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A fun weekend ends, and now, the road awaits

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

What an incredible weekend.

First off, a tip of the cap goes to Nashville, the Predators, their fans, and the players for an unforgettable All-Star Weekend. It was a blast to watch from start to finish, capped off by a terrific ending to one of those stories we’ll look back on in generations ahead.

John Scott. How unbelievably cool was that?

Not only did he play in the game and score two pretty darn sweet goals, but he was undeniably the highlight of the weekend. He was first-class and handled it all so well, and equally cool was having his entire family along with him – including wife Danielle, who’s nine months pregnant with twins.

His Pacific Division All-Stars got the job done and won the inaugural 3-on-3 All-Star tournament with a 1-0 (whaaaaaat) victory over the Atlantic Division, which you may or may not consider to be an upset. It truly was the All-Star Game we never thought we’d see: backchecking, great defensive plays, ridiculously good goaltending, and a competitive level that was refreshing more than anything.

So, when the NHL announced its three candidates for All-Star Game MVP in the third period – Scott not listed among them – it was time for Twitter to take over.

And once again, Twitter (and the NHL) delivered.

The voting results were so overwhelmingly in favor of #VoteMVPScott, with multiple NHL team Twitter accounts leading the charge, that Scott was then considered a “write-in candidate,” and was named MVP a short while later. Perfection.

The ending to a great story could not have been written any better.

What do you think? It sure looks like the NHL has found a successful formula with the new All-Star Game format. The players were into it, the fans were into it, and there was plenty of fun and personality mixed in along the way. Hopefully they keep the game plan intact for next year’s festivities in Los Angeles.

It was also a fantastic, memorable weekend for Blue Jackets All-Star Brandon Saad, who was named to the league's midseason classic for the first time. The 23-year-old was looking forward to a number of things, but near the top of his list was having the chance to meet his boyhood idol, Jaromir Jagr.

Saad made sure not to tell Jagr, now 43 years young and in the midst of an impressive campaign with the Florida Panthers, that No. 68 has been in the NHL for as long as Saad’s been alive. Good call on that one.

But there will be many All-Star Games in the future for Saad, who’s the Blue Jackets’ goal-scoring leader and on pace for 30-plus goals for the first time. He was a busy guy in Nashville, starting with a two-day Twitter campaign (#NHLBreakawaySaad prevailed, in case you hadn’t heard), Media Day, All-Star Friday Night, NHL Fan Fair, three events at the Skills Competition and Sunday’s main event.

The Blue Jackets (and me) are heading west this morning – Edmonton, to be exact – as the season’s unofficial second half begins tomorrow night. It’s going to be interesting to watch the Blue Jackets over the next 31 games, beginning this week, when they play three games in three cities in four days.

Last year, the Blue Jackets swept the three-game swing for the first time ever. That was fun.

If there’s anything you want to see covered, whether it’s in written form, via photos, or on social media, let me know. I'm sure I'll be talking about things I eat, too.

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