Gretzky and Lemieux, Ovechkin and Crosby, throughout the league’s history, the NHL is full of great rivalries that shape a generation. Oftentimes, fans can’t help but think about what would happen if two of the best players in the world were to put aside their respective club jerseys and don the same colours for just one game. That’s where the All-Star Game comes in.
The All-Star Game is one of the only situations where regular-season division rivals get the chance to play together for once, making for some highly anticipated hockey. In Las Vegas, there will be no shortage of fun linemates that fans will remember for years to come. The fans are not the only ones who look forward to events like the All-Star Game. The players selected relish the opportunity to play with friends, rivals, and even those considered to be enemies, that they never usually get the chance to play with at the All-Star Game. In Las Vegas, the players have made their picks prior to Sunday’s festivities as to who they are most excited to skate with instead of against.
Connor McDavid – The Young Guns Like Troy Terry
McDavid has played his fair share of All-Star Games so far throughout his seven-year career. In that time span, he has played with some elite Pacific Division stars, but as we all know, new talent is joining the league every year, and in the two years since the last time there was an NHL All-Star Game, there are plenty of young players who have made huge strides in their careers. Troy Terry is one such player that the Edmonton Oilers captain mentioned as being excited to play alongside at this year’s three-on-three tournament in Las Vegas.
“You know, I’ve been at this event a few times, and have played with a lot of the Pacific Division All-Stars now, and there are some of the new guys coming in like (the) Troy Terry’s and whatnot, so I’m pretty excited to play with some of those young guys,” said the Edmonton Oilers captain.
While McDavid and Terry are actually the same age and were both drafted in 2015, not every player enters the NHL as a superstar right away. For some, it takes a few years to really find their game like Terry. Despite taking different paths to get to this stage, both McDavid and Terry alike are NHL All-Stars.
Troy Terry – Teaming Up With McDavid And Getting To Know the Guys
Upon learning that Connor McDavid mentioned his name as a player he was excited to skate alongside, Terry got “goosebumps”.
“When your coming to an All-Star Game, the guy that stands out to everyone is Connor McDavid. I mean, he’s someone that everyone in the league follows, everyone in the league is in awe of, and I’ve always been impressed with how he handles himself. He’s someone that I’m sure if you asked anyone here, they were excited to meet Connor McDavid, so just to hear you say that makes me pretty happy. I’m really glad we are on the same team for this and I’ll be able to spend some time with him and Leon [Draisaitl] and all the guys on our team.”
Clayton Keller: Going For Defence
The All-Star Game is undoubtedly an offence-first event. Most rosters this year only have one blue-liner on the team. But for Arizona Coyotes star forward Clayton Keller, when asked who he is most excited to play in Las Vegas, Keller highlighted the skill of the entire roster, but zeroed in on one player in particular. He is most excited to play with a standout offensive defenseman over anyone else this weekend.
“I mean, the whole roster, but probably Cale Makar. A guy like him is unbelievable to watch, the goals he scores, the plays he makes, how good he is defensively, so he’s definitely a great guy that I just met this week and it’s been fun chatting with him, too.”
Alex Pietrangelo: Looking Forward To Coasting On His Teams Scoring Abilities
As the only defenceman on the Pacific Division roster, one can assume that Alex Pietrangelo will have his work cut out for him, especially when going up against so many elite scorers. But the Golden Knights rearguard is not too worried about his workload on Saturday afternoon. Pietrangelo is looking forward to not having to chase around one of the fastest players in the game and letting them outscore their opponents in this offence-first event.
“I mean, yeah, I’ve never played with Connor [McDavid]” Pietrangelo said. “Like I said, I’ve chased him around a whole lot of times, so I think too when you get to see everybody here in this element, the three-on-three, kind of a more relaxed environment, you really get an appreciation for how skilled the guys are in the league, and sometimes you kind of just take a step back and enjoy.”
Auston Matthews – Can’t wait to play with “Patcheats Bergeron”
With a bit of a snarky remark, Auston Matthews expressed his excitement to play with one of the Leafs’ biggest rivals in Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.
