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3-on-3 NHL All-Star Format Returns; Rosters Announced

Get to know who will be playing in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game, and by what rules.

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights /

The NHL All-Star Game is an event unlike any other. Especially by professional sports All-Star standards.

Where Major League Baseball features the timeless format of American League vs. National League, and the NFL similarly counters with AFC vs. NFC and the NBA with East vs. West, the NHL routinely strays from this pattern.

In the NHL, there are four All-Star teams of 11 players, one representing each of the league's divisions - Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan.

The four teams then face off, three players aside, in a one-night tournament. The annual fan vote determines each division's team captain.


Watch: Youtube Video


"I think being part of a couple of those other All-Star Games, the intensity was better," Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, a 2015-16 All-Star, said after the format's debut last winter.

"It was something close to what we do during the season and I thought the intensity was pretty good, especially at the end when we were trying to score a goal.

"It was pretty cool."

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Given the seal of approval by NHL players, the 3-on-3 format is returning for this year's All-Star Game on January 29 in Los Angeles.

As unconventional as this format seems, the NHL All-Star Game's willingness to forge its own path is a legacy rooted in the very beginning, to what's widely considered the first NHL All-Star Game in 1934.

That year, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted a charity game to benefit one of their players who sustained a career-ending injury earlier that season; the format featured the regular Maple Leafs roster against an All-Star team composed of players from the other seven teams.

Similarly, when the NHL All-Star Game became a permanent, annual tradition in 1947, its routine was to pit the defending Stanley Cup champions against an All-Star team made up of players from every other NHL team.

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Although the NHL settled on a "typical" Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference - or Wales Conference vs. Campbell Conference, as they were once called - for many years, the 1990s brought about even more creative changes.

From 1998-2002, the All-Star Game was formatted with all players born in North America on one team and all European players on another, often resulting in NHL teammates being on opposing sides in the All-Star Game.

2011 introduced a format where team captains were chosen via a fan vote, and then "picked" their teammates, schoolyard style, on NHL All-Star weekend.


Watch: Youtube Video


This led to the current format, for which the 2016-17 All-Star rosters were announced on Tuesday.

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Below are the rosters.

Pacific Division

19-year-old Edmonton Oilers star center Connor McDavid was voted the Pacific Division's captain. He currently leads the NHL with 48 points, just ahead of Sidney Crosby (44 points) and Patrick Kane (44 points).


Martin Jones (San Jose Sharks)
Mike Smith (Arizona Coyotes)


Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks)
Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks)
Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings)


Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings)
Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames)
Bo Horvat (Vancouver Canucks)
Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks)
Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)
Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers)

Central Division

The popular P.K. Subban, in his first season with the Nashville Predators after an offseason trade from the Montreal Canadiens, was voted captain of the Central Division. Despite missing time with an assortment of injuries, he currently has more goals (7) in 29 games than he did in 68 games with Montreal last season.


Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks)
Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild)


Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks)
P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)


Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Patrik Laine (Winnipeg Jets)
Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars)
Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues)
Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)

Atlantic Division

Carey Price is widely considered the NHL's best goalie. He's proven it again this year, where after his long-term injury knocked his Montreal Canadiens out of playoff contention last season, his return has brought his team into first place. With a 20-6-4 record, 2.12 goals-against average and .928 save percentage, he'll be the Atlantic Division captain.


Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)
Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins)


Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators)
Shea Weber (Montreal Canadiens)


Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins)
Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Frans Nielsen (Detroit Red Wings)
Kyle Okposo (Buffalo Sabres)
Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers)
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)
John Tavares (New York Islanders)

Metropolitan Division

Although only 29, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is well established as the face of the league. And following a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and his second Stanley Cup last spring, he has 26 goals in 33 games, the best goal-scoring start to a season of his career. Now he'll serve as Metropolitan Division captain.


Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals)


Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes)
Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers)


Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Taylor Hall (New Jersey Devils)
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers)
John Tavares (New York Islanders)

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