates

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SAN JOSE — Barry Trotz’s message to Mathew Barzal before he left for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game was simple.

“Take note of the top, top players, the absolute top players, how they interact with not only the fans, but other players and how prepared they are,” the New York Islanders head coach said earlier this week.

The 21-year-old Barzal was one of the youngest players to take part in All-Star Weekend and got to live out a dream playing with his idol, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. 

Set up with Crosby and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, the trio helped guide the Metropolitan Division to the All-Star title, first topping the Atlantic Division 7-4 before winning the $1M prize after a 10-5 victory over the Central Division in the final. Barzal played his part scoring twice and assisting on two others. The three of them combined to score eight of their team’s 17 goals.

The extra space provided by the 3-on-3 format allowed Barzal to show off his puck-handling abilities and utilize the speed that helped him finish third in Friday’s Fastest Skater event. Those talents also impressed his All-Star teammates, who see a lot of him on the other side of the ice as division foes.

“The way he holds onto the puck, the way he skates, 3-on-3, I don’t know if there is anyone better when it comes to holding onto it,” said Crosby, who earned MVP honors. “The way that he can just beat you 1-on-1, beat you with his speed, hold onto it. You watch him out there against the best, I don’t see anyone that really beats him in that category.

“Five-on-5, he’s able to do that, so 3-on-3 with all that ice, seeing that firsthand, I’ve seen that a lot and today was another example of that.”

The extra space and having those two dynamic forwards on the ice helped create tough situations for the Atlantic and Central Division teams. Crosby and Letang have played together for 13 seasons in Pittsburgh, so there was already a chemistry built in between the Penguins teammates. Barzal’s skills only strengthened the trio.

“You already have a chemistry going and we added a tremendous player with Mathew, who was just skating everywhere carrying the puck,” said Letang. “I was just staying back making sure there was nothing happening behind us.”

“Sid just kind of said, ‘Just grab it and get us up the ice and we’ll find a spot,’ so, it was kind of cool,” Barzal said. “Those guys would pass me the puck and them working to get open and I was just trying to find them.”

Barzal, last season’s Calder Trophy winner, leads the Islanders in points through 49 games with 14 goals and 31 assists. In his second NHL season he’s helped guide the team to a surprising start — one that sees them atop their division. He’ll now get to remember this weekend and enjoy a few days off as the team begins its bye week before a big matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nassau Coliseum on Friday.

“It’s obviously something I’m not going to forget,” Barzal said. “I’ve got my parents here this week, which is great. It’s just been really fun lately. Our Islander team’s been doing well and to come here and do well and get a chance to play with Sid and Letang and Claude [Giroux] and some new faces, it’s been a blast.”

MORE:
NHL All-Star Skills 2019: Winners, funny moments, Gritty
NHL All-Star Game 2019: Metro wins final, Crosby lands MVP
All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose
Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose

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SAN JOSE — For the second time in his NHL career, Sidney Crosby leaves SAP Center with a big individual award.

Crosby’s four-goal, eight-point night during the 2019 All-Star 3-on-3 tournament helped him earn MVP honors as the Metropolitan Division rolled to the $1M prize. It was three years ago that he won the first of two straight Conn Smythe Trophies after helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup over the San Jose Sharks. Along with the money and the trophy, he also received a 2019 Honda Pilot.

“You play in it, you watch it as a kid growing up, see the presentation, and it’s pretty cool,” the Penguins captain said afterward. “I had a lot of fun today. [I] didn’t need to win the car today to have a good time.”

Crosby is now the sixth player in NHL history to win All-Star Game MVP, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Trophy, joining Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Joe Sakic. He’s also the fourth Penguin to be named All-Star Game MVP, and first since Lemieux in 1990.

[NHL All-Star Game 2019: Metro wins final, Crosby lands MVP]

Being able to take part in the All-Star Game was a relief for Crosby, who missed Friday’s All-Star Skills with an illness, something he’d been battling for a few days during the Penguins’ bye week.

“At the end of my bye week I was feeling sick and didn’t really leave the hotel room for a couple days,” he said. “I was just excited to be able to get out there, get out of the room and exercise a bit. Once I got out there I felt better than I thought. This morning I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but I felt a lot better than I expected. To be honest, it was just nice to get out there. The last few days have been pretty long sitting around.”

Whatever Crosby was battling internally this week didn’t stop him on the ice Saturday night. Playing with Penguins teammate Kris Letang and Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, the trio were electric on the ice. They combined for eight of the Metropolitan Division’s 17 goals.

That on-ice success only added to the power of the SAP Center’s boos coming Crosby’s way, which he was expecting after seeing Letang’s introduction before the All-Star Skills. It probably also reminded the Sharks fans in attendance of the 2016 Final, which ended with Crosby earning the primary assist on what turned out to be the Penguins’ game-winning goal in Game 6.

