After a raucous GM Game, the BEARD Hockey All-Star Weekend shifted to Buffalo as the real players put on a dazzling show of offensive prowess.
ALL-STAR GAME LINK: https://beardhockey.live/BEARD-AllStarGame2021.html
GM GAME LINK: https://beardhockey.live/GM-Game-2021.html
Original Team Rosters Link: https://www.beardhockey.com/post/beard-hockey-all-star-team-announcement
As odd as the GM Game was (and boy, was it ever), the first-ever BEARD Hockey All-Star Game was not without its oddities.
Matthew Tkachuk, representing the Colorado Avalanche, was caught in a sticky situation just moments prior to the game getting underway. After a short skate and shootaround warmup session, it appeared that Tkachuk took an errant puck to the head off of a Ryan O'Reilly (VAN) slap shot.
Down for several moments, he skated to the bench and was laughing by the time he got there. He ended up in the trainer's room, and out of an abundance of caution, was held out of the game - until the very late stages.
"I told O'Reilly that because they were keeping me out for precautionary reasons, he had to play my spot in the lineup," said Tkachuk, who was awarded a special honor of being a co-MVP due to the foible (more on that below). "I was half-joking; I was fine, but it's an exhibition, so I got it.
"But lo and behold, he actually did it."
O'Reilly ended up playing over 27 minutes in the game, while Tkachuk saw one shift and clocked 13 seconds of ice time. The fortunately humorous situation served as a backdrop for the Western Conference, as they trounced the Eastern Conference in the game itself by a 19-12 score.
Sidney Crosby (LAK) and William Nylander (DAL) both netted hat tricks for the West in the victory, while Sean Couturier (NYI) added the trifecta for the East in a losing effort.
15 goals were scored in the opening frame, as the West jumped out to a 10-5 lead. The East actually had a 3-2 lead just 3:30 into the game, but allowed eight more tallies as Juuse Saros (PHI) struggled to just 13 saves on 23 shots.
The action tightened up a bit over the remaining 40 minutes of play, but Ben Bishop (VAN) and Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) were up to the task, combining for 26 saves on 33 shots in the final two periods.
The game was without coaches and lightly attended due to the ongoing pandemic. 3,000 fans were permitted entry and were scattered throughout KeyBank Center.
MVP of the Night: Sidney Crosby (LAK) - three goals, four assists
Runner-up: Sean Couturier (NYI) - three goals, three assists
Honorary "Co-MVP": Matthew Tkachuk (COL) - 0:13 of ice time
2nd Star: Will Butcher (SEA) - two goals, two assists
Runner-up: Mark Scheifele (NYR) - five assists
Honorable Mention: Ben Bishop (VAN) - 17 saves