Around the NHL: NHL Stars Head to Las Vegas, Eichel's Imminent Return, 'Yotes Shock the Avs, More

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Around the NHL: NHL Stars Head to Las Vegas, Eichel’s Imminent Return, ‘Yotes Shock the Avs, More

Chicago Blackhawks

We’re two days away from the NHL All-Star weekend in Las Vegas, where we’ll be treated to a show comprised of some of the brightest stars in the game! We’re also not far away from one of the NHL’s biggest stars making his return to the ice and his debut in Vegas. We’ll get into all that and more in the latest around the NHL.

Viva Las Vegas!

After tonight’s action wraps, the NHL will be heading into the NHL All-Star break with some of the game’s brightest stars heading to wear the light shine the most brilliant, Las Vegas! This season, the Chicago Blackhawks will be represented by Alex DeBrincat (first ASG appearance). DeBrincat leads the Blackhawks with 36 points (26 G, 10 A) in 45 games. Aside from the Chicago representation in the All-Star Game, the NHL is trotting out a Vegas-centric skills challenge this weekend that has my attention.

This year’s skills challenge will feature two new events highlighting the famous Las Vegas strip. The Fountain Face-Off will take place on the world-famous Fountains of Bellagio, and the NHL 21 in ’22 will take place on Las Vegas Boulevard. I wish I could be there for this weekend. Not just because I could use some Vegas weather as I look out my window and it looks like I’m in Hoth from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, but also because the Bellagio Fountains are one of my favorite things to watch; imagine how cool it’s going to be seeing hockey played there!? The All-Star Skills will also feature more familiar events such as Fastest SkaterSave StreakHardest ShotBreakaway Challenge, and Accuracy Shooting.

You can read the rules and format details for all seven events that the NHL will hold on Friday night here:

The NHL All-Star Skills starts at 6:30 pm (ct) on Friday and can be seen on ESPN, and the NHL All-Star Game is set for 2:00 pm (ct) on Saturday afternoon on ABC and ESPN+.

Speaking of the skills challenge, remember when Patrick Kane went Clark Kent on us with some help from Hall of Famer Marian Hossa?

Jack Eichel’s Return Imminent

The Vegas Golden Knights will be getting a significant boost to their lineup soon as Jack Eichel’s return appears to be imminent. The Daily Faceoff’s Scott Burnside reported that Vegas “GM Kelly McCrimmon has been very cautious about a timeline for the former Buffalo captain, whose neck disc replacement surgery seems to have gone according to plan.” in his Tuesday column.

Eichel has been seen on the ice practicing with the Knights for some time now, but he’s still wearing a non-contact jersey, so his “imminent” return feels more like sometime in February. Either way, the Golden Knights are about to get Jack Eichel into their lineup in time for the stretch run. Vegas is currently atop the Pacific Division with 57 points (two points ahead of Anaheim). Eichel will likely slide right into the top-line center spot, which bodes well for a team that saw their 2020-21 Stanley Cup Playoffs hopes dashed by Montreal mainly due to a lack of center depth.

Eichel’s former team, the Buffalo Sabres, were in town on Tuesday night. While Eichel wasn’t playing, Vegas welcomed Alex Tuch, Cody Eakin, and Peyton Krebs back to T-Mobile Arena for the first time since they were traded to Buffalo in the Eichel trade in November.

Thanks to the All-Star Break, the Knights shouldn’t be without their coveted return for many more games, with the NHL schedule being on the lighter side in February.

‘Yotes Snap Avs’ Streak in Wild Upset

The Arizona Coyotes came into the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night as significant underdogs. I’m talking MAJOR underdogs. I saw the Coyotes as low as +410 and as high as +470 at various books, with the Colorado Avalanche riding an 18-game home winning streak entering last night’s game. So, naturally, this happened …


One-Timers …

•   The Blackhawks are full-steam ahead in their search for the next GM in Chicago. Mario has some ideas for who he would interview if running the Blackhawks. Check them out here:

•   New York Rangers’ head coach Gerard Gallant notched career win No. 300 this week. Gallant’s 300 wins come with stops in New York (2021-22), Vegas (2017-20), Florida (2014-17), and Columbus (2003-07).

•   Happy Birthday, Dominik Hasek! The Hall of Famer posted a .922 save percentage in 735 NHL games with the Blackhawks (1990-92), Sabres (1992-2001), and Red Wings (2001-08). Check out Hasek’s top-10 career highlights:

•   Nazem Kadri with the ridiculous goal against the ‘Yotes on Tuesday night:

•   Daniel Sprong scores and then bulldozes two guys, including one of his teammates:

•   Filip Forsberg with an absolute LASER BEAM!

•   Chris Kreider’s face after the goal says it all … holy cow, what a pass:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.