Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sports: NHL (All-Star Game)

Hockey headed to the beach this weekend for a cool All-Star matchup that pits each division against each other in a final four tournament that consisted of three games. While I'm not very familiar with all of the players who made up the Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Metropolitan, I enjoyed watching the games of three-on-three and the two periods were full of exciting hockey action. After I do a quick recap of the tournament, I will take a look at each division of the NHL and look forward to the playoffs later this year. I don't usually have enough time to write about hockey and I'm pretty far behind on several other blog posts but as other sports wind down, I'll turn my attention to the brutal battle on ice. 

Western Conference: Central vs Pacific
The Pacific triumphed in this battle of the Western Conference but the Central started it off with a goal from Nathan McKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche. The Central were up at the end of the first period but the Pacific rallied back with goals from Drew Doughty of the LA Kings and James Neal of the new Las Vegas Golden Knights. P.K. Subban of one of my favorite teams the Nashville Predators tied the game at two with a goal for Central. It was all Pacific for the rest of the match with goals from Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks, Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, and James Neal again. The Pacific beat Central 5-2.

 Eastern Conference: Metro vs Atlantic

Final: Pacific vs Atlantic
The Pacific triumphed in the final but I was unable to find a logo that they used in the game or a big enough one on the websites. Richard Rakell of the Anaheim Duck scored first for the Pacific followed by a goal from Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks. Mike Green of the Detroit Red Wings got the first goal for the Atlantic. Drew Doughty of the LA King put the Pacific up 3-1 at the end of the first half. 
Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames started the Pacific scoring in the second half. Mike Green got another point for the Atlantic, the only offense from them. Richard Rakell added one more point to the Pacific lead to take the game for the Pacific 5-2.

The newest team in the NHL has taken the top of the Pacific with some draft rules that I believe helped them create one of the best teams in the league. The San Jose Sharks are the closest team but they are far behind the only professional team in Las Vegas. I look forward to seeing how they perform in the playoffs and purchasing a hat with the controversial logo if they win.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have the best record in the NHL and a healthy lead atop their division. Plenty of all-stars are on the team which helped propel this division to the top spot. The Boston Bruins are the closest team behind them and should have a high spot in the playoff bracket. A Tampa versus Vegas final would be exciting.

The Winnipeg Jets play the Golden Knights tomorrow to start off February and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning before the all-star break. Their rise the top must have pretty recent because I recall the St. Louis Blues at the top while the Nashville Predators, the loser in the Stanley Cup finals last year, are in second now after a rough start. I am rooting for nearby Nashville to win the Stanley Cup trophy this year. 

The Washington Capitals are at the top for now but the two-time reigning champs the Pittsburgh Penguins are on the rise. I've been following the Penguins this year since they won last year and I purchased a hat and I've seen them slump at the beginning only to turn around in the last few weeks. The two teams face off on Friday night in Pittsburgh so we'll get to see who is better right now as the second half of the season picks up steam. My favorite team the Columbus Blue Jackets have suffered lately and dropped down into the Wild Card spot. 

I'm not a huge hockey fan but after an argument over whether it was more entertaining than basketball I have watched a few games and followed several teams. I'm lucky that the two teams nearby, Columbus and Nashville, and therefore the most televised in this region are both pretty solid teams to watch and root for. Hockey is pretty exciting but I think basketball is still more entertaining. 

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