When will we see NHL All-Star Game in Philly?

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When will we see NHL All-Star Game in Philly?

Claude Giroux arrived and departed Tampa, Florida, as the Flyers' lone All-Star. 

As expected, there were injury replacements, but the substitute was selected from the same team as the chosen All-Star. With New Jersey’s Taylor Hall unable to participate with an injured right thumb, the league tabbed Brian Boyle as Hall’s replacement. The only way Jakub Voracek or Sean Couturier would have gone had Giroux been forced to withdraw.

While statistically, Boyle’s numbers (11-6-17) pale in comparison to Voracek (9-47-56) or Couturier (26-23-49), it’s hard to argue against the sentimental selection of Boyle, who battled back from chronic myeloid leukemia during training camp to return to the Devils this season. Boyle, a first-time All-Star, was emotional after accepting the league’s invitation to join the best in the world, and it was fantastic to see the Lightning fans give Boyle a standing ovation. Boyle played in Tampa Bay from 2014-17.

Metropolitan Division teammates Boyle and Giroux started their game against the Atlantic Division with Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski on their line. Giroux had this brilliant snap shot that beat the Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy in their 7-4 semifinal loss to the Atlantic.

All-Star weekend in Philly?
Philadelphia hasn’t hosted the NHL’s All-Star weekend since 1992. That year saw the Campbell Conference All-Stars beat the Wales Conference All-Stars, 10-6, with Brett Hull earning MVP honors. Rod Brind'Amour was the Flyers' lone representative.

While the Flyers' organization has expressed their interest in hosting another All-Star event, a Comcast-Spectacor executive still believes the NHL is eyeballing Philly for 2026, which would commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in the nation’s birthplace.

What format suits you?
This year’s All-Star event marked the third straight time the league has utilized the popular 3-on-3 format and it will be interesting to see how long the NHL decides to stick with it, as San Jose will host next year’s All-Star festivities. The league has been a trendsetter when it comes to re-inventing itself and devising new methods of showcasing the All-Star Game. Prior to 3-on-3, the NHL created the fantasy draft which the NBA adopted this season.

Previously, we’ve seen a North American against the World format, as well as, the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format.

Saturday, I asked on Twitter which format you preferred and here’s how you voted.

Personally, I’d like to see some form of the draft re-instituted while still also maintaining the popular 3-on-3 format. I covered the draft in Columbus, Ohio, in 2015  between Team Toews and Team Foligno and it made for a fun and exciting prelude to the game itself, as Giroux and Voracek were selected on opposite squads. Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin made the event even more intriguing with his plea to be chosen last in an effort to win a new car for charity.  

Playing internationally
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Saturday the league will once again open up the season overseas. The Oilers and Devils will open the 2018-19 regular season in Stockholm, Sweden. The following month the Panthers and Jets will play a pair of games in Finland.

Also, the NHL will return to China with teams, dates and venues still to be determined. Last season, the Kings swept the Canucks in games in Shanghai and Beijing. According to SportsNet Canada, the Flames and Bruins, not the Flyers, are in discussion to play two games in China.

With the announcement of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, hockey is now one of the fastest growing sports in China, and the NHL is wise to tap into the world’s largest country as a potential fanbase. Last summer, a family from China came to the United States as part of their summer vacation. Their itinerary included having the youngsters participate for two weeks at Jim Watson’s Hockey Camp at IceWorks in Aston, Pennsylvania.

The kids from China certainly didn’t look out of place and their parents really took to Watson’s approach to structure and discipline. In 2015, Andong Song became the first Chinese-born player selected in the NHL draft when the Islanders snagged him in the sixth round. Song played at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and is currently competing with the Madison Capitols of the USHL.

Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

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Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby ignited a rally with a highlight-reel goal and became the third active player with 700 career assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Crosby's picked up his 24th goal of the season when he knocked a pass from Jake Guentzel out of the air, deflected it toward the front of his stick and smacked it by Carey Price to tie it at 3 late in the second period.

Derick Brassard put the Penguins in front to stay, beating Price early in the third period as Pittsburgh avoided dropping both games of a back-to-back against also-rans Montreal and the New York Islanders.

Guentzel had a goal and two assists. His 21st goal of the season came off an assist from Crosby, the 700th of Crosby's career. Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins, who drew within two points of idle first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. Casey DeSmith finished with 27 saves.

Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de la Rose scored for the Canadiens, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games. Carey Price made 34 stops in his first start in a month due to a concussion (see full recap).

Schwartz, Blues top Bruins in OT
ST. LOUIS — Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Schwartz skated up the middle and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin. The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04) (see full recap).

Rookie sets record in Coyotes’ victory
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Clayton Keller had two assists to set the Arizona Coyotes' franchise record for most points by a rookie in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night in a matchup of the NHL's two worst teams.

Rookie Dylan Strome scored in his first game after being called up from the minors. Derek Stepan had a goal and assist, and Richard Panik and Max Domi, with an empty-netter, also scored. Antti Raanta stopped 29 shots to improve to 12-4-4 in his past 20 starts.

Keller, Arizona's 2016 first-round draft pick, extended his points streak to six games, in which he has two goals and five assists. He has 55 points, one more than Peter Mueller had in setting the rookie team record in 2007-08. And Keller has 35 assists, one more than teammate Max Domi had in his rookie season two years ago.

Arizona improved to 13-5-2 in its past 20, and earned its 61st point in leaving Vancouver alone at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Jordan Nolan scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 23-38-12 to remain in last place in the overall standings (see full recap).

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

Michigan Athletics

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

The Flyers on Wednesday traded NCAA prospect Cooper Marody’s rights to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 third-round draft pick that originally belonged to the New Jersey Devils.

Marody enjoyed a breakout junior season at Michigan University in 2017-18. The 21-year-old led the Wolverines with 32 assists, 46 points and 1.24 points per game.

His 32 assists were tied for third-most in the nation, while his 46 points were tied for ninth most. He made the Big Ten All-Tournament team and was the Big Ten scoring champion.

Let’s make sense of why the Flyers moved Marody and why it’s a good return.

One, he was a 2015 sixth-round draft pick with little NHL upside. Essentially, this boils down to a sixth-round pick netting you a third-rounder, which has a higher probability of hitting.

Two, the Flyers’ pipeline is loaded with forwards, and the book on Marody doesn’t project him to be a top-six forward. Think of him as a solid AHL player with bottom-six NHL potential.

Three, the contract limit. The Flyers are currently at 47 contracts, three under the limit. Sure, four players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer with four more hitting restricted free agency. They could easily fit Marody under the contract limit but it goes back to No. 2.

Another potential factor is the 2019 third-rounder the Flyers owe the Red Wings if they make the playoffs since Petr Mrazek has won five games already with the team. They now have a third-rounder in that draft.

Any way we slice it, the Flyers turned a sixth-rounder into a third-rounder. If Marody proves the Flyers wrong, so be it. If not, it's no big deal. The chances of winning this trade are higher than losing it.