NHL All-Star Game 2020: Format, Rules and Full Weekend Schedule

Jake RillSenior Analyst IJanuary 22, 2020

St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube, back, looks on from behind the bench in the team box in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The 2020 NHL All-Star Game will be filled with plenty of players making their first appearance. Nineteen of them, to be exact. But there will be some veterans in action, too.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will be making his ninth appearance and Montreal Canadians defenseman Shea Weber will be making his seventh, marking the two most experienced All-Stars who will be on the ice on Saturday night at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

There will be plenty of representation for the hometown Blues, the defending Stanley Cup champions. Head coach Craig Berube will be leading the Central Division team, while St. Louis will have four players taking part.

Here's everything else you need to know about this season's NHL All-Star Game.


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All-Star Game Format

For the fifth straight year, the NHL All-Star Game will be a three-on-three tournament consisting of four teams, each representing one of the NHL's four divisions.

The two Eastern Conference divisions (Atlantic and Metropolitan) will face off in one semifinal matchup, while the two Western Conference divisions (Pacific and Central) will play in the other. The winners will advance to a final to decide the champion.

Each of the three games will be 20-minute contests.

All 31 of the NHL's teams had to be represented in the All-Star Game. The full rosters for the four teams can be viewed at NHL.com.


Tocchet to lead Pacific after Gallant's firing

Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

The four teams in the All-Star Game tournament are led by the head coaches of the teams that had the highest points percentage at the halfway mark of the regular season. That's why Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy (Atlantic), Capitals coach Todd Reirden (Metropolitan) and Blues coach Craig Berube (Central) are leading their respective divisions.

However, something unique happened when the Golden Knights fired coach Gerard Gallant on Jan. 15. Las Vegas had the highest points percentage in the Pacific Division at the halfway mark, but Gallant is now no longer with the team.

So, the NHL decided that Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet will lead the Pacific Division at the All-Star Game.

Arizona enters the All-Star break on a skid, as it has lost five of its last six games. However, the Coyotes are still having a solid season, as they have 57 points, tied with three other teams for the second-most in the Pacific Division.


Ovechkin only team captain to miss All-Star Game

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The captains for the four divisions were decided by fan voting—David Pastrnak of the Bruins (Atlantic), Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals (Metropolitan), Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche (Central) and Connor McDavid (Pacific).

It was the third straight year that Ovechkin was voted to be a team captain. However, for the second consecutive year, he won't participate in the All-Star Game as he has opted to instead prepare for the second half of the regular season. It's the fourth time in Ovechkin's career that he will skip the All-Star Game.

In his 15th NHL season, all with Washington, Ovechkin continues to be a prolific scorer. He has 50 points (34 goals, 16 assists) in 49 games this season, helping the Capitals rack up a league-high 71 points so far.

With Ovechkin out, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will serve as the captain of the Metropolitan team.


Can Central or Atlantic teams break through this year?

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Since the new three-on-three tournament format was implemented in the 2015-16 season, only two divisions have won the All-Star Game. The Pacific team won in 2016 and 2018, while the Metropolitan team won in 2017 and last year.

In last season's tournament, the Metropolitan team dominated, scoring 17 total goals in their wins over the Atlantic and Central teams. Its 10 goals in its last win over the Central Division were the most scored by a team in a final under this format.

The Bruins (Atlantic) and Blues (Central) were the two teams in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, and they're two of the best teams again this season. Perhaps their players will be key in trying to lead their respective division to All-Star success.

Pastrnak, who is the captain of the Atlantic team for the first time, will be Boston's lone representative as goalie Tuukka Rask has opted to skip the All-Star Game.

St. Louis will have four representatives while playing on its home ice—goalie Jordan Binnington, forwards Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.