The NHL's best player needs to be there, but Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie wonder out loud if the NHL all-star game would be better without Connor McDavid.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: But just seeing the players yawn before the game, I was like, all right, some of these guys are in it. Also seeing Connor McDavid getting introduced and his face-- he just looked so distraught.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I mean, I get that the games ended up being good. But how does it-- it can't be that good of a feeling if you're trying to watch the all-star game, and you're trying to have fun, but some of the players look like they could not-- they looked like they're going through it or they looked like they just want to get this over with. And Connor kind of looked like that. It feels like all weekend, Connor McDavid kind of treated this whole weekend as like--
This is obviously me just like adding to whatever internal monologue he has. But I bet at some point, he was probably thinking, man, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin found a way to not be at this all-star game. When can I get to a point in my career when I can just skip this? Because I do not care. He let everyone know he doesn't care about the scoring title. I bet he doesn't care about the all-star game either. He is all about winning this year.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It does suck that the guy who everybody does want to see-- like in a perfect world, he is the biggest star in the game. It would be great if he actually gave even one iota of care to this. He is--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yes.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: He is completely disinterested, and that's just his personality. You're not going to change it. And that's why I'm all for just bringing the guys that are going to be. Connor McDavid's legacy, his Hall of Fame resume, is not gonna be decided by how many all-star games he attends. This is just--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Agreed.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: This is completely separate from the game itself. This is not a barometer of who the best players are in the league at this moment. Yeah, it's loosely based off that, but that's not the case. It just isn't something that should be factored in at all when talking about how great a player is, how many all-star appearances they have, because it's lost all of its meaning. Having to cancel events, having COVID, there's all these different things that just sort of nullify the importance of it.
And I'm not saying that I don't think Connor McDavid should go. I think you have to have him there. But just get as many people involved that want to be involved, and then that sort of thing might become contagious and it'll actually permeate everybody's sort of personality and how they think about it.
I was really impressed by the Washington guys. It was Tom Wilson, who replaced Alexander Ovechkin, who apparently wanted to be there but hasn't wanted to be there historically. And Evgeny Kuznetsov was there as well. And I'm thinking Kuzy is too cool for school. Tom Wilson's not going to be that exciting. But those guys actually took it seriously and brought a different element to, I think, the weekend. The booing of Tom Wilson--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: That was fun.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: The way he handled it, it was very good. And Kuznetsov was very and oddly interested in the weekend and playing hard. If I thought anyone would be hungover, I would have bet Evgeny Kuznetsov. But I thought those guys were great, and I thought a lot of personalities were great. But you mentioned the Pacific Division missing something. They're missing Trevor Zegras. He would have been unbelievable in that game. And they had him, and they just didn't take him.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Trevor Zegras-- the whole time just watching these games, I'm just like, you know the game needs? They need Trevor Zegras streaking down the ice and then pulling off the lacrosse move in stride. That game, all it--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: And he had space--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: --was missing--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --to do stuff.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: He'd do it. Oh, man, it would have been so fun for him to do. One other player I think--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: He would just post up behind the net. He would have done it on purpose. He would have went behind the net and picked it up and tried to find someone. There would have been--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --little silly things--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: --man.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --like that. I guarantee Zegras would have done that. But the rest of them kind of were like half playing, half not playing, skating after the breakaway if they could get it, but not really trying for it. If it devolves into a game of shinny where guys are just trying to do things, that's the best version of the all-star game. And Trevor Zegras would be the best at it.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Imagine being on the Pacific Division team and you see Trevor Zegras is on your team. If I was on that team, the first thing I'm doing is going to Trevor and being like, hey, I want to do the Dishigan again. I want to be on the other side of that. And I will put myself in a position to be ready. You should be able to go to him and be like, yo, I want to do like a highlight reel play and be GIFed everywhere. Let's do this at the all-star game. That's just like-- that's easy money. Oh, but like--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: He's not gonna to miss another one.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: No, he won't. He'll be at--
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: They'll get him there--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: --more.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --every time.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oh, absolutely.