EDMONTON, Alberta – The NHL All-Star Game has its fun moments.
The player draft has made for some entertainment the past few years they’ve done it. The skills competition always draws interest from fans and creativity from players. The game itself, however, has gotten pretty dull. Too often, it looks like players just going through the motions out there, and it’s led to listless hockey.
A format change, however, could make that game fun again.
This year’s All-Star Game will be played in a 3-on-3 format and feature three 20-minute tournaments instead of one five-on-five game, according to reports out of Canada. According to reports, each of the league’s four divisions would have a team, with the winning team from each conference facing each other in the “final” game.
A formal announcement is expected some time on Wednesday.
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As for 3-on-3, the league implemented it for overtimes this season in an effort to cut down on shootouts, and it’s had the desired effect. The last few All-Star Games have featured plenty of scoring; Team Toews defeated Team Foligno 17-12 in the 2015 game in Columbus. But from a hockey standpoint, the games have been boring.
Patrick Kane said changing up the All-Star Game is probably a good idea.
“I think it’d be fun. I think it’s exciting for the fans and the big thing this year with the 3-on-3 overtime and how people are talking about that and how exciting it is,” he said. “You kind of realize that there probably needs to be some type of change in the All-Star Game, especially the way it’s been the past few years.”
Coach Joel Quenneville agreed, saying some of the games have been “hard to watch.”
“I think that change is necessary: trying to mix it up so there’s competitiveness, some fun but guys are playing for keeps in a way where all of a sudden [they’re] playing real hockey,” he said. “It’s hard watching sometimes when you know the guys are out there; they’re playing but the pace of the game isn’t anything close to how they normally play. So hopefully this’ll be a good change, because 3-on-3 so far has been a good chance. A new format is needed.”
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The All-Star Game still has its entertaining moments; the game itself, however, hasn’t been one for quite some time. A change could make the entire weekend worth watching again.
“It could be a great weekend if you think about it,” Kane said. “A lot of people tune into the skills competition, and if you switch it up to 3-on-3 maybe there’s more entertainment, maybe guys go a little bit harder. I don’t know. But it’s not a bad idea to try something different.”