With only two Sharks games on the docket this week, we’re mixing this space up a little bit to celebrate San Jose’s hosting of the NHL Honda Mastercard Bridgestone Geico Southwest Airlines Newman’s Own All-Star Weekend Cotillion. There was no shortage of memorable moments, missed shots and timely boos, and we’re here to celebrate the best of the best until we host the next one in ... carry the two ... 2041. We’ll be back to normal next week with Hertl hat tricks and boring old hockey again.
As the festivities of the 2019 All-Star weekend wind down, and the odds of running into EJ Hradek at Whole Foods diminish away, we here at Fear the Fin face the eminently enviable task of handing out the awards for the best and most memorable of the weekend. Next week, we’ll be back to Actual Analysis of the Sharks games and position in the NHL, as they’ll be coming off of a bye week into the season’s final stretch, but for now, the best of the weekend take center stage.
1. Jagger Burns
While Nate Pavelski may have been the better flosser (with Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper coming in a close second), Burns the younger took center stage this weekend, scoring goals, autographs, and what appears to be a lifelong friendship with Erik Karlsson. This may be the last time we get to see live what Burns has to offer before he’s drafted first overall in 2030. If this weekend was any indication, Jagger takes after his father in personality, skill and shot-blocking tendencies.
Lil Burns and Lil Pavelski get the breakaway goal pic.twitter.com/9U8UF3ocZa— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 26, 2019
Due credit to Pavelski for the finish here, but Burns’ ability to drop a no look, between-the-legs pass coming across the blue line helped to draw Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Carlton Bear out toward the face off dot. Further, Burns’ presence outside the slot helped to distract Carlton, forcing the latter to respect the blistering snap shot that flows through young Jagger’s veins. While Carlton stood paralyzed, Pavelski launched the puck past him for the goal. Burns’ sportsmanship is commendable here, even sharing his glory with Bailey, throwing petty rivalries aside to enjoy the sweet glow of success.
2. SJ Sharkie
We’re all getting pretty spoiled by hat tricks these days, and Sharkie jumped on the crowded train this weekend. Okay, it’s not that crowded, it’s just him and Tomas Hertl sitting together and eating popcorn. Still, Sharkie’s hat trick propelled the Western Conference to victory in the mascots’ game and his sneaky stinger stung Stinger out of the dodge ball contest earlier in the weekend. Add in his love/hate romance/rivalry with Gritty, and you have the makings of a star. Sharkie made the most of his spotlight this weekend.
Carlton had a rough weekend. Sharkie victimized the poor polar pal en route to a hat trick in the mascots game and was the clear MVP, leading his teammates to the win. Further, Sharkie’s timely snipe was the ending volley of the mascots’ dodge ball game, finishing Columbus’ Stinger and sealing yet another victory for the West.
3. Brianna Decker
The NHL’s inclusion of the American and Canadian Olympic women’s teams into the skills competition on Friday was inspired, and nowhere was it more exciting than Brianna Decker’s demonstration of the passing challenge. Usually the least exciting of the NHL’s skills events, Decker’s demonstration was later determined to be the fastest of the players to follow her, including presumptive winner Leon Draisaitl. While Decker’s unofficial time recorded at the event appeared to be 1:06, besting Draisaitl’s 1:09, the NHL later checked Decker’s time and came up with a figure of 1:12-13. Since the league has never met a good idea that it couldn’t skillfully dodge, the opportunity arose for hockey equipment company CCM to fill Decker’s wallet appropriately.
Decker may not have officially won the passing challenge, but CCM won a lot of new fans the next day.
4. Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews appears to have perfected the art of the face turn. Before taking his turn at the accuracy shooting challenge, Matthews removed his jersey to reveal a black and white Patrick Marleau All-Star jersey underneath. Seeing Matthews wearing the appropriate teal would have been too much to ask maybe, but it was a great gesture and the crowd loved it. Marleau couldn’t be at the All-Star game himself, but he was well represented by his adopted son, Auston.
Watching this clip still makes me smile. We can’t wait until Matthews signs with the Coyotes in the 2025 off-season so he can come hang out with us more.
5. Kendall Coyne-Schofield
With a quick lap around the SAP Center ice, Kendall Coyne-Schofield became the first woman to compete in an NHL All-Star skills competition. And compete she did, surprising more than a few NHLers with her wheels, and coming in with a time faster than Clayton Keller’s run. Serenaded by chants of “USA! USA!” from the SAP Center faithful, Coyne attempted an interview after the run, during which she was asked such pointed questions as “what was your strategy?”
History was made and barriers were broke. It was such an honor to be the first woman to compete in the @nhl All Star Skills Competition last night. I can’t wait to see what the future holds! #NHLAllStar pic.twitter.com/Sc125oBGCx— Kendall Coyne Schofield (@KendallCoyne) January 26, 2019
Coyne’s reply, as one would expect: “Skate as fast as I can.”
Marc-Andre Fleury: Not for the snow walls he’s been leaving across goal lines lately, not for his excellent golden gloves and pads, but really just for this:
Henrik Lundqvist: In winning the NHL’s save streak challenge, the King of New York joined the hallowed halls of this thing the league made up a while ago. Still, Hank impressed us all with his boyish charm and very good suits.
Olivia Burns: The newest baby shark do do do do do do made her official appearance to the SAP Center crowd, and we’re all very happy about it:
See you all next week for real hockey again!