All-Star weekend will have a different look Talent Blog
12/16/2008 3:00:59 PM
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The NHL All-Star weekend will have a different look and feel to it next month in Montreal.

In an effort to improve the experience for fans at the Bell Centre, the hundreds of the thousands watching on television and the participating players, the NHL and the NHLPA have made significant changes to the annual All-Star weekend.

Most noticeably, the game featuring the National Hockey Leagues Young Stars will plot NHL rookies against NHL sophomores in the hope of raising the competitive level of the game.

Second year players such as Boston's Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks forward Devon Setoguchi will face first year players such as Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in a 3-on-3 battle comprised of three, six minute periods.

This Young Stars match up is expected to be the showcase of the skills competition on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

The skills competition has been modified, with the traditional east versus west format tossed aside.

Organizers want only those players who want to compete in the defined events, rather than those who are asked to take part to round out the event because of conference representation.

There will be two versions of the shootout.  One will see every player compete in a single knockout variation using NHL goaltenders, while the second is designed strictly for showmanship.  

So far, Washington's Alex Ovechkin is the lone player recruited, however this "YouTube" inspired competition is expected to feature as many as six of the NHL's most electrifying players, all of whom will be encouraged to focus and work on their most impressive shootout moves prior to the event.

The goaltenders for the super shootout haven't been decided on, but there is consideration being given to using Canadian University goalies.

The winner of each of the skills competition events, including the shootouts, will be awarded with a crystal trophy for their efforts.

No changes are expected for the main game, the 57th NHL All-Star game on Sunday, January 25th.

Darren Dreger


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