Many fun possibilities in NHL’s All-Star 3-on-3 tournament

Daren Millard, Nick Kypreos and Gord Stellick unveil the rosters for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game plus discuss Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine being additions in their rookie seasons.

When you have an event called the All-Star Game and you’re bringing it to Los Angeles, it’s vital not to leave the most important thing at home.

The stars.

That shouldn’t be a problem for the NHL later this month based on the list of 44 selections unveiled Tuesday.

It amounts to a fine mix of young phenoms – Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine – and the mainstays who have soaked up most of the league’s national attention for a decade: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Evgeni Malkin.

The 3-on-3 tournament offers some intriguing possibilities, with Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin joined on the same Metropolitan Division team along with fellow former first overall picks John Tavares and Taylor Hall.

Pity the goalies.

The biggest plague on the all-star festivities in recent years has been no-shows. Toews and Ovechkin each accepted a one-game suspension last year rather than spending the weekend in Nashville, joining a list of players previously punished for skipping out that includes Crosby, Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk.

However, a recent change to the NHL’s schedule should further disincentivize it from happening during this Jan. 27-29 all-star weekend. With every team now being granted a five-day winter break – a concession from the league to the NHLPA for switching all-star formats – marquee players have been a given a chance to vacation or rest that had previously been unavailable to them.

While some legitimate injuries are bound to come up in the weeks ahead – Laine, the Winnipeg Jets super rookie, is questionable because of the concussion he suffered last weekend – the phantom ones should be much less of an issue.

Giving the players a chance to spend a couple days in California rather than a more wintery locale won’t hurt, either.

It promises to be a special weekend with the league tying in its centennial celebrations. The 66 members of the NHL’s greatest 100 players list who played in the modern era are all expected to be in attendance.

Then there is a skills competition and 3-on-3 tournament at Staples Center with the stars of today.

The captains for each divisional team – Crosby, McDavid, Carey Price and P.K. Subban – were selected by fan balloting. The remaining 40 players were filled out by the NHL’s hockey operations department.

With every NHL team needing to be represented it made for some tough choices. Artemi Panarin, the league’s sixth-leading scorer, didn’t make the cut in the Central Division because four of his Blackhawks teammates did.

Cam Atkinson, Jakub Voracek and Phil Kessel are among the other top point-getters who weren’t chosen, but it’s hard to quibble with the guys picked ahead of them.

Yes, this promises to be an all-star weekend overrun with stars. And there’s every reason to believe they’re going to show up.

Here’s a complete list of the NHL’s 2017 all-star selections:

Metropolitan (Captain Crosby)
G-Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus
G-Braden Holtby, Washington
D-Justin Faulk, Carolina
D-Ryan McDonagh, N.Y. Rangers
D-Seth Jones, Columbus
F-Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
F-Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
F-Alexander Ovechkin, Washington
F-John Tavares, N.Y. Islanders
F-Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia
F-Taylor Hall, New Jersey

Atlantic (Captain Price)
G-Carey Price, Montreal
G-Tuukka Rask, Boston
D-Victor Hedman, Tampa
D-Shea Weber, Montreal
D-Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
F-Frans Nielsen, Detroit
F-Nikita Kucherov, Tampa
F-Vincent Trocheck, Florida
F-Auston Matthews, Toronto
F-Kyle Okposo, Buffalo
F-Brad Marchand, Boston

Pacific (Captain McDavid)
G-Martin Jones, San Jose
G-Mike Smith, Arizona
D-Cam Fowler, Anaheim
D-Brent Burns, San Jose
D-Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
F-Ryan Kesler, Anaheim
F-Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary
F-Connor McDavid, Edmonton
F-Jeff Carter, Los Angeles
F-Bo Horvat, Vancouver
F-Joe Pavelski, San Jose

Central (Captain Subban)
G-Devan Dubynk, Minnesota
G-Corey Crawford, Chicago
D-Ryan Suter, Minnesota
D-Duncan Keith, Chicago
D-P.K. Subban, Nashville
F-Patrick Kane, Chicago
F-Jonathan Toews, Chicago
F-Tyler Seguin, Dallas
F-Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
F-Patrik Laine, Winnipeg
F-Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado

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