Switching up formats for the fourth time in the last 18 years, the 2016 NHL All-Star Game will run a three-on-three tournament format pitting the Atlanta, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific Divisions against each other a $1 million prize and bragging rights.
After jettisoning the traditional East versus West format, then the North American versus the World, followed by a return to East vs. West, the NHL is hoping its exciting new three-on-three overtime rules can reinvigorate the All-Star Game after low ratings and lackluster fan interest.
The new format exactly parallels how the NHL has decided games that run to overtime during the regular season.
Each team sports nine skaters, or three lines, and two goalies, with the Central first facing the Pacific and the Atlanta squaring off against the Metropolitan division in the semifinals of the tournament. The games will be 20 minutes long, broken up into two 10 minutes halves. The semifinal winners then meet in the finals for the cash prize.
It’s stark contrast to the original All-Star format, but one that should generate excitement and potentially more scoring with so much more space for players to maneuver around defenses and ignite fastbreaks and one-on-one situations between goaltenders and potential scorers.
Much like the NFL has experienced with its Pro Bowl, several players have been forced to drop out due to injuries. Most recently, Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov was named the replacement for teammate and forward Alex Ovechkin on the Metropolitan’s squad due to a lower body injury and Nashville Predators forward James Neal steps in for Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews while he deals with an illness that forced him to pull out of the third period of Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Carolina.
Because of their absences, NHL rules state both Toews and Ovechkin will have to sit out Chicago and Washington’s first games of the second-half of the season.
Forty total players were selected to participate in this year’s game, with Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr captaining the Atlantic, the Islanders John Tavares the Metropolitan, the Blackhawks Patrick Kane the Central, and the Canadiens John Scott the Pacific.
The full rosters for game are below, as well as all the pertinent information to watch the matchup live.
Date, Time, Location: The puck drops on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. ET from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
Patrice Bergeron, Bruins; Jaromir Jagr, Panthers (captain); Leo Komarov, Maple Leafs; Dylan Larkin, Red Wings; Ryan O’Reilly, Sabres; Steven Samkos, Lightning
Aaron Ekblad, Panthers; Erik Karlsson, Senators; P.K. Subban, Canadiens
Ben Bishop, Lightning; Roberto Luongo, Panthers
Head coach: Gerard Gallant, Panthers
Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals; Claude Giroux, Flyers; Evgeni Malkin, Penguins; Evgeny Kuznetsov Captials (Alex Ovechkin, replacement); Brandon Saad, Blue Jackets; John Tavares, Islanders (captain)
Justin Faulk, Hurricanes; Kris Letang, Penguins; Ryan McDonagh, Rangers
Braden Holtby, Capitals; Cory Schneider, Devils
Head coach: Barry Trotz, Capitals
Jamie Benn, Stars; Matt Duchene, Avalanche; Patrick Kane, Blackhawks (captain); Tyler Seguin, Stars; Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues; James Neal, Predators (Jonathan Toews replacement)
Dustin Byfuglien, Jets; Roman Josi, Predators; Shea Weber, Predators
Devan Dubnyk, Wild; Pekka Rinne, Predators
Head coach: Lindy Ruff, Stars
Johnny Gaudreau, Flames; Taylor Hall, Oilers; Joe Pavelski, Sharks; Corey Perry, Ducks; John Scott, Canadiens (captain); Daniel Sedin, Canucks
Brent Burns, Sharks; Drew Doughty, Kings; Mark Giordana, Flames
John Gibson, Ducks; Jonathan Quick, Kings
Head coach: Darryl Sutter, Kings