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NHL Notebook: NHL brings back in person All-Star game draft and Minnesota Wild fire head coach Dean Evason
By Zach Laing2 months ago
The NHL is bringing back one of the most fun elements we’ve ever seen from their All-Star games: the draft.
Those who have been around the game for some time will never forget the 2011 rendition of the annual mingling of the league’s best.
Fourty-two all-stars were drafted to respective clubs, but there was always due to be one player left standing, and it was none other than Phil Kessel, who took it in stride. He became the butt of the joke, but good came out of it as Kessel was given US$20,000, and a hybrid Honda CR-Z, donating the money to a cancer charity.
Despite that, there was backlash to the event.
“There’s no need to embarrass any All-Star,” said then Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, who stook up for Kessel, the lone player from his team to make it.
The event, however, returned in 2012, with San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture being picked last and none of the extraneous comments after. It was canned after that but brought back for the 2015 draft, where Alex Ovechkin lobbied to be picked last.
This year’s event, which will be held in Toronto, will feature celebrities alongside captains to pick team, and is set to take place on Feb. 1. The weekend will also feature a 3-on-3 tournament of players from the PWHL, which is set to kick off its inaugural season of women’s professional hockey in January.
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Wild fire Evanson
The Minnesota Wild fired head coach Dean Evason and his assistant, Bob Woods Monday, becoming the second team to change coaches in this still-young season.
Much like Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson in Edmonton, the pair were dismissed after a dismal start to the season. In Minnesota’s case, however, the firings come amid a seven-game losing skid.
Minnesota sits with a 5-10-1 record for 14 points, a mere two more than that of the Chicago Blackhawks, who were projected to be one of the worst teams in the league this year.
“Dean did an excellent job during his tenure with the Minnesota Wild, especially as Head Coach of our team,” GM Bill Guerin said. “I am very thankful for his hard work and dedication to our organization.”
The Wild have since named John Hynes their new head coach, the seventh in the franchise’s 23-year history. Hynes most recently served as the head coach of the Nashville Predators, joining them partway through the 2019-29 season after being dismissed from the same role with the New Jersey Devils that year.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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