With the start of the month of December comes the beginning of voting for the 2016 NHL All Star Weekend that will be held in Nashville during the weekend of January 30th. This year’s format, however, looks a bit different from year’s past.
New Look, Same Goal
The implementation of 3-on-3 overtime to the NHL this year has inspired a similar format for the All Star Game. Each division will have its own team, with one player determined by fans and the other ten chosen by the Hockey Operation’s Department, for a grand total of forty-four players involved.
The four teams will then play in a tournament of sorts featuring twenty-minute games that will be decided by a shootout if they’re tied at the end. The two divisions of each conference play in the first round to advance to the final, in which they’ll face off against the victorious team from the other conference. The winner of that game will be crowned the winner of the 2016 NHL All Star Game.
Central Division Line-up
Each team will have at least one player representing them in the rather eventful weekend, but the St. Louis Blues are hoping for more. The two top candidates from the Gateway City would be forward Vladimir Tarasenko and goaltender Jake Allen.
Tarasenko leads the team with 24 points in St. Louis’ twenty-three games played with a plus-minus of plus-4. No. 91’s fourteen goals is good enough for second best in the league, while his 24 points ranks him tenth in league-wide scoring. His scoring ability coupled with his speed would make for a great combination in the open ice that 3-on-3 allows.
That scoring touch was evident in St. Louis’ most recent victory as they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-1.
Allen has eleven wins in eighteen tries for the Blue notes this season, posting a .930 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average, which is good enough for third-best in the league. The Canadian net minder also leads the NHL in shutouts this year with three, which would no doubt help his case for a spot on the roster.
As far as the other selections go for this year’s All Star game the Central Division stands as one of if not the strongest. Alongside players to the likes of Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews the Central looks to be the team to beat and St. Louis will be well-represented with the presence of either Tarasenko or Allen.
With a line-up that skilled it seems as if the Central Division will take the crown, but anything can happen.
Which Blues players do you think will participate in All Star weekend? Which division do you think will win it all? Leave your thoughts in the comments.