“Got some great memories here, for sure,” Crosby said.

MORE:
NHL All-Star Skills 2019: Winners, funny moments, Gritty
All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose
Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

NHL All-Star Game 2019: Metro wins final, Crosby lands MVP

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Sidney Crosby and the Metropolitan Division won the final round of the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, beating the Central Division 10-5.

Crosby ended up earning MVP honors one night after (*cough cough*) skipping the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills. Crosby joined Mathew Barzal in generating two goals and three assists for five points against the Central. Overall, Crosby had four goals and four assists for eight points in two 3-on-3 games.

He also busted out some And1 Mixtape-like moves, even when they didn’t directly translate to goals or assists.

The Metro built a commanding 5-0 lead through the first period, as Henrik Lundqvist enjoyed a rare shutout period by making all six stops. Lundqvist also won the save streak relay on Friday, so this had to be a refreshing weekend for the veteran goalie as he looks to close out a tough season with the Rangers.

Crosby and his Metro mates win the $1 million, while Sid gets a Honda minivan as the MVP winner.

While there weren’t many great moments of skin-tight defense, there were plenty of great highlights over Saturday’s three games, including a fantastic goal from Steven Stamkos.

[Recaps of Metro beating Atlantic; Central topping Pacific]

And, of course, it was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Which moments will stick with you the most from this enjoyable weekend of low-pressure, high-skill hockey?

Ultimately, it was all about the fans. Even fans of your rivals.

MORE:
NHL All-Star Skills 2019: Winners, funny moments, Gritty
All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose
Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sharks soak in the love from fans during NHL All-Star Weekend

SAN JOSE — As the rest of the Pacific Division skated off to the locker room following their 10-4 defeat to the Central Division in the first game of the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Joe Pavelski stayed on the ice to say thank you.

The three San Jose Sharks were enjoying their final moments of a memorable few days after their city played host to All-Star Weekend. The sold out SAP Center gave the love right back, as they had all weekend.

Sharks fans made their presence known during Friday’s All-Star Media Day at City National Civic Auditorium. As other NHL All-Stars were being interview at their individual pods in the center of the floor, Let’s Go Sharks! chants were heard. Then, when the three Sharks players were introduced for their turns with the media, the volume inside grew even louder.

“For this weekend to come to San Jose, it’s just a celebration of a lot of great players coming together for the game,” said Pavelski. “It’s fun playing [the All-Star Game] in the city you play for. Every time our names got announced or we stepped on the ice you could hear the little extra roars. That was pretty cool to be a part of.”

There wasn’t much for Sharks fans to cheer about during the game, however. Karlsson did score twice and Burns added another, but the Pacific’s night ended earlier than expected.

“The crowd was awesome,” said Burns. “Good energy.”

“Terrible outcome,” added a laughing Karlsson. “It’s been a while since I scored, so I was happy about that.”

It had been 22 years since San Jose hosted All-Star Weekend, and over that time there’s been a trend upward for the on-the-ice product and what’s happening in the community. The Sharks have only missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times since the 1997 All-Star game took place, which has helped grow the area into a very strong hockey market. 

Pavelski, one of longest-tenured Sharks, has personally seen the impact hockey in the area has made.

“Right when I came in [in 2006] the Shark Tank [has] been loud and awesome to play in and the fans have been great,” he said. “I haven’t seen that change over the course of years. I’ve got a kid playing youth hockey and there’s not that much available ice time for them. They only skate a couple times a week and there’s a lot of kids on the ice, so there’s a good youth movement going on here where kids are just loving to play the game and we could use more ice. They play roller hockey, everything here, so there’s a good passion for the game.”

Karlsson is the new guy to the Bay Area. After spending the first nine years of his NHL career in Ottawa, his trade to the Sharks in September bolstered the franchise’s hopes to win their first Cup, but also left a question about his future unanswered. The 28-year-old defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s currently eligible to sign a seven-year extension with the Sharks, but once the Feb. 25 trade deadline passes he can ink for the max eight years. 

He wasn’t going to discuss his future this weekend, but in the four months he’s been in San Jose, he’s seen what kind of market it’s become and just how strong of an organization that he’s now a part of.

“I always knew the Shark Tank was a building that was tough to play in, it was always full and loud,” he said. “But I was surprised about the Bay Area in general, how many sports fans we have, and Sharks fans. That was something I didn’t know. I think that this weekend just reiterated that, so it’s been a pleasant surprise.”

MORE:
NHL All-Star Skills 2019: Winners, funny moments, Gritty
NHL All-Star Game 2019: Metro wins final, Crosby lands MVP
All-Star MVP adds to Crosby’s ‘great memories’ of San Jose

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.