So, there’s no John Scott in the NHL All-Star Game this season. And that's a shame because it was an incredible story last year, when the fans voted Scott onto the All-Star roster -- and even though the league attempted to block his participation, Scott scored two goals and earned MVP honors in Nashville.
Rule changes to the election process mean such a player won't again be allowed to take part in the annual celebration, which this year is being held Jan. 27-29 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But the talent level will be off the charts with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews.
For the second consecutive season, the game will be a 3-on-3 tournament, featuring a team from each of the four divisions. When this format was introduced, there were skeptics, including some of the players, especially the goalies. The 3-on-3 requires a lot of skating, and that’s not necessarily what the players want to do during a much-needed “break” in the season.
But after last season’s All-Star Game, many praised the level of competition and admitted it was fun to play.
No matter the format, the All-Star Game is what it is. Truth be told, the players would likely rather have the time off than play an exhibition. Some believe the Winter Classic should serve as the league's marquee game.
I’m a big believer in the outdoor games and think the league should have more of them, replacing the All-Star Game. It shouldn’t matter what the ratings indicate; hockey fans will watch whatever game you present outdoors. There’s no controversy this January surrounding the All-Star Game, but you can bet it will still be a fun spectacle.
NHL All-Star Game rosters:
Atlantic Division Central Division
Metropolitan Division Pacific Division
* Fan-elected captain
2017 All-Star Game head coaches
Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens (Atlantic), Bruce Boudreau of the Minnesota Wild (Central), John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Metropolitan) and Peter DeBoer of the San Jose Sharks (Pacific)