[RELATED: Complete 2020 NHL All-Star Game coverage]
Hertl scores, Pacific wins
Tomas Hertl‘s breakaway goal with 2:36 remaining was the difference in the Pacific Division’s 5-4 win against the Atlantic Division in the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on Saturday.
Hertl took a pass from Leon Draisaitl in his skates, played it to his stick, faked a shot by lifting his right leg as he got to the hash marks, make a quick backhand-to-forehand deke, and beat goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on the blocker side.
Hertl, a first-time NHL all-star, was beaming in the dressing room afterwards when he talked about the goal, the win, sharing the $1 million prize with his Pacific Division teammates and the experience he had across three days in St. Louis.
Green Day brings the hits into Enterprise Center
Green Day, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band, rocked the All-Star Game with two of its biggest hits prior to the championship game.
The band, playing on a white carpet covering center ice, opened with “Basket Case” and closed with “American Idiot.” Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day’s lead vocalist and guitarist, walked off the carpet and onto the ice during “American Idiot.”
Several players came on the ice to watch the show and Armstrong greeted them when it was over with hugs, high-fives and fist bumps.
Green Day also played a free concert outside the arena before their show inside.
Glenn returns, belts out anthem
Charles Glenn, the now retired longtime national anthem singer for St. Louis Blues home games, returned to kick off the All-Star Game with a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The crowd roared for Glenn when he was introduced. They listened to his anthem, joining in at times, and, as they customarily do here, they screamed “BLUUUUUUES” when Glenn sang “Brave” to end the song.
Glenn, who has multiple sclerosis, last sang the anthem at a Blues home game prior to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final last season. It ended a two-decade run as the singing voice of the Blues.
Anderson introduces Blues all-stars
The public address announcer gave way to one of the biggest young stars in St. Louis this weekend, 11-year-old Laila Anderson, the Blues superfan who became a viral sensation last season.
Anderson, wearing a Blues hat and her own Blues NHL All-Star jersey with the No. 20 and “LAILA” across the nameplate, stood on a red carpet that stretched out from the home bench and put her own touch on each intro, making it sound like she was a PA pro.
Ryan O’Reilly and Alex Pietrangelo both stopped to give her a hug. David Perron and Jordan Binnington gave her a fist bump.
Anderson, who has hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome that can be fatal, was on the ice with the Blues in Boston last season in the aftermath of their win in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Blues gave her a championship ring.
Hertl wears Bieber mask
Hertl had a surprise for Binnington in the Bud Light NHL Save Streak on Friday. The San Jose Sharks forward pulled out a Justin Bieber mask he had hidden under his jersey and wore it for his attempt on the Blues goalie.
The whole thing was a play on the actual challenge Binnington issued to Bieber on social media Jan. 1, when he saw the pop star posted a series of videos on Instagram of him playing hockey.
Binnington told Bieber he’d give him 10 breakaways and if he scores, the goalie would dye his hair platinum blond. Bieber accepted the challenge, but it hasn’t happened yet, so Hertl and the NHL cooked up the scheme to play on it during the skills competition.
Barzal outskates the champ
Mathew Barzal had the upset of the night at the skills competition.
The New York Islanders forward had a time of 13.175 seconds in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, topping three-time defending champion Connor McDavid‘s time of 13.215. McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers center, went last in the event.
“I told Connor when we were just talking that I couldn’t have skated a better lap,” Barzal said after the event. “I don’t know if I could do it again.”
He doesn’t have to.
Tkachuk plays to his hometown crowd
Matthew Tkachuk is from St. Louis, so it’s not like the Calgary Flames forward needed to do too much to get the hometown crowd on his side this weekend. But he made a move to guarantee their appreciation before competing in the Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars event Friday.
After welcoming his dad, former NHL player Keith Tkachuk, who played for the Blues from 2001-10, onto the platform and hearing him get a huge applause, the younger Tkachuk pulled off his Flames jersey to reveal a hockey-style Yadier Molina St. Louis Cardinals jersey.
Molina is one of the most beloved athletes in St. Louis sports history. He has played 16 seasons with the Cardinals, winning two World Series titles.
Not surprisingly, the fans went crazy when Tkachuk showed them what he was wearing.
“It’s still my home,” Tkachuk said of St. Louis.
Canada claims victory in historic women’s 3-on-3
Rebecca Johnston and Melodie Daoust provided all the offense the Canadian All-Stars needed to defeat the American All-Stars 2-1 in the Elite Women’s 3-on-3 presented by adidas Friday.
Johnston scored 54 seconds into the first period and Daoust scored 2:25 into the second. Ann-Renee Desbiens made 15 saves.
But as much as the win and bragging rights in one of hockey’s fiercest rivalries matter, the history the women made was at the forefront of their minds.
It was the first time 20 women were invited to participate and share the spotlight with the NHL stars at All-Star Weekend. They shined.
“These are some of the best male players in the world, but then again we’re some of the best female players in the world and we’re here on the same stage,” Canada forward Natalie Spooner said. “We’re all hockey players. We’re all the best at what we do, and we get to be here together.”
Letang’s son steals spotlight
Alex Letang, the 7-year-old son of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, answered the majority of the questions and certainly shined in the spotlight during his dad’s media availability prior to the skills competition.
Alex said he plans to wear his dad’s No. 58 when he plays for the Penguins, but if pops is still playing then he’ll take No. 87, which obviously belongs to Penguins center Sidney Crosby and likely will be hanging in the rafters as a retired number when Alex might be ready for the NHL.
He said he wants to play in the NHL as a defenseman.
“I’ll take my dad’s place,” Alex said. “If my dad is still playing, I’m taking someone else’s place, and if my dad is not, I’m taking my dad’s place on defense, that way my dad is going to do the password and I’ll get in. Because he already did it, I already have the same password.”
Berensen, 80, scores in alumni game
Red Berenson, the former longtime University of Michigan coach who played for the Blues from 1967-71, scored maybe the most improbable goal of the weekend.
Berenson, who turned 80 years old Dec. 8, scored on a net-front deflection, beating former NHL goalie and St. Louis native Mike McKenna, in the Blues/NHL Alumni Game at Centene Community Ice Center on Thursday.
“He established net-front presence, screened me and deflected home a Jeff Brown slapper from the top of the circle,” McKenna tweeted. “Sometimes you have to tip your mask.”