“I mean, a lot of guys, but a guy like with Patcheats Bergeron (Matthews said laughing) with his face-off skillset, he’s a tough guy to go against in all areas, but especially the face-off circle, so I’m excited I’ll get a couple of shifts out there,” Matthews added.
Jack Campbell – As Humble As Ever
“I’m just glad to have this guy on my side as always” The Maple Leafs goaltender said regarding Auston Matthews.” “It’s always amazing playing with such a great leader,” he added.
Campbell also had high praise for fellow Atlantic Division goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. “Vasi [Andrei Vasilevskiy] for sure too, I love playing him, but he’s tough, so it’ll be fun to go battle tomorrow with him and the rest of the guys.”
Jonathan Marchessault – Hopes To Recieve Passes From Draisaitl
Showing some love to the player who sits in second place in the NHL scoring race, the home crowd favourite Jonathan Marchessault hopes he will get the chance to get some ice time with the German superstar.
“Well, obviously a guy like Leon Draisaitl is an impressive player,” Marchessault said. “I mean, he’s so gifted offensively and the way he shows the puck and passes as well, everything is so flat on the ice always, so it’s going to be fun. I don’t know if I’m going to be playing with him, but I’ll be able to see him close, so it’s going to be good.”
Chris Kreider – Focused On Not Getting Benched
Chris Kreider is enjoying a career year and currently sits atop the league in goals. Known for his aggressive net-front play over the course of his career, Kreider has proved this year more than ever that he can do it all. He placed third in Friday’s fastest skater competition and is the kind of player you want in a three-on-three tournament. But despite his proven versatility, Kreider has been instructed to play the way that got him to the NHL in the first place at the All-Star Game.
Not knowing who he would be playing with, the one thing Kreider knows for sure is his role for the Metro All-Stars.
“If I had to pinpoint one I mean there are so many good players on the metro roster, I’m not entirely sure who I’m going to be playing with yet but whoever I’m playing with it’s going to be a lot of fun,” the Rangers winger said. “My captain (Claude Giroux) already told me that if I’m not around the net, then I’m not going to play, so I’ve gotta make sure that I get to the blue paint, or else Claude’s gonna glue me to the bench,” Kreider added.
Meier – Excited To Not Have To Worry About Backchecking Against Elite Speed.
Regardless of the score on any given night against the Oilers, players will agree that defending against the speed and skill of the Edmonton duo of McDavid and [Leon] Draisaitl is no easy task. For San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, he is not only excited to be playing with the Oilers superstars, but is more excited to not have to worry about defending against them.
“I think all of those guys. There’s so much skill,” Meier said. “Connor McDavid, [Leon] Draisaitl, all these guys, it’s gonna be fun to be on the same team and don’t have to worry about their speed coming your way and making sure that you get caught on the backcheck against them.”
Jordan Kyrou – Loves The Speed
After beating out previous winners of the Fastest Skater competition in Connor McDavid and Dylan Larkin, it was no surprise that Kyrou just loves to play with those who are as fast as he is.
“Obviously [Connor] McDavid for sure, he’s the fastest in the league, so it’ll be tough.”
Everyone at the All-Star Game is a star player and for guys like Leon Draisaitl and the youngest all-star this year, Jack Hughes, picking just one player seemed tougher to them than it was for them to make it to the All-Star Game in the first place.
Jack Hughes – Focused On Winning
“I don’t know. I mean, you know, we played most of these eight times last year in just the divisional games, so it’ll be cool to play with some of these guys, and we want to win, too, so we had fun and we’ll feel it out, and then hopefully it’ll get pretty competitive. I’m really excited for the three-on-three tomorrow.”
Leon Draisaitl – Couldn’t Pick Just One
“No, I couldn’t pick one player. They’re all so special. They’re all so good in their own way and it’s always fun being here and getting to be around different players that you don’t get to see on a daily basis, so yeah it’s fun, I’m sure it’ll be a good weekend” Draisaitl said.
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