Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
Of the 31 teams in the National Hockey League (NHL), only four teams are atop their respective divisions: the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and the Edmonton Oilers. With the season reaching its halfway point, teams are slowly beginning to establish themselves, especially those at the top. In the Pacific Division, the Oilers find themselves being chased by the Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, and the Vancouver Canucks, all of which are within 2 games of the Oilers. The leaders of the Central Division, St. Louis Blues, find themselves with a three-game lead over second place Colorado Avalanche and third place Dallas Stars. Over in the West, in the Metropolitan Division, the Capitals find themselves in a comfortable three game lead over the second place Pittsburgh Pirates. To round out the four teams, the Bruins are sitting pretty as the only team in the NHL with a single digit in their loss column, having only nine to their name.
In the new year, the NHL announced its all-star rosters for the four teams within the competition. Each team has a total of 10 players on its roster, which makes the total number of all-stars 40. On each team there are six forwards, two defenseman, and two goalies. Each team is divided by the division they play in, hence the making of four different teams: Central, Pacific, Metropolitan, and Atlantic. According to an article written by the NHL, the coach of the team with the highest points percentage in each division at the halfway point of the season will become the coach of his respective division. This means fans do not vote on the coach, unlike the captains of each team, which are voted on by the fans through an online voting system. The all-star game will take place on Jan. 25, 2020, in the Enterprise Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. Patrick Kane leads all players with his ninth selection to the team. In an article written by the NHL, Kane said, “I think it doesn’t get old. You’d rather be selected than not selected. Each All-Star Game has its own experience, own memories. I’ll try to make some more in St. Louis this year.”
Behind Kane is Shea Weber, a defenseman who is enjoying his seventh selection. Behind the veterans, there are a total of 13 first time selections to the team which include Philadelphia Flyers forward, Travis Konecny.
Within the same article, Konecny stated, “It’s pretty fresh, so it hasn’t really settled in yet. It’s something that you don’t really think about it until it happens. When you make the NHL that’s one of the first steps, you want to be successful and win the Stanley Cup with your team but you don’t really think about the All-Star Game. Now that it’s come up it’s pretty amazing. Got a lot of people to thank for it.”
Following the all-star game will be the second half of the NHL season. Who emerges from the pack will remain a mystery. With every division leader holding less than a four game lead, the title for each will be up for grabs throughout the back half of the season.