LOS ANGELES — It was basically the perfect weekend for Wayne Simmonds.
He returned , as a first-time All-Star, to the city that drafted him into the NHL, and the fans here showed him appreciation every time his name was called. He acquitted himself nicely in Saturday’s All-Star Skills Competition, scoring a beauty tight-angle one-timer in the Skills Challenge and scoring into the five hole from center ice in the new Four Line Challenge.
And then in Sunday’s All-Star Game, he scored three goals, including the game winner in the final against the Pacific Division, and was the first Flyer to be named MVP since Reggie Leach in 1980. He won a truck. He won a share of $1 million, split between he and his victorious Metropolitan Division teammates. He got a hug from Wayne Gretzky. He was coached by Wayne Gretzky.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” Simmonds said on NBC after the win. And that was before the MVP announcement.
MVP!— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
Simmonds wasn’t originally named one of the All-Star MVP options, which were sent out by the league in the final minutes of the game. (In typical NHL fashion, they did this while the game was tied.) But it’s hard to argue against a guy who had three goals -- two unassisted in the first game -- including the one that gave his teammates a million bucks.
WAYNE SIMMONDS GIVES THE METRO THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/nx7870Uo9v— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
Below are some of the highlights, including Simmonds’ other two goals, from the first two games at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Metropolitan Division 10, Atlantic Division 6
Wayne Simmonds came out of the gate with two unassisted goals and helped lead the charge as the Metro potted 10 in a lopsided win over the Atlantic. It was a little closer than the score indicated as the Metro piled on a bit towards the end.
Check out this view of Wayne Simmond's first goal, from the ref cam! pic.twitter.com/XL85ImoC5B— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
Wayne is in his office pic.twitter.com/4wk8ALygzv— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 29, 2017
Pacific Division 10, Chicago Blackhawks 3
The first game felt over before even the first Pacific Division goal was scored, as Connor McDavid and his squad dominated possession, piled up the scoring chances and waltzed to an easy 10-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Every single skater on the Pacific squad had a both a goal and an assist, with Cam Fowler and South Jersey Native Johnny Gaudreau leading the way with four points each. Jonathan Toews had a goal for Chicago, while Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith were each held without a point.