The unofficial halfway point of the National Hockey League season is always the All-Star Break, and this year the league takes the festivities to Silicon Valley.
The San Jose Sharks host the annual celebration of all things hockey, including the Skills Competition on Friday evening, and the Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday.
The hometown Sharks will be well represented, as longtime San Jose forward Joe Pavelski will be joined by defenceman Brent Burns. Another San Jose rearguard, Erik Karlsson, also made the cut, but injuries have placed his participation in doubt.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche will also send three players to San Jose for the weekend. The league leading Lightning will be represented by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, as well as forwards Steven Stamkos, and Nikita Kucherov.
The Avalanche will send forwards Mikko Rantanen, and Nathan MacKinnon, in addition to Gabriel Landeskog, who was one of the four “Last Man In” players voted on by the fans.
The NHL tries to have all 31 franchises represented, but sometimes injuries get in the way, and the players who step up to fill a roster spot do not necessarily come from the same team. For instance, goaltender Carey Price was going to represent the Montreal Canadiens, but concerns about his workload led to the decision to have Price skip the All-Star Game.
That means the Habs will not have a representative in the actual game. Price has to miss a game before or after the All-Star Game in order to receive the hall pass. His replacement? Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Since the All-Star Game is a league celebration, it makes sense to try to have every team represented. Which means many deserving players will not be in San Jose this weekend, but only because only so many players can be squeezed in.
It’s an honour to be invited to play in the NHL All-Star Game, and this time around, 13 players will be making their All-Star Game debut. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks will be participating for the eighth time, tops amongst players at this year’s game.
SiriusXM NHL Network Radio’s coverage gets underway this Thursday, January 24th, at 8 pm Eastern, when Steve Kouleas and Matthew Barnaby cover Media Day. They’ll keep you up to date on the news (because the NHL general managers are usually in attendance, and the NHL Trade Deadline is only a few weeks away). They’ll also talk with some of the biggest names in the game.
Steve will be calling the play-by-play for the SAP NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday evenings, beginning at 9 pm Eastern. Matthew will be on the bench, talking with the biggest names in the game.
The 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game is set for Saturday. We have the pre-game show beginning at 6 pm Eastern, and the All-Star Game itself at 8 pm Eastern.