2016 NHL All-Star Week: FYI

Image Courtesy: Nashville Predators

Image Courtesy: Nashville Predators

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It’s Monday and that means it is officially NHL All-Star Week in Nashville! The city has been preparing for this event for over a month now, but if you walk around SoBro before this weekend, you’ll see most of the changes happening right in front of you.

Winter Park Public Outdoor Rink:
Of course, you are fully aware of the outdoor ice rink that’s been up and running since December 12th, but do you know it’s schedule? As a STH, you are given two complimentary tickets to skate on the Winter Park ice rink, but I have completely forgotten – and I bet a lot of you have, too. The rink will be torn down after all the festivities have packed up on January 31st, so this is your last week to get out there.

Ice rink hours: Opens:
Closes:
Monday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday 3:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.

I only mentioned through this Wednesday because there’s a good chance (because Fan Fair starts Thursday) that public skate times may be altered. For good measure, contact @PredsNHL on Twitter (or call, if you don’t tweet) to make sure you’re good to go before heading out there. $15/adult, $10/child and that includes skate rental.

NHL Fan Fair:
Ah, the NHL Fan Fair. The event my season ticket rep told me I could knock out in one day. Of course, I don’t have children, so it is feasible for me to do so. However, if you’ve got little kids, you might want to grab passes for two days so they can wear themselves out. Honestly, I’ll probably buy another day ticket just in case because of the player/alum meet-and-greets. If you are a STH, you missed your deadline to buy tickets at a discount, but they are only $20/piece, so it won’t break the bank if you choose to go last minute. Here is the breakdown of the schedule:

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 2016 – 4PM to 9PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
6:00pm Mascot Showdown (Musical Chairs & Bowling) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
7:00pm LOCASH Honda Stage
7:00pm Brent Burns (SJS) Discover Theater
8:15pm Lonestar Honda Stage
FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016 – 4PM to 9PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
3:00pm Craig Wayne Boyd Honda Stage
4:45pm Ryan Hurd Honda Stage
5:00pm Patrice Bergeron (BOS) Discover Theater
6:00pm Mascot Showdown (Relay Races) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
6:30 pm Matt Duchene (COL) presented by Reebok Autograph Stage
6:30pm Aaron Ekblad (FLA) Discover Theater
7:00pm Steven Lee Olsen Honda Stage
7:45pm Cliff Ronning (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
7:45pm Justin Faulk (CAR) Discover Theater
8:15pm Lewis Brice Honda Stage
SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016 – 10AM – 6PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
10:45am John Gibson (ANA) presented by Upper Deck Autograph Stage
11:00am Cory Schneider (NJD) Discover Theater
11:30am Lennon & Maisy Honda Stage
12:15pm Clare Bowen Honda Stage
12:30pm Brandon Saad (CBJ) Discover Theater
12:30pm Dylan Larkin (DET) presented by Upper Deck Autograph Stage
1:15pm Charles Esten Honda Stage
1:30pm Brandon Saad (CBJ) Autograph Stage
1:30pm Roman Josi (NSH) Discover Theater
2:00pm Mascot Showdown (Broomball & Dodgeball) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
3:00pm Luc Robitaille (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
3:45pm Pat LaFontaine (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
4:00pm Russell Dickerson Honda Stage
4:30pm Pat LaFontaine (NHL Alumni) Autograph Stage
4:45pm Kimmo Timonen (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2016 – 10AM – 4PM
TIME EVENT LOCATION
10:30am Danny Gokey Honda Stage
11:00am Shea Weber (NSH) Autograph Stage
11:00am Pekka Rinne (NSH) Discover Theater
11:30am MercyMe Honda Stage
12:00pm Pekka Rinne (NSH) Autograph Stage
12:00pm Shea Weber (NSH) Discover Theater
1:00pm Mascot Showdown (Dance Competition) EA Sports NHL 16 Rink
1:00pm Roman Josi (NSH) Autograph Stage
1:00pm Cliff Ronning (NHL Alumni) Discover Theater
2:30pm Tracy Lawrence Honda Stage
***PLEASE NOTE ALL APPEARANCES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE***

If you are a STH, you can access the NHL Fan Fair from 2PM to 4PM on Thursday. Not so nice for us folks who work during those hours, but hey. Late lunch, right? Can’t make it to this special time for STHs? No problem. There will be an area only accessible for Preds STHs where you can access drink specials and meet Preds alumni, broadcasters, and whoever else shows up. Not all diehard Predators fans are STHs, so there will be a special area called “Preds Land” that will have special Nashville-related displays and – you guessed it – Predators stuff. As for what (or who) will be there is still TBA.  As you can see, you can meet some NHL Alum and current players (I like how some players are presented by products) and there will be a mascot competition each day. Oh yeah, and music. Lots and lots of Country music.

