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Montreal an All Star venue

Jan 20, 2009 12:52 AM
Power Plays by by Mark Mayer |
last week

It’s a short week in the NHL due to the festivities leading up Sunday’s All Star Game in the cathedral of hockey, Montreal. If you like a lot scoring, this is THE hockey game not to be missed.

The annual midseason affair has been an East vs West format in three different eras since it began in 1947. The latest East vs West scenario began in 2003 and was interrupted in both 2005 (lockout) and 2006 (Olympics). The All Star Game used to pit the defending Stanley Cup champion against the All Stars. That lasted until 1969 when the event shifted to East vs West. (pictured Bell Centre)

In 1975, the All Star Game was changed to Campbell Conference vs Wales and lasted until 1993 when it again reverted to East vs West. From 1998-2002 it took on the World vs North America theme.

We can only hope the league can finally get this thing right.

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Carolina at Pittsburgh; After a 1-7 slide, the Penguins are 3-1 in their last 4 after have Sidney Crosby back. The visiting Hurricanes were on a five-game losing streak and played the night before against Toronto. PITTSBURGH.

Detroit at Phoenix: Detroit is 2-2 on its long trip West and has been sitting around for two full days thinking of going home. Phoenix is playing inspired hockey, winning four of the last 5. The Wings will draw a full house for the Coyotes’ return home. PHOENIX.

Wednesday, Jan. 21

Anaheim at NY Islanders: The Isles aren’t winning or scoring, but they are defending. Three straight under results and perhaps another with Anaheim possibly tired from the night before against the Rangers. UNDER.

Los Angeles at Colorado: Nice spot for the Avalanche, who catch the visiting Kings on four-game losing streak and having played the night before at Minnesota. Besides, Colorado has already defeated the Kings three times, including 6-1 at the Pepsi Center. COLORADO.

Sunday, Jan. 25

NHL All Star Game: With three Canadiens voted to the East starting lineup by the fans, this promises to be one of the more exciting All Star affairs. Interesting that not a single Detroit Red Wings player was voted to the West’s starting lineup. But, Pavel Datsyuk and Nikki Lidstrom will be there. I like the firepower of the East with Dany Heatley, Ilya Kovalchuk and Vincent Lecavalier as reserves. EAST.