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Top 10 moments from All-Star Weekend

NHL legends, past and present, create unforgettable four days

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

LOS ANGELES -- It was a 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend filled with history, legends, celebrities and so many skillful plays by the stars of today.

Here are the top 10 moments, in chronological order, of a weekend in Los Angeles that will never be forgotten:

 
1. Scenes from the hotel lobby

The lobby inside the JW Marriott at L.A. Live, the NHL's main headquarters for All-Star Weekend, was abuzz morning, afternoon and night and filled with legends dotting the list of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian.

If you were a hockey nut, an NHL legend or frankly anybody in between who wanted to see legends, meet them, get autographs, take pictures or just mingle, the lobby was the place to be.

Thursday night you would have seen Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent having dinner together, Jari Kurri and Sergei Fedorov sitting together, Jacques Lemaire and Serge Savard, and so many more.

Friday morning you would have seen Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky having a chat near the elevators before walking past Luc Robitaille, Martin Brodeur, Mario Lemieux, Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios. Gretzky, Chelios, Robitaille, Ron Francis, Joe Nieuwendyk and Paul Coffey were among a handful of top 100 players eating breakfast together Sunday morning.

Dare we say the lobby was a legendary spot?

 
2. A press conference for the ages

Never before had Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux sat at the same podium for a press conference. It happened Friday before they were revealed among the remaining 67 players on the top 100 during the "The NHL 100 presented by GEICO."

Orr was in the middle with Gretzky to his right and Lemieux to his left.

The highlights included all of them agreeing that Gordie Howe was the best player in NHL history, Gretzky telling a story about the one time he and Lemieux disagreed with each other (it was during the 1987 Canada Cup, the only time they were teammates) and Orr giving the media a homework assignment to find out when he and Gretzky played together (it was a charity game at Winnipeg Arena in the spring of 1980).

"We're like little kids," Gretzky said. "We're having more fun than anybody."

Video: Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux discuss their careers

 
3. A stage of legends

History was indeed made Friday night at Microsoft Theater, where the NHL revealed the remaining 67 players on the top 100 list during "The NHL 100 presented by GEICO" hosted by Jon Hamm with John Legend performing.

As amazing as that once-in-a-lifetime show was, it was at the end, when the media was allowed on stage to conduct interviews, that the full force of what had just happened hit you if you were among the lucky ones there.

All of the top 100 players in attendance stood on the stage together. Gretzky tried to organize a picture to no avail. It was a head-spinning moment to see all of these amazing players together in one place, on one stage, and get a chance to talk to them.

 

4. Bieber gets Prongered

So Justin Bieber skates into the zone, the puck on his stick. Yes, this happened in the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout on Saturday. Bieber's welcome to the NHL moment was about to happen.

Bieber got tripped by Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, who got his stick caught between the pop star's legs. It didn't get called, so Bieber got up and kept skating, into the corner, with another Hall of Fame defenseman trailing him. It was Chris Pronger. Uh oh.

Pronger dug his elbow into Bieber's back and pinned him into the boards, face-planting him into the glass, giving him a taste of life in the NHL. Pronger smiled after and gave Bieber and tap on the head. Bourque came over and did the same thing.

"I'm trying not to get suspended," Pronger said when he returned to the bench.

Bieber got the last laugh. He scored a goal and assist in a 5-3 win for Team Gretzky.

Video: Celebrity Game: Pronger lays a hit on Justin Bieber

 

5. Atkinson's wow moment

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson was named an injury replacement on the Metropolitan Division roster for Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin on Thursday. Saturday night, he was on the ice with his fellow All-Stars during the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Atkinson said he was comfortable because he felt he deserved to be there, but he was also admittedly in awe.

"This is pretty special," Atkinson said from the bench Saturday. "The best players in the world are here, not to mention in our division some of the best players ever [top 100 players Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin]. It's surreal. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Atkinson was asked if he realizes that he is also now considered one of the best players in the world?

"I feel like I've had a special year so far, but the best players in the world do it every year," he said. "Hopefully I can do it every year."

