The Calgary Flames will have some of their biggest stars on full display at this week’s NHL all-star festivities.
Matthew Tkachuk, arguably the Flames’ most important and valuable player, will be participating in his very first all-star event in his hometown of St. Louis. Captain Mark Giordano will be attending his third all-star game. Though he wasn’t selected to attend last year when he won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman, he will attend this season as the reigning champ. Finally, goaltender David Rittich, undrafted and signed out of the Czech Republic, is the third Flames rep at the event. It’s his first all-star nod, and he deserves every bit of it.
With such a great group of players selected from the team, here are some of the biggest storylines Flames fans will want to follow during the skills competition tonight in the events they’ll be taking part in.
David Rittich in the Save Streak Event
Rittich isn’t just the Flames’ best goaltender, he’s been one of the best goalies in the league this season.
Rittich will be participating in the Bud Light NHL Save Streak event. Basically, whichever goalie makes the most consecutive saves in a shootout-like format will win the event. This will be of particular interest to Flames fans because of how absolutely ridiculous Rittich has been in shootouts this season.
His record speaks for itself: this season he leads the league with a 100% winning percentage at 5-0. He’s made the most saves in shootouts with 16 and has only allowed two goals. Among all goalies with more than two shootouts this season, he leads the league in shootout save percentage at .889. He’s good. And he is a sneaky darkhorse pick to win this event for the Pacific Division.
Beyond the record, his technique is what could make headlines in the event. Recently, Rittich has gone with the “aggressive goalie” tactic, lunging at shooters and going for the poke check almost every time.
It’s been incredible to watch as a Flames fan and you can’t help but wonder about all the crazy things Rittich could pull in this event. He’s hilarious, fiery, and loves to have fun. He could be a real treat to watch in this event and if he wins, maybe we’ll get a sweet celly and a patented Tkachuk-Rittich hug.
Mark Giordano in the Hardest Shot Event
Giordano might not be the first name to come to mind when thinking of NHLers with the hardest shot. He does most of his damage off smart wristers from the point, but don’t let his high hockey IQ fool you. He’s got a bomb.
He’s with elite company, including Shea Weber who can literally fire pucks through the net, and the reigning champ John Carlson, but Giordano could make some noise.
Wouldn’t it be great to see Giordano usurp the big dogs in this competition and add one more award to his mantle?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Giordano his entire career it’s that we shouldn’t doubt him. Don’t write him off in this marquee event; he’s got a better chance than you might think.
If he can hammer it at 104.7 mph, that would put him in a great spot to win this event. Carlson, who won it last year, clocked in at a measly 102.8, almost a full two miles slower than Giordano’s shot in the 2018 Superskills competition. Don’t take a bathroom break during this event, or you might miss seeing the Flames captain make some history.
matthew Tkachuk in the Shooting Stars Event
For those of you who don’t know what this event is, don’t feel bad because it’s brand new to this year’s event. From NHL dot com, this is the description of the event:
Players will be positioned on an elevated platform behind the goal, approximately 30 feet above the ice surface, where they will shoot pucks at a variety of targets located on the ice, with each target possessing different point values. One at a time, each player will attempt seven shots and earn points for each target hit.
It seems like a fun event in theory, but there is skepticism as to how it’ll work in reality. Still, Tkachuk will be a player to watch, as he’ll be going head-to-head with his brother, Brady, in front of lots of friends and family.
The Tkachuk brother rivalry is one of the most fascinating in the NHL right now. Both brothers have so much mutual respect, but love to give each other a hard time about absolutely everything. Not only will the event title be up for grabs, but the Tkachuk pride will be on full display with each brother trying to outdo the other.
What would be really fun is for their dad, St. Louis Blues legend and Hall of Famer Keith Tkachuk to join the Tkachuk brothers in this event. How cool would it be for Matthew and Brady to not only compete against each other, but their old man as well?
This could be the best event in the whole competition solely due to the Tkachuk family. We’re here for it.
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