Team Atlantic wins 2023 NHL All-Star Game
Team Atlantic defeated Team Central 7-5 to win the 2023 NHL All-Star Game at FLA Live Arena on Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:
• Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored three goals for Team Atlantic in the final. Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, Bruins forward David Pastrňák and Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin were Team Atlantic’s other goalscorers.
• Team Central’s five goalscorers were Avalanche forwards Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, Stars forward Jason Robertson and Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.
• Team Atlantic advanced to the final after scoring six unanswered goals against Team Metropolitan in the semifinal, winning 10-6. Team Central defeated Team Pacific 6-4 in their semifinal.
The format of the All-Star Game consisted of four divisions — Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific — competing in a single-elimination tournament. There were two semifinal games, with the winner of each game advancing to the final.
Team Atlantic was not only crowned the All-Star Game champion but was awarded a $1 million prize. Every game in the tournament was three-on-three, consisting of two 10-minute periods. This format has been in place since 2015-16.
All anyone should expect from an All-Star Game, whatever the sport, is that a few memorable things take place and that the competitors generally look engaged. We ultimately got that today, but it was dodgy for a bit. The first game (Pacific vs. Central) was particularly brutal. I get that the players would rather have done something else over a long weekend; same goes for me. But, fellas, have you considered smiling? Celebrating after goals? Trying to do something fun? Faking it for a few minutes? The target demo for this stuff is eight-year-olds. Maybe the NHL needs to make the whole thing more appealing for players. Maybe the players need to be nudged in the right direction. But the standard is low, and they’re just barely meeting it. — Gentille
The star of the afternoon was Matthew Tkachuk, who was playing in front of his home fans. That’s probably how it should work; he’s got a sense of showmanship that a lot of players lack. Naturally, he won MVP — but Larkin, his teammate on the Atlantic side, deserves some credit, too. The Red Wings center busted his ass all afternoon. He backchecked! Like, multiple times! Also, he popped in a hat trick in the final. Not bad for a UFA-to-be.
The Sidney Crosby–Alex Ovechkin love affair was also fun to watch. Those guys have always had a frenemy thing going on, and the blood was legitimately bad a bunch of years ago. This weekend, they were just a couple of old dudes playing on a line together, trying to have a good time. And hey, they connected for a few goals. What more could you ask for? — Gentille