Discussions ranged from the All Star experience to rules such as goalie interference.
Here are some of the news and notes from Media Day.
Predators Thriving and Enjoying the Moment
With his third All Star selection, and the second game he’ll play in, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is still enjoying the spotlight at the All Star Game.
Rinne also said that he’s feeling good much like he did last year when he conceded a few starts to backup Juuse Saros.
“Yeah, I have no complaints,” he said. “Obviously, as a player, you want to play as much as possible, you want to be out there all of the time. At least I’m getting a lot of rest. That’s good. At the end of the season, I felt really good after last year. I’m sure that’s a good thing. I’m sure the coaches have some kind of plan for how they’re going to play us out.”
Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, also a veteran of the All Star Game, is excited to see the three-on-three format up close and personal after taking it in when Nashville hosted the game back in 2016.
“It’s a great event,” he said. “I watched the first one in Nashville. I wasn’t a part of it, but we stuck around to be a part of it as the coaches there hosting the city. I thought the first three-on-three event was outstanding. I didn’t get the chance to see too much of last year’s event, but just the way it is right now with the skills competition and the three-on-three tournament, all the events that go on, the best players in the league, it’s a great event.”
Goalie Interference in the News
In the past few weeks, replay reviews on goaltender interference have been making headlines for both made calls and missed calls. The debate has called into question what the definition of goaltender interference is.
“I mean, they do their best,” Rinne said. ” We’ve had a few of those and so far it’s been kind of going our way. I’m happy. You know how it goes, if it goes against you, a lot of times you disagree. So far, I feel like for us, it’s been going our way. I feel like they’ve been good calls. But, I’ve seen around the league, once in a while you see a call where you don’t necessarily agree.”
Former Predators head coach and current Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz commended officials for how they have been handling interference lately.
“I think what happens is goalie interference is a little bit of a judgment call,” Trotz said. “There is a little bit of a gray area. I think we live in a society now with all the cameras and replays and the slo-mos and all of that. We want just black and white, and goalie interference I don’t think is black-and-white. I think the league is doing their best to clarify every situation.”
Laviolette took a measured approach to the subject matter because goalie interference can be so subjective.
“Those decisions are so hard when they happen,” Laviolette said. “They’re really difficult. If we threw once instance of a goaltender interference right here in front of this group, half of you would think it would and half of you would think it wasn’t. Those decisions are really tough. Usually one coach is pretty happy and the other coach might be upset. That’s the nature of goalie interference. It’s so close sometimes that, like I said, you guys could watch the same clip and you’ll be split 50/50. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I know the NHL and the referees do the best they can to try to get the right answer.”
“I’m not trying to give the politically correct answer either because sometimes because when watch them inside of our locker room, David Poile, Paul Fenton, Brian Poile, all of the coaching staff, the video guys, so we might have 10 people look at it, we could be split,” he continued. “Those things are really hard to determine on what it is. Every certain instance of what happens is a different call. Not everybody is going to be happy.”
It is an Olympic year, so the only reason this All Star Weekend is happening is because the NHL is not sending their players to Pyeongchang next month.
To many players, that’s a pretty big disappointment, especially if those players haven’t played in an Olympics yet.
“I am, yeah,” Rinne said when asked if he was disappointed to not be eligible for the Olympics. “I’ve never played in the Olympics. It was unfortunate in 2014 I had my hip thing and I wasn’t able to go. In my career, I’m probably never going to play in the Olympics, so I was very disappointed.”
Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler spoke candidly about his disappointment over not going to the Olympics.
“Yeah, I got asked that yesterday, and to be honest with you, you kind of shut that off when you know you’re not going, so you don’t even really think about it,” Wheeler said. “It’s a missed opportunity. I think, as cool as it is for players to be a part of the Olympic experience, I think it’s a missed opportunity to expand our game. A lot of casual viewers that maybe aren’t hockey fans watch USA-Canada. They cheer and that’s an opportunity for us to expand the game and make more fans that maybe we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do otherwise. That’s kind of the bummer about it, you see some of those moments in primetime TV. We don’t get that in hockey maybe as much as we should sometimes.”
Quotes of the Day
Rinne on what lets him play so well despite his age
“I don’t know. Last season gave me a lot of confidence too, going all the way to the Final. For the whole team, I think the gave us a lot of confidence. I think also too, it’s a team thing. We’ve been playing really well as a team, and obviously for myself and for Juuse as well, it’s been helping out a lot. I don’t know, along the way too, I’ve tried to make a few changes in my game and it’s been going pretty well, I’m happy that even with my age, I’ve been able to adjust to the game a little bit. I’m just excited to continue from here. I’m happy where we are as a team and what’s ahead of us”
Laviolette on having more success early in the regular season
“Yeah, I mean it was good, we were a little slow out of the gate in the first couple of games. I think you don’t want that to happen, but I guess it could be expected after playing until mid-June. Just getting that energy back up to be successful, but it didn’t last very long, it was just a couple of games where we weren’t happy with the way we played. From that point on, I thought it was fairly consistent. There’s always things you can do to be better. We always thing we can play better still but, certainly there was a lot of consistency and guys played pretty well to get to this point.”
Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin on what makes Vegas such a tough place to play
“I think the atmosphere over there. It’s not a regular rink you go to. It’s an unbelievable show. You get excited. You get into, like, a nightclub. Like a party. Everybody dancing over there. It’s like, ‘Holy Jesus, are we having a hockey game or is this like a pool party out there?’ They’re very, very tough to play against. They have tremendous skill, tremendous speed and they use it. When you’re not ready, you’re going to be in a tough position.”
P.K. Subban on three-on-three overtime
“I’d prefer three-on-three when Connor [McDavid]’s not on the ice (laughs). Anybody else. I think the three-on-three is pretty exciting. Like I said, the game has probably never been as fast as it is now. It’s pretty exciting to watch. I think games have been ending in three-on-three a lot. I think it’s great, I think it’s great for the guys like him that play the game with a ton of speed and skill. You get to see them makes some special plays and watching a guy like him skate from one and all the way to the other and score a goal is something that we weren’t used to seeing, we missed in the game for a long time. I think the three-on-three brings that element back in and it’s exciting to watch for sure.”
Stay tuned to more All Star Weekend coverage from Tampa.