The NHL All-Star Weekend is upon us, with the best of the best competing in skills competitions and a conference-friendly game. It’s the time for elite hockey players from every team to showcase skills they’ve been perfecting in their parents’ basements since they were 12 and flash their spunky, outgoing personalities – unless you’re Connor McDavid, whose biggest personality trait is having none.
Every year, there seems to be a moment or two that goes viral and lives all over our Twitter or Instagram feeds for a week – which is the equivalent of an eternity in social media years. Here’s my top five moments from NHL All-Star Weekend that I think about more often than I should.
NHL All-Star Weekend Moments That Live In My Head Rent-Free
#1: Kendall Coyne Schofield Flies Through Glass Ceiling
In 2019, I was amped to learn there would finally be some female representation in San Jose, California for the All-Star Skills Competition. It was the USA’s Kendall Coyne Schofield, fresh off an Olympic women’s hockey gold medal in PyeongChang, skating up to the line for the Fastest Skater competition. I don’t know where the bar was set; the American was going up against franchise names like Connor McDavid, Mathew Barzal, Clayton Keller and Jack Eichel and was fresh off a five-hour flight without any leg warm-up. But wherever it was set, she snapped it over her knee and threw it far away.
Kendall Coyne became the first woman to compete in the fastest skater at #NHLAllStar— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 26, 2019
And she FLEW pic.twitter.com/s1ha00NUvx
After soaring past the finish line with her golden ponytail blowing behind her, Kendall recorded a 14.526 time. It was McDavid who won the event for the third straight year with a time of 13.378. Keep in mind, Coyne Schofield is five-foot-two in comparison to McDavid’s 6-1 stride. She got nods from the best in the league, all expressing how impressed they were by her speed. It was quite the reminder that girls can do anything guys can do and, of course, hockey is for everyone.
#2: John Scott’s Joke ... But The Joke Was On Us
I’m still debating whether this memory was a feverish dream or not. Remember in 2016 when we all gathered on Twitter trying to be funny by using the fan vote to get journeyman John Scott to be captain of the Pacific Division all-stars? And then ... he actually got in, despite the league’s best efforts to stand in the way – Scott being waived by the Arizona Coyotes, sent to the AHL, picked up by the Montreal Canadiens and sent to the AHL again. But the joke stood and the punchline was even better.
Heading into All-Star Weekend in Nashville, Scott had a memorable five goals in 285 games across nine NHL seasons. But, there he was, wearing the C for the Pacific in three periods where the most skilled in the league compete. He hopped over the boards for his first shift and tipped in a shot by Brent Burns to, shockingly, score a goal. Later on, he found himself on a breakaway and fired a shot over Devan Dubnyk’s shoulder to get his second of the night. Yup, you heard it right. Scott went on to win All-Star MVP. It was supposed to be a joke, but it turned into a childhood movie miracle story instead.
No better all star weekend than the John Scott year. Any other opinions are wrong https://t.co/ghq4PHgPzn— Goon (@TonyDeanPuleo) January 31, 2023
#3. Zdeno Chara, Please Don’t Hurt Me
It was in 2012 when I first saluted anyone and everyone who ever blocked a shot off the stick of Boston Bruins giant Zdeno Chara. We already knew the puck would turn into a lethal weapon when the six-foot-nine Chara wound up. Then, in Ottawa, the defenseman fired a shot that registered at a whopping 108.8 miles per hour. The numbers were enough to set a new record in NHL all-star history, though Chara’s competition was himself, having put up 105.9 MPH in 2009.
Zdeno Chara still holds the #NHLAllStar hardest shot record, clocking in at 108.8 mph back in 2012— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) January 23, 2020
Will anybody top that in Friday's Skill Comp? https://t.co/rtA6SPyZeT pic.twitter.com/RIOsYxVeyr
That record was kind of broken in 2020 when the AHL’s Martin Frk from the Ontario Reign clocked in at 109.2 MPH during the AHL Skills Competition, though some conspiracy theorists may say vaccines give superpowers! Regardless, to anyone who has blocked Chara’s shot and lived to tell the story – you’re my hero.
#4: Realizing Trevor Zegras Isn’t Really Real
This one is fresh in my subconscious. The Anaheim Ducks’ Trevor Zegras stunned us last year in the All-Star Breakaway Challenge. First of all, you knew it was going to be good when the 21-year-old blindfolded himself at center ice. I was already impressed because I can barely skate with 20/20 vision. Then the forward glided up the ice, did a few spins carrying the puck on the edge of his stick and easily slipped it past the goalie – who could see very well, unlike Zegras. Also, the uniform from the cult-classic film Dodgeball was a nice touch.
Wasn't this decided during all star weekend with @tzegras11 https://t.co/TwUDGHUKAJ pic.twitter.com/q7LY4yYwTU— Nick McCardell (@UKhoops1_BBN) August 3, 2022
Now, the New York native is a poster boy for skill and being a magician – stick and puck edition. He’s coined his “Michigan” style goal, a lacrosse-style carry around neck level and into the top pocket of the net. It became so popular (more than those Fortnite dances you see eight-year-olds breaking down at the arenas) that it is featured as a move in the NHL video game. I wonder what other tricks Zegras has up his sleeve?
#5: Jaromir Jagr’s Doppelganger Makes Debut
Another All-Star Breakaway Challenge special ... I mean, it is one of the highlights of the weekend. In 2016, you did a double take when a player in a Florida Panthers jersey sporting long curly hair soared to the middle of the ice to showcase his best breakaway attempt. But, if you squinted really closely, you realized it was actually P.K. Subban disguised as Jaromir Jagr. I know, you can barely tell the difference.
Dieser Moment, als P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) bei den #NHLAllStar Skills als Jaromír Jágr (@68Jagr) zur Breakaway Challenge antritt! 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/qC4PsxXmbW— NHL Deutsch (@NHLde) January 30, 2023
Leave it to Subban, who retired last season, to put on the best performance of the night. The defenseman is the definition of a likable, hilarious personality. I’m still debating if this lives in my head because the tribute was iconic or whether it’s because the wig haunts me in my sleep.