It has been a multi-year odyssey for the Columbus Blue Jackets to host an NHL All Star Game. They overcame issues over hotel space and competition from other franchises to finally land the game for 2013, only to have the game taken away by the work stoppage. There was no 2014 game, due to the Sochi Olympics, so when the 60th edition was again awarded to Columbus, the exhilaration -- and relief -- was palpable. The focus turned to putting on the best show possible, and tonight the curtain rose, with the entire hockey world watching.
The pre-game festivities went off without hitch, with Locksley performing "The Whip", Blue Jackets' anthem singer Leo Welsh -- accompanied by two RCMP mounties -- singing the Canadian anthem, and Jo Dee Messina belted a spirited version of the Star Spangled Banner. All were supported by an impressive array of on-ice lights and graphics. Full marks. Time to play hockey.
Period One -- Gentlemanly Demeanor
From the outset, this one followed the unwritten rules of All Star Game hockey:
- All skating will be done at a moderate pace
- Thou shall not hit
- No blistering point shots
- If a shot is too close/too open, the player must either pass the puck or attempt some goofy between the legs move or similar
- The stretch pass or impossible pass will always be chose over the more obvious route.