San Jose hosts hot action on ice for NHL All-Star Game


Nathan MacKinnon

SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., is the scene this week as the NHL’s top players take their midseason break to compete in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Airing Saturday, Jan. 26, on NBC, this year’s event continues the format of four teams of three competing in a single-elimination tourmament, with the winners of the two semifinal games advancing to the All-Star Game Final. All players are determined by a fan vote, with the captains of the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific Division teams drafting the rosters.

At this writing, of course, none of the players in the draft pool had been determined, but the captains are the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Mathews (Atlantic), the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan), the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon (Central) and the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (Pacific).

At last year’s finale in Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., Rickard Rakell of the Anahein Ducks scored two goals in leading the Pacific team past the Atlantic 5-2, while Vancouver Canucks rookie Brock Boeser earned tourney MVP honors.

•NBA fans may have to sequester themselves Monday, Jan. 21, as TNT offers up a tripleheader of Martin Luther King Day pro hoops action featuring playoff contenders.

The slate begins in early evening with a clash of Southwest Division rivals as Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies play host to Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans. The Grizz got the better of the Pelicans in their first meeting last month in the Big Easy, as JaMychal Green’s 24 points off the bench propelled Memphis past New Orleans 107-103.

Next in prime time, an interconference tilt is on tap as James Harden and the Southwest-leading Houston Rockets drop in on Joel Embiid and the formidable Philadelphia 76ers in these teams’ first game this season.

Then in late night, Pacific titans collide when LeBron James and the loaded Los Angeles Lakers welcome in Stephen Curry and the division-leading Golden State Warriors. The Lakers drew first blood in their initial meeting with the defending league champs on Christmas Day, as James contributed 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before exiting with a groin injury in the Lakers’ 127-101 rout of the Dubs.

Speaking of the Warriors, they’re in action twice more this week: Thursday, Jan. 24, on TNT, visiting the Washington Wizards; and Saturday on ABC on the road against the Boston Celtics.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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