Outdoor Concert Series:
As I mentioned, one of the unique features of Nashville hosting this year’s NHL All-Star festivities is the music. There will be music inside the Music City Center (NHL Fan Fair) and outside at the Winter Park. If you just want to peruse downtown and just want free music, this will be your best bet:

IntelliCentrics outdoor concert series:
Big & Rich Thursday, Jan. 28
Lee Brice, Aaron Lewis, John Hiatt Friday, Jan. 29
Chris Young, Tara Thompson Saturday, Jan. 30
Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band, Kelsea Ballerini Sunday, Jan. 31

Beyond the controversy of people not knowing the musical acts (we’ll get to that momentarily), there are some rather big names in Country music here that you can see for free. Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Chris Young, etc. If you are like me and live here and don’t see these people randomly show up at Tootsie’s on a Tuesday night, then you’ll enjoy this (I don’t go to the “honky tonks” period unless someone from out of town demands it).

Parking:
There are plenty of places to park downtown, especially if you are used to being in Nashville all the time. However, as a frequent downtown parker, you also know that Nashville does not have a regulation to control parking fees. Needless to say, the Music City Center may charge $25.00 whereas, across the street, the Baptist Church may charge $14 every four hours. It’s an ugly mess and no one wants to waste $25 to park when you want to use that money to buy something or eat. Ticketmaster is offering parking in the Pinnacle Building for just $12/day. Of course, with fees, it turns out to be like $15, but at least you’ll know you are in a safe parking lot, it won’t go up after two hours, and it’s within walking distance of the SoBro. The parking will go fast, so jump on it while you can or face driving around finding one:
Saturday Parking
Sunday Parking

Celebrity Coaches:
celebritiesKnow these faces? Apparently, the rest of the country does not. So that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it did make for some good laughs on social media when it was first announced. Just for those who are not from the Music City, a lot of locals couldn’t name these fellas either because – news flash – we listen to more than just Country here. But two guys on here (that I know from experience) are big Preds fans: Dierks Bentley (first picture) and Vince Gill (last picture). Vince Gill has had season tickets since the get-go and Dierks? I’m not sure, but I’ve seen him at a more than a few games over my fandom. I’ve seen Charles Kelley, too (second picture) and I’m sure Chris Young (third picture) has made it to the ‘Bridge a time or two for a game.

Source: Google - Big Ben and Vince Gill

Source: Google – Big Ben and Vince Gill

So, if you don’t know these guys, just know that two are big supporters of the Nashville Predators and the other two could possibly be – and that’s what really matters, right?

Skills Competition Format:
Team Captains Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Jaromir Jagr, and John Scott have yet to choose from the lineup of players who made the All-Star roster as to who will be on their teams & as to who will perform in which competition, but that’ll come soon enough. Right now, we have the All-Star Skills Competition format and I’ve complied some videos to help if you have never seen it before:

Bridgestone Fastest Skater:

Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break Mike Gartner’s record (13.386). If, at the completion of the event, two skaters are tied for the fastest overall time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink in an attempt to break the historical best record.

Points Available: 6 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner‘s record an additional bonus point will be awarded.

Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge:

Fans will have two opportunities to exercise their vote in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge. While five spots will be determined by team captains, one guaranteed spot in this event will be determined by the fans, who will vote on Twitter as part of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Fan Vote campaign.

The eligible candidates are forwards Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fans can vote via Twitter for their favorite eligible player by including his hashtag – #NHLBreakawayDuchene, #NHLBreakawayLarkin or #NHLBreakawaySaad. Voting will open on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. ET and close on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. ET.

Each team will provide one goalie to participate in this challenge. Each shooter will attempt two shots, and teams will alternate after each shot. Style, creativity, and flair are encouraged. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.

As soon as the last competitor completes his routine, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will get another opportunity to make their case on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will be crowned the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge winner and score one point for his team.

Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest percentage of fan votes scores one point.

DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting:

Four shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins.

Points Available: 5 –The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point.

Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay:

This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and two goalies from each team – will consist of four relays with five challenges each: One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers, passing and goalie goals in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.

Points Available: 3 – The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.

Amp Energy Hardest Shot:

Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

Points Available: 5 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point.

