The NHL won’t start back up again until Tuesday, February 2. Why? Because on Saturday, the best players in the league will converge in Nashville, Tenn. for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.
This year will mark the 61st year the league has held the game. It will also mark the first time the league plays the game using a three-game, three-on-three tournament format. The eventual tournament-winning team will split $1 million for winning the game. Each team will be made up of 11 players. The All-Star Game is usually a high-scoring affair, and with the additional time and space the new format will provide, it’s not out of line to think that the scoring will be even higher than usual.
By the way, the record in that department was actually set last season when 29 goals were scored over the course of the game, 17 by Team Toews and 12 by Team Foligno. The new format means there is the potential to break some records in Nashville on both the offensive and defensive side of the game. If you’re tracking these things, last season’s game had a few players add their names to the All-Star record book as six records were either tied or set during last season.
What follows are some of the most impressive All-Star Game records. Some of these have the potential to be topped this weekend; others will probably stand for quite a while.
1. Most consecutive games played
Ray Bourque began his NHL career in 1980 with the Boston Bruins as a first round draft pick. He finished that career in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche, winning the Stanley Cup. During that lengthy career, which spanned 1,612 regular season games and 214 playoff games, Bourque played in the All-Star Game 19 consecutive times. Bourque played in every All-Star Game between 1981 and 2001. Wayne Gretzky is second to Bourque with 18 straight games played.
It’s no surprise to find Glenn Hall’s name atop the most consecutive All-Star Games played by a goalie. Hall played in each All-Star Game between 1960 and 1969.
2. Most All-Star Games played
It probably makes sense that Gordie Howe holds this record. After all, the Hall of Famer played a total of 26 seasons in the NHL. During those seasons, Howe made it to the All-Star Game a total of 23 times, the only All-Star Games Howe missed during his NHL days were his rookie season in 1946-47, 1956, and 1966. The two closest players to Howe are Ray Bourque, who played in 19 All-Star Games and Wayne Gretzky with 18 games played.
As for goalies, Glenn Hall, the netminder who holds the NHL record for consecutive games played in the NHL with 502, played in 13 All-Star Games during his 17-year NHL career.
3. Most points of all time and most points in one game
Gordie Howe may have played in the most All-Star Games, but he does not have the most points in All-Star Game history. In fact, Howe ranks fifth in that category with 19 (10G, 9A). The man that sits atop that list is Wayne Gretzky. Over the course of his 18 All-Star Games, Gretzky managed to score 25 points (13G, 12A). The players between Gretzky and Howe are Mario Lemieux (13G, 10A), Joe Sakic (6G, 16A), and Mark Messier (6G, 14A).
The single game point record of six is shared by two players. The first player to hit that number in one game was Mario Lemieux. Lemieux had three goals and three assists in the 1988 All-Star Game. Jakub Voracek matched that number in 2015 when he too had three goals and three assists.
4. Fastest goals
Everyone loves the fast goal. Think about it, it’s one of the most exciting plays in hockey. The referee drops the puck, and there’s a mad rush toward the goaltender with the defense doing the best they can to stop the streaking offensive player.
The fastest goal in All-Star Game history came in 2008 when Rick Nash opened the game with a 12-second goal.
As for other fast goals scored during All-Star Game play, Mike Gartner has the fastest two goals scored by a single player from the start of a period, scoring twice in 3:37 during the 1993 game.
The fastest two goals by a single player record is held by Owen Nolan. In 1997 Nolan scored twice in eight seconds. Nolan was able to achieve this feat by scoring at the 18:54 point of the second period and again at 19:02 of the second.
Stats courtesy of the NHL.