USA Today’s Kevin Allen wonders if the NHL has found the right formula for the All-Star game. A struggle for many years to make a dent in ratings or generate interest, Allen writes that last year’s shift to a division specific, three-on-three battle was a shot in the arm for the sport and gave NBC its highest ratings for an All-Star game since they signed on with the NHL for coverage. Players also bought into the format, as evidenced by a quote from NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood recalled that one player said, “’I want to be out there. I’m so mad that I’m leaving this building and not playing to win this event.” Flood felt that was “cool” and it showed a turnaround in the perception of the All-Star Game.
More from Allen:
- Though Detroit is having a rough season, the youth carrying the team has been a positive sign. Allen writes that the production from “kids” Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Xavier Ouellet, and Jared Coreau has gone a long way in breathing some life into what’s been a stale season in Hockeytown. It also shows that Detroit has continued to draft talent that can produce at the NHL level. Though the playoffs could be missed, a silver lining is certainly the development and contribution from the younger players. Allen notes that while the Red Wings have struggled to score goals this season, it’s been the emergence of Mantha and Athanasiou that have given Detroit an uptick in scoring. More interesting, will be if the Red Wings continue to rely on their youth, with a roster and philosophy that always seem to favor veterans.
- Allen also lists his top 25 of all time and his #1 and #2 are not shocking with Gordie Howe narrowly edging Wayne Gretzky. Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, and Maurice Richard round out Allen’s top five.