The All-Star weekend is over, so we can get back to talking about things that matter… Like the All-Star weekend in hindsight!
Four Line Challenge
Mike Smith goes five-hole from full ice, literally the only redeeming quality of the entire Four Line Challenge. pic.twitter.com/G3GbLFuvpv
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 29, 2017
Instead of the usual Breakaway Challenge with props and silly costumes the 2017 NHL All-Star Game featured the Four Line Challenge where stars attempt to make shots similar to the ones fans make during intermission to win big prizes. It makes sense in theory, too. Seeing the NHL’s best complete these incredibly difficult trick shots would be pretty cool, but that didn’t happen. Aside from a Hail Mary shot from the opposite end of the ice from Mike Smith, almost no player was successful making the event tough to watch as the targets were just too difficult.
Apparently the NHL and players both felt the Breakaway Challenge was too gimmicky, but the Four Line Challenge was a terrible replacement. Fans can watch players struggle to score just about any night in the NHL, but at least the Breakaway Challenge was good for a couple laughs and some actual goals.
BIEBER MEETS CHRIS PRONGER
AP snapped an amazing photo of Chris Pronger squashing Justin Bieber into the boards: pic.twitter.com/hhykeHh5Oh
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 28, 2017
While some events struggled to entertain, the celebrity all-star game was worth it for the image above alone. Justin Bieber has a long list of accomplishments in his career, but going into a corner with Chris Pronger bearing down on you and living to tell the tale might be one of his more impressive feats depending on how big of a Belieber you are. Both Pronger and Bieber had a good laugh and this photo captured one of the few events that hit this weekend.
SMITH HAPPY IN ARIZONA
— Sarah McLellan (@azc_mclellan) January 30, 2017
Mike Smith is in the fourth-year of a six-year deal with the Arizona Coyotes, but he remains committed to Arizona according to The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan.
Smith isn’t thinking about waiving his no-trade clause even with the Coyotes struggles. Smith has had some uneven years with Arizona, going from Vezina candidate one year to below league average the next. Although, the Coyotes’ goaltender has remained around 0.915 the last few years and that stability would probably draw interest from other teams if he was open to a move. There are many teams with shaky goaltending, and Smith only has two more years at a $5.6 million dollar cap hit.
Brad Treliving was with Arizona when Smith was acquired and Calgary has an uncertain crease situation. Mike Smith could be an interesting option to platoon with Chad Johnson if they want to walk away from Brian Elliott. Dallas is always in need of a goaltender who can stop a puck too, and Arizona might take on salary if they don’t plan on being competitive.
TKACHEV STAYING OVERSEAS
— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) January 30, 2017
The Edmonton Oilers remain unsuccessful in their attempts to sign former QMJHL left-wing Vladimir Tkachyov. The 21-year old former QMJHL winger and Edmonton Oilers camp standout has 39 points in 45 games for Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL, and was once Oilers property in 2014 before the NHL ruled the contract ineligible. Tkachyov’s professional experience in Russia meant he had to go back into the draft and he was passed through once again.
Tkachyov’s scoring resurgence in the KHL makes him an attractive option especially given the success of other recent KHL players signing in the NHL. Tkachyov may only be 5’10” on paper, but his points compare to players like Artemi Panarin and Evgeny Kuznetsov at a similar age. If Tkachyov can give you half of what those players do then extending a contract is a no-brainer.
BETTMAN SAYS NO TO JERSEYS ADS
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 30, 2017
Despite the NBA implementing jersey ads next season Gary Bettman claims the NHL is not looking at jersey ads barring some extraordinary situation.
This is a little hard to believe considering Bettman represents the owners and, well, they like to make money. The amount that would have to be paid to see a logo on NHL jerseys would obviously be a huge amount, but there’s also how much would that amount would differ from an Arizona Coyotes jersey to a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. The NHL is also big on heritage and iconic jerseys, so it’d be odd to see an ad on a Chicago Blackhawks Toews’ jersey when there’s always so much made about stepping on a teams’ logo in the dressing room.
Jersey ads seem inevitable, but Bettman seems less committed on them than you’d expect. It’s hard to see a company meeting the amount of money it would take to be on an original six team’s jersey, and might create another imbalance between the rich and poor teams.