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NHL All-Star Game (6:00pm MT, SNW)

It’s NHL All-Star weekend and the 3-on-3 three portion of the festivities are coming up tonight, so I figured I’d put together a mini-GDB to talk about the game and give us all a spot to place our bets on how things will shake out.

I don’t know about you guys, but I like the 3-on-3 twist that they put into the All-Star Game a few years ago. The game had gotten so boring over the years that they needed to do something to change things up and I like what they came up with. For my money, having an OT style tournament has been way more entertaining than the pass and coast type of game that the ASG had turned into before the switch. I’m not saying that the guys in the 3-on-3 tournament are going balls out, they’re not, but at least this model has created more of a sense of competition. The only thing that I wish they would bring back is the player draft that happened before the game — that was always good fun. Remember the Kessel draft? Of course you do. It was great. Anyone else agree? Anybody care?

Let’s look at the teams.

Pacific Division

  • F – Connor McDavid, EDM
  • F – Leon Draisaitl, EDM
  • F – Johnny Gaudreau, CGY
  • F – Clayton Keller, ARI
  • F – Joe Pavelski, SJS
  • F – Elias Pettersson, VAN
  • D – Brent Burns, SJS (6th)
  • D – Drew Doughty, LAK
  • D – Erik Karlsson, SJS
  • G – Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK
  • G – John Gibson, ANA

Looking at the Pacific Division roster, I have a hard time believing that they won’t be in the mix for the win today. This team has a lot of firepower and while that is also the case with the other teams, I don’t see the other divisions having the same high-end blend of guys that we see here. Not to mention, McDavid and Draisaitl are magic in the 3-on-3 so I have high expectations for what they’ll be able to do.

Central Division

  • F – Patrick Kane, CHI
  • F – Nathan MacKinnon, COL (won’t play)
  • F – Ryan O’Reilly, STL
  • F – Mikko Rantanen, COL
  • F – Mark Scheifele, WPG
  • F – Blake Wheeler, WPG
  • F – Gabriel Landeskog, COL
  • D – Miro Heiskanen, DAL
  • D – Roman Josi, NSH
  • G – Devan Dubnyk, MIN
  • G – Pekka Rinne, NSH

Alright, so maybe I was a little bit excited when I said that the Pacific was going to run through this tournament because the Central Division is also sporting some major offensive threats. Rantanen, Kane, Scheifele, Wheeler… these guys can all move and they can all score so it will be a good battle to see who comes out of the west. I still like the Pacific, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Atlantic Division

  • F – Jack Eichel, BUF
  • F – Nikita Kucherov, TBL
  • F – Auston Matthews, TOR
  • F – Jeff Skinner, BUF
  • F – David Pastrnak, BOS
  • F – Steven Stamkos, TBL
  • F – John Tavares, TOR
  • D – Thomas Chabot, OTT
  • D – Keith Yandle, FLA
  • G – Jimmy Howard, DET
  • G – Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL

If I’m picking a horse in the east, the Atlantic Division is the one I’d choose. Like the Metro, the Atlantic has plenty of guys that can score but they’ll also a younger group and I think they’ll be able to keep up the pace for longer. Honestly, I’m just guessing here, this tournament is a free for all and everybody knows it, but that’s the logic I’m going to go with for choosing them.

Metropolitan Division

  • F Sebastian Aho, CAR
  • F Cam Atkinson, CBJ
  • F Mathew Barzal, NYI
  • F Sidney Crosby, PIT
  • F Claude Giroux, PHI
  • F Kyle Palmieri, NJD
  • D John Carlson, WSH
  • D Seth Jones, CBJ
  • D Kris Letang, PIT
  • G Braden Holtby, WSH
  • G Henrik Lundqvist, NYR

I know I just said that I think the Atlantic will come out of the east but I wouldn’t be mad at the Metro getting in there either. I mean, did you see how much fun Henrik Lundqvist was having last night in the goalie competition? How can you not cheer for that guy?

TONIGHT…

Game Day Prediction: Yeah, we all know that plenty of goals will be scored tonight, it’s to be expected considering the layout of the tournament and the level of skill playing in it, but I’m going to go ahead and make a bet on the final right now. I say the Pacific Division beats the Atlantic in the final.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: The goalies will not be having a good time.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Blown away by McDavid’s skill, speed, and overall tightness of his haircut, the rest of the NHLers make their way to their nearest barber to ask for the Connor.