While All-Star games in all major league sports are the subject of intense scrutiny and ridicule, they are still around and this Sunday should be a fun one. I don’t care what people say, seeing a half-hearted (if that) effort from the league’s best (and John Scott…we still love ya big fella!) ending in a 12-10 game is still fun for me. How can you not appreciate players juggling pucks 5-feet off the ice in an attempt to go OVER a defender instead of around him!?
This year, the NHL tried to spice things up by picking up the pace with a little 3-on-3 tournament and awarding $1 Million to the winning team. Each division has a fan voted captain, plus league chosen All-Stars. Even with the way the NHL handled the John Scott situation (the 6’8 goon who is currently in the minor leagues) after being mock voted-in by the fans, this is sure to be fun.
Between a 19-year-old super-rookie (Dylan Larkin) a 43, soon to be 44-year-old living legend Jaromir Jagr and Pacific Captain John Scott and $1M on the line there is an abundant mix of talent, personality and good times to have had in Smasvhille. Here is a look at the lineups:
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning 1/27/16 Preview
Toronto Maple Leafs (17-21-9) at Tampa Bay Lightning (26-18-4) (7 pm EST)
The Lightning are well rested, having not played since suffering a 5-2 defeat at the hands of division and state rivals the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. That loss ended a seven-game win streak they had going, and the Maple Leafs themselves lost to the Panthers last night as well, 5-1.
With that loss and the approaching All-Star break, the Lightning want to finish strong and get two points tonight. The Maple Leafs are probably just thinking about the beach (and not in Tampa), so another blowout loss could be on the horizon.
Nikita Kucherov has been the DFS player of the week over the past seven days. His 11 points over the last eight games summarize that, and is the team’s leading scorer since the season began.
Defenceman Victor Hedman is on fire himself of late, scoring 10 points in his last eight games.
Steven Stamkos‘ name has been a target of the media for the last few years due to his impending free agency status, and even though they have begun contract negotiations Leaf fans can still dream of their hometown boy coming home. A matchup with your boyhood team often brings out the best in athletes so don’t be surprised if Stammer has himself a nice outing tonight.
Leo Komarov will be the only Maple Leaf around the rink this weekend as he is the club’s lone All-Star representative, so don’t be surprised if he’s the only Leaf to bring his A-game tonight…not that his A-game is to be feared. Komarov only has one goal in his last 15 games.
If you’re looking for a mid-range option who may pot a goal, Maple Leaf Nazem Kadri has a goal in two straight.