1. This year’s game format is… eccentric
Instead of the usual East vs. West that fans have been accustomed to, the NHL is really going for something novel. This year’s format will include a brand new 3-on-3 divisional format, comprised of three 20-minute games played by divisional all-stars.
This means instead of East vs. West, we’ll see the Central Division vs. the Pacific Division, and the Atlantic Division vs. the Metropolitan Division. The first two periods will be treated as a “semifinal round.” The winners of each period will face off in the third period to see who'll take home the $1 million prize…
...because nothing excites fans more than watching millionaires goof off for a few hours to win another cool mill.
The three-on-three format should also mean a lot more scoring opportunities in what’s typically a high scoring game to begin with — sorry goalies!
2. The league’s traffic cone was named one of the All-Star Game’s captains
One would expect to see all-stars at the NHL All-Star game, and hockey fans will see that. But they’ll also see a giant traffic cone take the ice as one it’s four divisional captains.
The NHL let its fans choose the captains for this year's event, and fans rewarded the league for their good faith by starting a #VoteJohnScott campaign and voting Scott in as captain of the Pacific Division.
John Scott is a 6’7”, 270lb behemoth of a man who’s known more for his fisticuffs than his scoring touch.
Scott has just a mere 11 points in his eight seasons in the NHL. Meanwhile he has 53 career NHL fights. He also was recently traded out of the division and sent to the minors. Despite all that, the NHL is sucking it up and letting the fans get what the fans want.
And as ESPN’s Arash Markazi points out, this isn’t the first time sports fans have hijacked an all-star game.
3. No Crosby. No Ovechkin.
What world do we live in where there’s no Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin in the All-Star Game, but there is John Scott?
To be fair, Sidney Crosby had a terribly slow start to the 2016 season (just ask my fantasy team). Terrible by Crosby’s standards that is. Despite his slow start, Crosby still has 41 points in 47 games played this season. It just wasn’t enough for the NHL to pick him for the Metropolitan team.
It’s probably for the best. Crosby has a terrible track record of going to the NHL All-Star game (missing the previous five All-Star Games for a variety of reasons), so fans probably won’t even notice the difference.
At least he’s willing to accept the “Puppy Challenge.”
As for Ovie, he’s out with a lower-body injury that’s been nagging him all season. Question is: Who’s going to be the most stylish shootout competitor now?
4. This year includes a televised “Indoor and Outdoor Concert Series”
Saturday will include the usual NHL Skills Competition, but all weekend the NHL Fan Fair will also feature musical acts including Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Lennon & Maisy, Tracy Lawrence, Lonestar, Danny Gokey, MercyMe, Lewis Brice, Ryan Hurd, LOCASH, Russell Dickerson, Steven Lee Olsen, Craig Wayne Boyd, DJ DU, and DJ Rock.
As subscribers to our Sports TVGuide know, the NHL will be airing part of the concert series on Friday night. Starting at 7pm ET, country music star Lewis Brice, Aaron Lewis (formerly of the rock band Stained) and guitarist John Hiatt will perform live on NBCSN.
5. We’ll find out if this year’s format will kill the immortal Jaromir Jagr
At the same time fans were pushing for John Scott to be an All-Star Game captain, the ageless Jaromir Jagr was begging fans to give him a weekend off.
Alas for poor Jagr, the fans were out in full troll mode this year. Instead of letting him chill on a beach and rest for a few days, fans named Jagr captain of the Atlantic Division. And if Jagr was afraid the format would send him to the Big Rink in the Sky, he’s more afraid of Scott getting his hands on him.
“I asked the fans don’t vote for me, and they didn’t listen,” said Jagr. “I think they didn’t like me much, so they wanted to see me dead.”
Oh, the fans love you Jagr. Maybe to a fault.
Question is: What kills Jagr first? The format or John Scott?
Original traffic cone image photographed by Glen Scott.