Well, another All-Star Game has come and gone. The days leading up to the game were full of controversy, as career fighter John Scott was fan-nominated as captain of the Pacific Division team. Aside from the drama surrounding Scott, the eventual MVP of the weekend, it was a wonderful couple of days for a few of our very own Panthers.
Aaron Ekblad, Roberto Luongo, and Jaromír Jágr were all invited to this year’s game. Jágr was the fan-nominated captain of the Atlantic Division team (much to his chagrin…). Head Coach Gerard Gallant was also invited to serve as the Head Coach of the Atlantic team.
Leading up the weekend, many humorous tweets were sent out. Jágr had some fun at his own expense, insisting that the 3-on-3 format of the tournament would kill him.
On Saturday, all three Panthers representatives participated in the Skill Competition. Aaron Ekblad took 1-timers in the Challenge Relay, and participated in the Hardest Shot, and the Shootout Challenge while Jaromir Jagr was a passer in the Accuracy Shooting Challenge, and participated in the Challenge Relay, and the Shootout Challenge. Roberto Luongo took part in just the Shootout Challenge.
Ekblad had some fun by removing his jersey to reveal a Spacey In Space hoodie before his first Hardest Shot attempt, while PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens did and impersonation of Jagr for the Breakaway Challenge:
Ekblad registered 91.9 MPH on his first shot attempt and 93.4 MPH on his second attempt:
Jagr scored his earlier tweet wrong by scoring a breakaway goal in the first period of his 10th-career All-Star Game:
Calder Trophy winner Aaron Ekblad also put on a show Sunday by also scoring a goal on a pass from P.K. Subban.
This is Ekblad’s second trip to the All-Star Game. Last year, he replaced defenseman Erik Johnson, who bowed out due to injury. Ekblad also performed in the AMP Hardest Shot competition, proving that just because he plays with an 87 Flex stick, doesn’t mean he can’t rocket the puck.
Roberto Luongo further proved that he is an elite goalie. After saving 9 of 9 attempts in the Honda Breakaway Challenge, Luongo went on to make a series of astounding saves in both games played by the Atlantic Division all-stars.
In the end, it was a fantastic weekend for the Panthers and the NHL. From the feel-good John Scott story, to the strong showing by our Panthers all-stars, many say that this was the best All-Star Game in years, and I tend to agree.