Discover NHL Shootout:

18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players, each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored; 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

If you aren’t a seasoned NHL vet or normally watch the All-Star weekend on television every year, you may think the actual game is the real winner here. Wrong. The Skills Competition is the most entertaining, as you get to see your favorite players (and not so favorite) in a more casual setting where it’s more about having fun than taking everything so seriously. If you can’t make the Skills Competition, it’ll be on NBC Sports at 6PM January 30th.

2016 NHL All-Star Game:
So you may have heard there is a new format to the game than previous years. In the past, the two team captains would conduct a draft, choosing which players to add to their roster. The last guy would end up with a car.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Our own Filip Forsberg won a car last year because he was picked last. How nice. Well, the League has done away with the draft and the two-team system. Now we have four teams and 3-on-3. What? Here, we’ll let the League explain:

* The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be a three-game tournament played in a 3-on-3 format with a prize pool of $1 million to be paid in its entirety to the tournament’s winning team.

* The tournament will feature four teams, one team representing each NHL Division: the Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic.

* Each team will be made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.

* The 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote will allow fans to vote for one All-Star player from each Division, without regard to position. The top vote-getter from each Division will be named NHL All-Stars, as well as Captain of his respective team.

* The remaining 40 NHL All-Stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department for a total of 44 All-Star players, with at least one player selected from each NHL team.

* The 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition™ returns to a matchup between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars on Saturday evening, with the winning conference earning the right to select when their semi-final matchup will be played; first or second on Sunday.

* Each game in the three-game, 3-on-3 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament will be 20 minutes in length.

* Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games that are tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.

* The Central Division All-Stars will face the Pacific Division All-Stars and the Atlantic Division All-Stars will face the Metropolitan Division All-Stars in the two Semi-Final games.

* The winners of each Semi-Final game will play each other in the All-Star Game Final to determine the overall tournament champion.

* The four division-leading NHL coaches (best points percentage following the completion of games on Jan. 9, 2016) will be named coaches for each of the four All-Star teams

Make sense? Well, we’ll all see how this will work on Sunday, January 31st at 4PM.

All-Star Roster:
I could just link my old post with the roster in it to this post, but that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? In case you haven’t seen who made the list – or you just need a refresher – behold:

Atlantic Division

F Patrice Bergeron (BOS)

Central Division

F Jamie Benn (DAL)

F Jaromir Jagr (FLA) F Matt Duchene (COL)
F Leo Komarov (TOR) F Patrick Kane (CHI)
F Dylan Larkin (DET) F Tyler Seguin (DAL)
F Ryan O’Reilly (BUF) F Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
F Steven Stamkos (TBL) F Jonathan Toews (CHI)
D Aaron Ekblad (FLA) D Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)
D Erik Karlsson (OTT) D Roman Josi (NSH)
D P.K. Subban (MTL) D Shea Weber (NSH)
G Ben Bishop (TBL) G Devan Dubnyk (MIN)
G Roberto Luongo (FLA) G Pekka Rinne (NSH)
Metropolitan Division Pacific Division
F Nicklas Backstrom (WSH) F Johnny Gaudreau (CGY)
F Claude Giroux (PHI) F Taylor Hall (EDM)
F Evgeni Malkin (PIT) F Joe Pavelski (SJS)
F Alex Ovechkin (WSH) F Corey Perry (ANA)
F Brandon Saad (CBJ) F John Scott (ARI)
F John Tavares (NYI) F Daniel Sedin (VAN)
D Justin Faulk (CAR) D Brent Burns (SJS)
D Kris Letang (PIT) D Drew Doughty (LAK)
D Ryan McDonagh (NYR) D Mark Giordano (CGY)
G Braden Holtby (WSH) G John Gibson (ANA)
G Cory Schneider (NJD) G Jonathan Quick (LAK)

Are you excited? You should be! Also, if you like beer, two local breweries have concocted some hockey brew just for this special occasion in our city:

Yazoo Brewery and Jackalope Brewery have both released special edition brews for your tasting pleasure. Yazoo’s “Winter Park Wheat” and Jackalope’s “All-Star Citra Pale Ale” are available in their taprooms. Check their Twitter handles for more info on where you can grab these puppies.

 Okay, so I hope I covered everything. If not, you can always visit the official NHL All-Star site for more information. Actually, do check that website or the Predators because events are subject to change if something happens. Also, if you are not from Nashville and have questions regarding the city or whatnot, please contact me via @Lady_Preds on Twitter & I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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