NHL All-Star Game 2018: New Format, Rules and Full Weekend Schedule

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is defended by Joe Pavelski #8 of the San Jose Sharks during the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Tournament Final between the Pacific Division All-Stars and the Metropolitan Division All-Stars at Staples Center on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you're looking for a fun alternative to fill the void left by the absence of competitive football on Sunday, may we suggest the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. 

The event being held at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Florida is the most unique All-Star Game of the four major professional sports due to the tweaks made by the NHL in recent years. 

Sunday's exhibition features some of the biggest stars in the game and is a showcase worth watching this year since you won't be able to witness stars light up the rinks at the Winter Olympics. 

Below is everything you need to know about the weekend's festivities in Tampa Bay. 

           

New Format

The NHL instituted the three-on-three format for the 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville, Tennessee. There are four teams, each representing one of the four divisions in the league. 

The two teams representing the Eastern and Western Conferences will face off against each other on Sunday, with the two winners squaring off in the championship tilt.

The Metropolitan Division will face the Atlantic Division for East bragging rights, while the Central and Pacific Division will follow with West glory on the line. 

Six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies comprise the roster of each division. 

            

Rules

Each of the three games taking place at Amalie Arena will be 20 minutes long, with the teams changing ends at the 10-minute mark.

If the game is tied after 20 minutes of regulation, the winner will be determined by a shootout. 

           

Weekend Schedule 

Saturday, January 27: NHL All-Star Skills Competition (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) 

Sunday, January 28: NHL All-Star Game (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC) 

               

Metropolitan Looking for 2nd Straight Win 

The Metropolitan will try to become the first division to win in the new All-Star format twice after taking home the crown in 2017. 

It might be hard to bet against the Metropolitan on Sunday with a roster that includes Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares of the New York Islanders. 

They are three of five returners from the Metropolitan's triumph over the Pacific Division at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, a year ago. 

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Columbus Blue Jackets defender Seth Jones are the other two holdovers. 

While you may think one of the top forwards shined in 2017, it was Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds who scored the game-winning goal. Jones was the only one of the five returners to score in last year's championship. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Taylor Hall #9 of the New Jersey Devils, Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrate a goal against the Pacific Division All-Stars during the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

A return trip to the championship won't be easy to earn, with the Atlantic Division standing in the way in the semifinals.

Young stars Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to assist the four Tampa Bay Lightning players participating on home ice to the $1 million prize. 

Edmonton's Connor McDavid headlines the Pacific Division team that made it to the final a year ago. He will be flanked by plenty of top-notch talent, including Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau as well as a new face to All-Star weekend in Vancouver rookie Brock Boeser. 

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is the marquee name on the Central Division roster, and he'll be joined by Nashville defender P.K. Subban and Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon among others on a team that is trying to make the final for the first time in the new format. 

                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90 

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