Now in their 50th season, the New York Islanders have been well represented at the NHL’s showcase event. This season’s edition gives Islanders fans three players to watch during the event. Ilya Sorokin and Brock Nelson will be making their All-Star game debuts, and newly acquired Bo Horvat will also be sporting an Islanders jersey during the event. With the weekend events kicking off tonight, we look back at Islanders players who have participated in the event over the years.
Mathew Barzal Tops Connor McDavid as Fastest Skater
Although Mathew Barzal leads the New York Islanders in points this season, he will not participate in this year’s All-star festivities. Barzal has 12 goals and 31 assists for 43 points in 51 games this season. He has represented the club twice as an All-Star in 2019 and 2020. In his first appearance, Barzal helped lead the Metropolitan Division to victory, winning the 3-on-3 tournament with a 10-5 win over the Central Division. The Islanders’ former first-round pick scored two goals and added three assists during the tournament. The elite playmaker also participated in his first fastest-skater competition finishing third with a time of 13.780.
While making his second appearance in 2020, Barzal again took part in the fastest-skater competition. With all eyes on the three-time champion Connor McDavid, the Islanders center pulled off the upset and posted the best time with a blazing 13.175.
The former Islanders captain John Tavares represented the team in five All-Star games playing in the 2012,2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 events. He picked up a goal and an assist while making his All-Star debut in the 2012 event.
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However, his most impressive showing came during the 2015 event in Columbus, where he became just the sixth player in NHL history to score four goals in an All-Star game. He also showcased his sniping abilities while winning the 2016 Accuracy Shooting competition.
While playing for the New York Islanders, speedy Michael Grabner scored a career-high 34 goals during the 2010-11 season. He represented the Islanders in 2011 as one of the rookies to participate in the event. During the skills competition, he put his wheels on display by winning the competition with a time of 14.238.
The French-Canadian forward, Pierre Turgeon, twice participated in the All-Star festivities during his time with the Islanders. The 1992-93 season was one for the ages for the highly skilled center as he posted career highs with 58 goals and 74 assists for 132 points. During the memorable season, he also put together an MVP-worthy performance at the 1993 All-Star game. Turgeon scored three goals and two assists as the Wales Conference as they beat the Campbell Conference 16-6. Despite the five-point effort, Mike Gartner was named the All-Star MVP.
Turgeon returned as an All-Star for the 1994 game and again represented the Islanders well. He posted four assists, including an assist on another former Islander, Alexei Yashin’s game-winning goal.
The Islanders great Bryan Trottier represented the club eight times as an NHL All-Star. In his All-Star debut in 1976, he chipped in with two assists. However, his most memorable All-Star moment came in the 1986 game, where he scored the game-winning goal in overtime. Trottier buried a nice pass from linemate Mike Bossy to seal the victory.
Bossy was among the most prolific natural goal scorers the NHL has ever seen. Throughout his illustrious career, Bossy was an All-Star seven times. In 1982, he was named the MVP as he scored two goals, including the game-winner, in a low scoring 4-2 victory. In addition, he was named the captain of the Wales Conference All-Stars during the 1985 event.
While the scoring was generally much lower during the 1980s All-Star games, Bossy scored two goals and two assists through his seven appearances.
The high-scoring New York Islanders defenceman played in nine All-Star games. Potvin captained the Wales Conference at the 1984 All-Star game, where he scored a goal and one assist in a 7-6 victory. Over his career, he captained the Islanders to their four Stanley Cup championships and truly was an All-Star for the franchise finishing with 310 goals and 742 assists for 1052 points in 1060 games.
Interesting All-Star Facts and Honourable Mentions
The Islanders have hosted the All-Star game once over their 50 years of existence. The 1983 All-Star game was held at the Nassau Coliseum. The 1983 event features four players from the host team, including Bossy, Trottier, Potvin and Dave Langevin. Legendary Islanders’ head coach Al Arbour was also the coach during the event.
Billy Smith was named All-Star MVP at the 1978 game as he made 16 saves during his 30 minutes of action.
Ed Westfall was the first New York Islander player to participate in an All-Star game; he played in the 1973 game. Westfall played seven seasons with the Islanders scoring 105 goals and adding 181 assists for 286 points in 493 games.
Former Islanders defenceman, Adrian Aucoin, won the hardest shot contest in 2004 with an impressive 102.2 MPH cannon of a shot.
Exciting Weekend for Islanders Fans
This weekend’s festivities will be exciting for Islanders fans who choose to watch the showcase event. The event kicks off tonight with the Skills competition at 7 PM ET. Ilya Sorokin will take part in the Tendy Tandem event, while forward Brock Nelson will be taking part in the Accuracy Shooting competition.
Another exciting aspect will be the presence of the newly acquired Bo Horvat, who will don an Islanders jersey during the skills competition but will be representing the Pacific Division All-Stars for Saturday’s 3-on-3 tournament.
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From Saskatchewan,Canada I am a family man and father of four, full-time blue collar worker, and an aspiring hockey journalist covering Boston Bruins at Last Word on Sports and Bruins Insider. I am now also covering the New York Islanders at The Hockey Writers.