NHL All-Star Game: Players nervous, excited for 3-on-3 tourney

The NHL is going with a new format for Sunday's all-star game in Nashville (CBC,, 5 p.m. ET), a 3-on-3 tournament that should be heavy on speed and skill and light on backchecking and defence. And $1 million US goes to the winning squad.

Winning team takes home $1 million US

Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin, seen here celebrating after shattering Mike Gartner's record in the fastest skater event at Saturday's NHL skills competition in Nashville, says he's more nervous to play in Sunday's all-star, 3-on-3 tournament than a regular-season game. The 19-year-old left-winger is a member of the Atlantic Division team that will face the Metropolitan Division all-stars in the first semifinal. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After shattering a 20-year record at the NHL's skills competition, Dylan Larkin is poised to grab the spotlight in Sunday's all-star game.

The Detroit Red Wings rookie recorded the fastest lap in all-star skills competition history on Saturday night in Nashville at 13.172 seconds, topping Mike Gartner's mark of 13.386 that stood since 1996. It also may put Larkin in a good frame of mind for what is expected to be a speedy 3-on-3 format for Sunday's game (CBC,, 5 p.m. ET).

I feel more nervous than I would for an actual game.- Red Wings rookie forward Dylan Larkin on Sunday's NHL All-Star Game

However, the 19-year-old left-winger told on Friday that Sunday's game had him a bit worked up.

"I feel more nervous than I would for an actual game," Larkin said. "I don't really know many guys and I don't really know what's going on."

Well, if many people didn't know the Red Wings' lone representative in Nashville before Saturday, they do now.

The 15th overall NHL draft pick in 2014 burst on the scene in Detroit in October, only a year removed from playing at the University of Michigan. Larkin is tied with Henrik Zetterberg for the Red Wings' scoring lead and is tops in goals with 15 in 48 games.

Game of speed, skill

Don't be surprised if he's front and centre on Sunday, especially with a 3-on-3 format that will probably be heavy on speed and skill and light on backchecking and defence.

In five of the previous six all-star games, the teams combined for more than 20 goals.

This time around, there are four teams, one representing each NHL division: Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific.

By virtue of their 29-12 win in the skills competition, the Eastern Conference all-stars earned the right over their Western counterparts to select when they would play their semifinal matchup. Atlantic will face Metropolitan in the first semi, followed by Central vs. Pacific. The winners will meet to determine the overall tournament champion.

The four head coaches will be Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers (Atlantic), Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars (Central), Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings (Pacific) and Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals (Metropolitan).

Below is a list of other important information for Sunday's event:

  • $1 million US will be paid in its entirety to the tournament's winning team.
  • Each team is made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defencemen and two goalies (full rosters listed below).
  • Each game will be 20 minutes in length.
  • Teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. Games tied after 20 minutes will be decided by a shootout.

"I don't expect a hard-hitting, physical game, but it's still guys making plays, trying to score," Buffalo Sabres centre Ryan O'Reilly told reporters on Saturday.

Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry believes the new format will make for a more exciting game.

"Obviously it could be taxing," he said of playing 3-on-3, "but at the same time you just got to have fun with it."

NHL all-star rosters

Atlantic Division

  • F Patrice Bergeron, Boston
  • F Jaromir Jagr, Florida*
  • F Leo Komarov, Toronto
  • F Dylan Larkin, Detroit
  • F Ryan O'Reilly, Buffalo
  • F Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
  • D Aaron Ekblad, Florida
  • D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa
  • D P.K. Subban, Montreal
  • G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay
  • G Roberto Luongo, Florida

Metropolitan Division

  • F Nicklas Backstrom, Washington
  • F Claude Giroux, Philadelphia
  • F Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh
  • F Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington (replaced Alex Ovechkin*)
  • F Brandon Saad, Columbus
  • F John Tavares, NY Islanders
  • D Justin Faulk, Carolina
  • D Kris Letang, Pittsburgh
  • D Ryan McDonagh, NY Rangers
  • G Braden Holtby, Washington
  • G Cory Schneider, New Jersey

Central Division

  • F Jamie Benn, Dallas
  • F Matt Duchene, Colorado
  • F Patrick Kane, Chicago*
  • F Tyler Seguin, Dallas
  • F Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis
  • F James Neal, Nashville (replaced Jonathan Toews)
  • D Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg
  • D Roman Josi, Nashville
  • D Shea Weber, Nashville
  • G Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota
  • G Pekka Rinne, Nashville

Pacific Division

  • F Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary
  • F Taylor Hall, Edmonton
  • F Joe Pavelski, San Jose
  • F Corey Perry, Anaheim
  • F John Scott, Arizona*
  • F Daniel Sedin, Vancouver
  • D Brent Burns, San Jose
  • D Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
  • D Mark Giordano, Calgary
  • G John Gibson, Anaheim
  • G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

*denotes captain


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