South Florida and FLA Live Arena hosted the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend. On Thursday, the event kicked off with a beach festival. Players participated in media day, and fans enjoyed activities to test their hockey skills.
The NHL ALL-Star Skills Competition featured three new events this year: Pitch ‘n Puck, Splash Shot and Tendy Tandem.
The event began with the 2023 Norris and Conn Smythe trophy winner, Cale Makar, blowing a tire in the Faster Skater competition. Makar later redeemed himself, winning Splash Shot with Avalanche teammate Mikko Rantanen. Kings’ Kevin Fiala and Canes’ Andrei Svechnikov advanced to the Fastest Skater finals, Svechnikov winning with a time of 13.699 seconds.
Tendy Tandem was a revamped goaltender skills competition. It also featured five female skaters, including Sarah Nurse and Hilary Knight. The Central Division goalies, Connor Hellebuyck and Juuse Saros won with 13 points.
Despite only taking 9.4 seconds to go 4-for-4 in the qualifying round of Accuracy Shooting, Oilers’ Connor McDavid was unable to hold off Flames’ Nazem Kadri in the semifinals. Kadri was then beaten by Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders. Canadiens’ captain Nick Suzuki won the Pitch ‘n Puck event, and Vancouver Canuck Elias Pettersson dominated the Hardest Shot competition with a speed of 103.2 MPH. Petterson was the only competitor to break 100 MPH on both attempts.
The fan-favorite Breakaway challenge returned for a second year since 2016. Matthew Tkachuk pulled out all the stops involving his brother Brady as well as the Florida Panther and Miami Dolphins captains. Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby put their rivalry aside for the night and teamed up for this event. They included four-year-old Sergi Ovechkin, who stole the show, receiving a perfect score of 40 from the panel of celebrity judges.
NHL All-Star Game
The Central took the first game beating Connor McDavid and the Pacific 6-4. The Metro and Atlantic was a high-scoring back-and-forth game until the Atlantic ultimately ran away with it in the second period. The final score was 10-6.
The final match-up was between the Central and the Atlantic Division; both teams have yet to win an All-Star game since the switch to a 3-on-3 tournament in 2016. The Atlantic won 7-5 with explosive offense and great goaltending. Dylan Larkin had 6 points throughout both games, scoring a hat trick during the finals.
Host team all-star Matthew Tkachuk was a standout all weekend and was awarded MVP. He played on the starting line with his brother Brady as well as his Panther teammate Aleksander Barkov. Thirty-seven seconds into the first period, Tkachuk gave the Atlantic the lead and kept the Pacific scoreless through one. Tkachuk had 7 points on Saturday, one point behind Sidney Crosby’s 2019 record for most points in an All-Star tournament.
It just only makes sense!!! pic.twitter.com/SDFOOhmKVR
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 5, 2023
NHL Events on Deck
Before the All-Star Game, it was announced that the 2024 event will be held in Toronto. The next major NHL event is on February 18th at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Washington Capitals will take on the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes in the Stadium Series.