The Toronto Maple Leafs somehow sent only two players to the NHL All-Star game this year.
Despite clearly being one of the NHL’s best teams, and despite having at least five players who should be in any “best of the best” game, not to mention several other worthy candidates, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent just Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell to Las Vegas.
In addition to those two, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander are all having all-star worthy seasons.
Furthermore, Michael Bunting and Alex Kerfoot are outperforming many of the lamer selections (Looking at you, Nick Suzuki) who were choses just because the rules say you need one player from every team.
Despite the lack of Toronto Maple Leafs content (and seriously, how can their even be an all-star game without Mitch Marner?) the skills competition was fantastic TV.
The NHL Skills Competition
Now, granted, I may have enjoyed the show more than most because I watched it with a nearly hyperventilating nine year old who sincerely cheered and (quite frankly) went a little nuts for his favorite players, teams and divisions.
It just really makes it a lot better when you do anything with someone who cares that much.
Of the skills on display, I would have to say that both the hardest shot and the speed skating could be improved with more players taking part. On the whole, though it was interesting to learn that Connor McDavid isn’t really that much of a faster skater than the NHL’s other fastest skaters – the difference is that he can go that fast while controlling a puck.
The best thing, by far, was the break-away challenge. Kaprizov was lame, and Pietrangelo, who won, was lame too, but Jack Hughes was cool and Trevor Zegras did the best thing I’ve ever seen a person do with a hockey puck. And he did it blindfolded, though truthfully, if he didn’t blindfold himself it would have been just as good.
It reminded me of when Vince Carter won the Dunk competition in 1999. It was unreal, and I wish he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. I am still stunned.
I also thought the Fountain Shooting contest was really cool, especially because they had Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson who did better than most, and almost won. The best part was when they interviewed her and she talked about the Rock on a Jet Ski. It’s too bad she didn’t win, but it was still the second best moment of the night, after Zegras.