Kraken foe, Penguins Crosby

Kraken All-Star Journal; NHL Friday, Big Trade 2

Kraken All-Star Journal

Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand was one of the final four players selected Thursday night for the NHL All-Star squads. To avoid potential embarrassment, like being the last kid picked for a game in a school yard, rather than going one-by-one to the end, the last four players who remained stood together and were handed random, over-sized envelopes, each holding a card with the name of their team and a photo of their celebrity captain.

Bjorkstrand ended up joining the roster of Team MacKinnon, captained by Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Canadian singer Tate McRae.

The other player-celebrity captain sets were Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs with singer Justin Bieber, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers with actor Will Arnett, and the Hughes brothers, Jack of the New Jersey Devils and Quinn of the Vancouver Canucks, with singer Michael Bublé.

“Beebs” was ‘too cool for school’ for the most part, sitting off to the side as Matthews made his picks with the help of Toronto teammate Morgan Rielly.

The winning 3-on-3 roster in Saturday’s four-team mini-round-robin splits a million bucks.

The Friday evening Skills Competition begins at 4 pm pacific time.

Post formalities involved meeting up with old friends and Hockey Hall of Famers at Bottom LIne, a favorite restaurant and watering hole next door to the Hall.

Over the years one of the greats I never really had a chance to chat with or interview was 2019 inductee and three-time Stanley Cup champion Guy Carbonneau. That changed last night when we talked pucks for more than an hour. Generally a quiet, pretty shy man publicly, he shared some great stories about his days with the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars.

Carbonneau does some hockey analysis part-time for a French speaking network in Quebec and spends the rest of his winter intermittently in Florida.

Some quiet recovery time today gradually ramped up to getting back to the rink for a press availability with PIttsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (pictured), happening as I type this.

“Skills” starts shortly. There’s a million bucks involved with this event as well, going to the most successful of 12 skaters. One of eight goalies will win 100-grand. The new format is too complicated to share within these pages.

Kraken forward Bjorkstrand is not one of the participants. He’ll play in Saturday’s 3-on-3.

Another Big Deal

Canadiens GM Kent Hughes did pretty well in deals for veteran forward Sean Monahan over the last year-and-a-half. He picked up a 1st-round pick (conditional 2025) in August of 2022 as a big bonus for taking Monahan’s contract off the hands of the Calgary Flames, and then added another 1st-rounder (2024) on Friday by moving the lefty center to the Winnipeg Jets. He also added a 2027 3rd-rounder.

He’s not quite the calibre of player that the Vancouver Canucks nabbed on Thursday, righty center Elias Lindholm from the Flames, but Monahan has been productive, is a workaholic, and adds depth up the middle to a surprisingly good Jets club.

It’s a pre-playoff arms race, with significant deals getting done well ahead of the March NHL trade deadline.

Earlier Kraken:

— Kraken NHL Thursday: Festive All-Stars, Huge Trade

— Kraken Hangover; Be A Goldfish, Ollie’s Trip

Rob Simpson with Oliver Bjorkstrand.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.