I'm really excited about this new format for the NHL All-Star Game, which TSN Bob McKenzie reported on Tuesday night. THREE-ON-THREE TOURNAMENT, BABY.
It's going to be a divisional format, with four three-on-three teams -- one from each NHL division -- consisting of 9-10 players and 2 goalies. The Eastern teams will play head-to-head, and then the conference winners will play for a title. There will be cash on the line for the winners.
It looks like the NHL will officially announce this today. Here's McKenzie:
There’s going to be a 3-on-3 mini-game format for the All-Star Game. The National Hockey League Players Association recently signed off on that new format, and the expectation is that the League will be making some sort of formal announcement about it [Wednesday].
"Details are still a little sketchy, but what we believe to be the case is that the fantasy draft will be dead, and that instead there will be four divisional teams -- nine or 10 skaters a piece, a couple of goaltenders for each team. You would have the two teams in the Eastern Conference play a 20-minute mini-game. The two teams in the Western Conference would play a 20-minute mini-game. And then you would have the two winners play a 20-minute mini-game."
Certainly everybody believed that the All-Star Game needed a refresh and this looks like what it's going to be. There's expected to be a large cash incentive for the winning 10 or 12 players.
- It's going to be hard to make the Metropolitan Division team. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are probably both deserving of being there (despite Jake's lack of a goal), but jeez that's a stacked team. It might be really hard for both to make it as a result.
- Seriously, think about this: Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash, Ryan Johansen, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom, John Tavares and Phil Kessel have all been All-Stars recently, and that doesn't even count the defensemen from the division
- Goalies for the Metro team will probably be Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby. That's a solid tandem.
- I am very sad that the Fantasy Draft is dead. I like the division format, but it would have been more fun if there were four captains and they picked in a Friday night draft. I've had the chance to attend two of the All-Star Games with these drafts -- in Carolina in 2011 and Columbus last year -- and they were easily the best part of the weekend. Drunk athletes making jokes about each other on stage for a few hours. It was great -- so great that the NFL took the idea. RIP.
The 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend will be held January 29-31 in Nashville.