With the preseason looming next month, South Carolina Stingrays head coach Ryan...
AHL All Star Game Proves Full of Surprises!
This year’s AHL All Star Game was full of surprises (at least as much as an ASG ever can be, when it doesn’t involve props). It also involved a ridiculous number of mascots, in all shapes/colors/sizes, but the post on that will be going up tomorrow (and be very image-heavy).
The Short Version: Shootout W by the West, the Bears were functionally invisible (but on the same line! and clearly having fun!), the Whale representatives were short (but visible!), nobody got blood on the ice, and in general things were remarkably well-balanced (in +/- news, nobody on either team was above a +2 or below a -3). Ben Bishop was decreed “awesome,” and then everyone hit the showers.
Numbers and Things:
The first period was about what one expects of an ASG – Phantom Michael Leighton proving that he cared passionately and Aero Matt Hackett had as many bad bounces as a goalie not named Toskala can in a single period (Period Totals: 6-2 in favor of the East). Periods two and three were a bit more reserved, with the West serving up three unanswered goals in the second and then leading third frame scoring 2-1 to manage the tie.
Hershey’s three attendees – Keith Aucoin, Chris Bourque, and Boyd Kane (also notable as captain of Team East) – started the game off on separate lines, with Aucoin being voted to the starting lineup. Within a single rotation, all three had been reorganized onto the same line, playing together as they often do at home. Unlike their regular games, however, in this one the three forwards combined for exactly zero points (and each ended the game with a -1 rating). That didn’t stop them from having a good time, though, which is the real point of the ASG.
By contrast, the players from the Whale – Mats Zuccarello & Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (clocking in at the bottom of the height index at 5′ 7″ and 5′ 9″ respectively) – were all over the scoresheet. Each had a goal and two assists, and walked away with a +2 rating.
This was an All Star Game. The only penalty assessed during the course of the evening was at the Mascot Game, when Grif the Grand Rapids Griffin tripped the Hamilton Bulldog:
The evening’s MVP award went to goalie Ben Bishop, of the Peoria Rivermen. He claimed the shootout win, using his 6′ 7″ frame to stonewall the Eastern shooters (3 out of 4 of which were under 6′; Colin McDonald of the Baby Pens was the 6′ 3″ exception). Height is no guarantee of (or substitute for) skill, but the numbers seemed worth a mention.
Speaking of McDonald, he’s the only player in AHL history to record a point in consecutive All Star Games for different conferences (last year, he represented the Oklahoma City Barons, of the West).