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SB Nation NHL Reacts: Fans still aren’t sold on the format of the All-Star Game

Fans also seem to be split on the skills competition.

2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game - Pacific Division v Central Division Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tonight is the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, and it looks like fans aren’t 100% sure what some of the skills are, while also being ambivalent to fun.

It’s surprising that only 54% of fans want to bring back an event that saw Alex Ovechkin get blotto and fellow players do this to Phil Kessel:

Fans either aren’t sure what the hell the NHL Discover Fountain Face-Off is or many do not give a damn, because nearly 60% like the newest addition.

In case you have no clue what this is, here’s the description from the NHL:

Competition takes place on the iconic Bellagio Fountains. Players will travel by boat to the “rink” and are required to successfully shoot pucks into five targets in the least amount of time. Qualifying players move to the head-to-head final. Fountain spray and the breeze off The Strip will add to the challenge of this unprecedented NHL All-Star Skills™ event.

Who’s participating in this event? Jonathan Huberdeau, Claude Giroux, Jordan Eberle, Roman Josi, Nick Suzuki, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, Mark Stone and former United States women’s national team forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.

Let’s hope a dingy doesn’t “sink.” To really drive home the fact that the game takes place in Las Vegas, and that Las Vegas is known for casinos and gambling, the NHL added the Las Vegas NHL 21 in ‘22.

If you thought this was a video competition of last year’s NHL ‘21 game, you’re wrong, but you’d also be right in saying that the name of this event is awful. Maybe the league’s description will help?

The other new event is the Las Vegas NHL 21 in ‘22, a twist on blackjack that will have five players standing on Las Vegas Boulevard and shooting at a deck of oversized cards on a rack. The goal will be to achieve a hand of 21 without going bust in the least amount of shots.

Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos and Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk will take part.

“It’s accuracy shooting with strategy, because you’re now shooting at 52 targets rather than four,” Mayer said. “We’re going to incorporate some other elements to throw guys off a little bit, to give them opportunities to maybe double down. We’re going to use celebrities and I think Vegas personalities to kind of just enhance the experience.”

Wait, you’re saying that didn’t help? Maybe you’re a purist that just wants to watch the game Saturday afternoon. If you’re missing the old-school format of team on team play instead of the divisional round-robin, you’re not alone.

It looks like the format introduced in 2016 in Nashville is wearing out its welcome. A loss for a division means that a huge chunk of fan-favorites are gone, dampening the experience of fans of every team save for the one who wins.

Fans seem to be split on whether this is a good format, or if the league just needs to go back to Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference. One thing most could probably agree on, let’s not do North America vs. the World again.