• The All-Star Game badly needed an overhaul, so it’s hard to rip on the four division, 3-on-3 tournament in its second season that at least gives teams something to fight for in the skills competition (the opportunity to pick your semifinal division opponent and what period you play) and a $1 million prize to the winning team.
“Eleven guys are playing for $1 million, so I know I’d be pretty intense for the game,” Central Division coach Bruce Boudreau said.
But with the format comes roster constraints. Only 11 players (six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies) can be on each of the four All-Star teams. All 30 NHL teams must be represented. So when two divisions in the West have seven teams and two in the East have eight, there are snubs. Some of the biggest: Chicago’s Artemi Panarin, Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, Dallas’ Jamie Benn, the Wild’s Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu, Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom, Columbus’ Cam Atkinson and Zach Werenski, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel and Boston’s David Pastrnak.
• Washington’s Alex Ovechkin surpassed the 1,000-point mark last week. He has 546 goals, giving him the highest percentage of goals to points for any 1,000-point scorer in history.
“He is the best scorer I’ve ever seen live,” said Boudreau, his former Capitals coach. “There was one game in Montreal where he scored three on Carey Price that I didn’t see any of the three shots because they were so hard. … It’s not going to be surprising to me if he gets 800, 900 goals.”
• The NHL Board of Governors is expected to vote on NHL participation for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea during All-Star Weekend. By and large, league owners don’t want their players to go.