Video: MET@ATL: Atkinson stuffs puck in after slick move

 
6. Smith's pinpoint accuracy

Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith hit a shot for the ages in the Honda Four Line Challenge, stealing the show at the Skills Competition.

Standing behind the far crease, Smith's lofted the puck a few feet up in the air. It bounced in the faceoff circle, settled and slid across the blue line, between the circles, right through the small rectangular opening in the lower middle part of the Plexiglass covering the goal.

"I thought halfway it was going to miss and then it started curling and I'm like, 'That's going to go in,'" Smith said from the bench after he scored. "It just had enough spin on it and she went in. That was a pretty cool moment."

The looks of amazement on the faces of the other goalies, including Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals and Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks were priceless. Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask summed it up perfectly.

"I mean, to even hit the net is pretty impressive," Rask said, "but to go five-hole? Wow."

Video: Four Line Challenge: Smith nets incredible long shot

 

7. Ryker Kesler's big moment

Ryker Kesler vs. Carey Price. You read that right. Not Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler, but instead his six-year-old son Ryker. That was the matchup in the Discover NHL Shootout in the Skills Competition.

"I saw we were facing Price and I thought he had a better shot," Ryker's dad said.

Ryker skated down, the puck on his forehand. He pushed it forward, got between the hash marks, went with the old backhand-forehand deke and scored through Price's wide open five-hole. He slid on the ice, got up and pumped his fists just like his dad does when he scores.

"As a father, it's probably one of the proudest moments I've had," Ryan Kesler said.

Video: Discover NHL Shootout: Mini Kesler beats Price

 

8. A puck drop unlike any other

The player introductions prior to the 3-on-3 tournament Sunday be impossible to top at future NHL All-Star Games.

The first set of stars introduced were the top 100 players with the public address announcer reading every one of the 100 names. The remaining 48 players of the final 67 revealed Friday night came out onto the ice and stood on carpets that stretched from circle to circle lengthwise.

Brendan Shanahan was first. Bobby Orr was last. Ken Dryden, who couldn't make it into town for the show Friday, was with his fellow legends, who were all wearing the sweater of the team that they are most closely associated. Jaromir Jagr wore his Florida Panthers sweater.

Luc Robitaille thanked the crowd. Wayne Gretzky introduced the Atlantic Division roster. Actors Tim Robbins, Chris O'Donnell and Colin Hanks introduced the rest of the divisions.

The players went down the line of legends, fist-bumping all 48 of them.

And then came the most epic puck drop of all-time, with all the current All-Stars, including top 100 players Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Alex Ovechkin, skating across the width of the ice to have the puck dropped to their sticks from the legends.

Video: All Stars, NHL100 members drop the puck

 

9. McDavid's shake and bake

Pacific Division forward Connor McDavid was in full flight, so to speak, when Kesler hit him with a pass out of the defensive zone in the first period of the final game Sunday.

McDavid, who won the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater competition Saturday, had already gotten past Metropolitan Division defenseman Seth Jones and forward Wayne Simmonds when he got the puck and took it in alone on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

McDavid made several quick moves, showing off his hands after he showed off his feet. Bobrovsky went for the pokecheck but missed. McDavid put the puck on his backhand and while falling over Bobrovsky's stick put the puck into the net to tie the game at 2-2.

It was arguably the prettiest goal of the day.

Video: MET@PAC: McDavid scores incredible breakaway goal

 

10. Challenge accepted

The NHL Situation Room may have saved the championship and the $1 million prize for the Metropolitan Division by initiating a review under the terms of the coach's challenge to determine if McDavid was offside when Kesler scored at 3:24 of the second period in the final game.

Kesler's pass across to McDavid banked into the net off of Metropolitan Division defenseman Ryan McDonagh's skates and the post. The Situation Room always initiates the review in 3-on-3 overtime, so it did this time as well.

It was ruled that McDavid was offside, so the goal that would have put the Pacific Division up 4-2 was taken off the board. Atkinson and Simmonds eventually scored to give the Metropolitan Division a 4-3 win.

"That was the game-changer," Simmonds said.

Video: Gretzky looks on as Kesler's goal is overturned

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