Results of the 60th NHL All-Star Game, an update on possible NHL expansion and the KHL slashes its salary cap.
TSN: A record 29 goals were scored as Team Toews downed Team Foligno 17-12 at the 60th NHL All-Star Game in Columbus. Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek tied Mario Lemieux’s ASG record of 6 points. The two teams also set a record for most combined goals in one period, tallying 11 in the second period.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: To the delight of Columbus fans, Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen was named the game’s MVP.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders captain John Tavares led all players in goals with four, tying an All-Star Game record.
CBC.CA: Turns out Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin wanted to win a car at the ASG Fantasy Draft in order to donate it to the hockey program of Ann Schaub, a 10-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome. While Ovechkin didn’t win, the car company Honda gave him a new car so he could donate it to the little girl’s team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few thoughts. The ridiculously high score of this year’s All-Star Game is yet another reason why many fans and pundits consider the game a farce. Still, the game turned out to be a big success for Columbus and the fans in attendance enjoyed themselves. The NHL All-Star Game has become a money-making midseason showcase for the NHL, even if it doesn’t translate into good hockey on television. And as long as it keeps making money the league won’t do anything to improve the quality of the game itself.
One of the few things I like about the ASG is it’s a great opportunity to see the players relaxed, enjoying each others company and interacting with fans. We’re so used to the players being automatons that we forget they really are capable of enjoying themselves like everyone else.
Once again, we learn there’s more to Alexander Ovechkin than meets the eye. His kindness to Schaub makes him my All-Star Game MVP.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman won’t rule out Canada getting an eighth NHL franchise one day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And as soon as the Canadian dollar returns to par with the American dollar, Las Vegas or Seattle gets their franchise and Quebec City’s new arena is completed, I’m sure Bettman and company will one day make that a reality.
ESPN.COM: The KHL is reducing its salary cap as its teams struggle through Russia’s current economic crisis. That will hurt the KHL’s attempts to rival the NHL’s popularity by attracting big-name players from North America.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: During its salad days the KHL was largely unsuccessful in luring big-name NHL stars. The best they could do was sign away Ilya Kovalchuk, an aging Jaromir Jagr and the inconsistent Alexander Radulov. The NHL hasn’t suffered from losing those players, while the KHL turned into a second-tier league for has-beens and never-weres to continue their professional careers.