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STAR-GAZING

What makes Johnny Hockey one of a kind? Read up and take a look at some of his top highlights after being named to the NHL All-Star roster

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

All-Star [awl-stahr]

adjective
: An athlete chosen as the best at their position from all teams in a league or region;

noun
: Johnny Hockey

Some things never change.

The superstar forward is back where he belongs in the pantheon of the game's elite, rubbing elbows with fellow show-stoppers and representing the Flames at one of the marquee events on the calendar.

This, for the sixth time in his eight years on the circuit.

Is that Gaud?

 

 

"Why is he having a good season?" Darryl Sutter asked prior to the most recent road swing. "If it's only about goals and assists, and not about winning, that's kind of where this team was, right?

"But when you become the consummate team player, and are making plays away from the puck, or backchecking, or tracking back, or being in the right position on the ice, or managing the clock... Things like that - that's where I think Johnny has really, really, came to the front."

Lofty praise.

Indeed, it's been a year to remember for No. 13, elevating his game to new heights and bringing same, spellbinding, offensive magic that's made him of the NHL's preeminent puck wizards.

But don't take our word for it.

Take a peek at the highlights - the moments in time, frozen, like the goaltenders left in his wake. 

 

Video: CGY@BUF: Tkachuk, Gaudreau connect for nifty goal

 

He enters the game Thursday with 15 goals and a team-leading 38 points. He has three game-winners, 103 shots, and has gone pointless in only eight of 34 games.

His line with Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm has been a force this year, out-scoring their opponents by a whopping 25-7 margin at 5-on-5, out-chancing them two to one, and controlling the time of possession with a nearly 60% share of the even-strength shot volume.

Individually, Gaudreau has been the one stirring the drink for this club. A renewed commitment to the defensive side of the game led to his head coach calling him one of the top '200-foot' players in the league.

(Spoiler alert: He's right.)

His 27 points 5-on-5 are fifth-best, league wide, while his 3.87 goals/60 is also a new personal high-water mark.

Go ahead. Pick a stat.

Any and all.

On and on, the results tell us what many around these parts already knew.

But now, the bar has been raised.

"It speaks about his character," Sutter said. "It's simple. You know, this team got in trouble because all their goals were set outside the locker-room and it was about individuals. And that takes a long time to change.

"You look at it, we're almost a year into changing that. And where does that start? That starts with your top guys, the guys that get the credit - and then when they don't play well, they get the criticism.

"That's why you're talking about Johnny now. He's a good player and he's an easy guy to coach."

Certainly, numbers are only part of the equation. With Johnny, there's more to unpack.

It's about the sizzle. The highlight reels. The edge-of-your-seat moments that make datapoints like that all possible.

And there have been plenty of those this year.

From stunning, solo efforts...

 

Video: CGY@PIT: Gaudreau picks the corner on DeSmith

 

To breakaways…


Video: CGY@CAR: Gaudreau takes Gudbranson long pass, scores

Video: CGY@FLA: Gaudreau buries wicked wrister on the break

 

To saucy setups…


Video: CGY@ANA: Lindholm nets Gaudreau return pass in close

Video: CGY@DET: Gaudreau sets up Lindholm's opening goal


And the dirtiest of dangles…

 

Video: CGY@SJS: Gaudreau's sweet backhander

 

"It's fun," Lindholm said of his linemate. "The way he's played this year, it's fun to watch and from my side, it's fun to be a part of and be out there with him. He's been a really good player for us so far and keeps building his game and seems to have a lot of fun out there.

"He's one of the best playmakers I've played with."

And that, my friends, is definition of an All-Star.

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