Pacific among All-Star Game winners

- Paul Skrbina The (Nashville)

ST. LOUIS – The NHL All-Star Game doubled as a convenient family reunion for the Tkachuks.

Matthew and Brady Tkachuk both were named All-Stars for the first time. It just so happened the game was in their home city, where their father, Keith Tkachuk, a five-time All-Star himself, spent nine of his 18 seasons in the NHL.

“It’s kind of like that perfect story,” Matthew said. “It was basically my childhood, this rink. For our family to be here ... it’s such a great story.”

Matthew, a 22-year-old forward for the Flames, was named to the Pacific Division team, which won the final game 5-4 against Brady’s Atlantic team.

Brady, a 20-year-old forward with the Senators, was vacationin­g in the Bahamas during the break when he received his invitation via a call to participat­e as a late replacemen­t for injured Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews.

“It’s important for me to take in everything that comes with this weekend,” Matthew said. “It’s so cool for my brother to be the late addition. It’s exciting we get to share this moment. We’ve scored millions of goals in that rink growing up, when my dad would take us.”

Brady had planned to be at the game anyway to support his brother, but he said he couldn’t pass up the chance to lace up his skates and potentiall­y face his brother’s Pacific team in the threeon-three tournament.

Matthew said while he and his brother looked up to their father, they were “more obsessed with guys like (Patrick Kane).”

“I’m so proud of these guys,” Keith Tkachuk said Friday. “They grew up here.”

Memories in the building where the brothers played Saturday already were there. Such as the time Matthew pushed Brady forehead-first into a couch.

Keith Tkachuk took Matthew to the dressing room where “a trainer stitched him up or taped him up,” Matthew said.

“That’s the legendary story I guess nobody’s going to forget,” he continued.

This weekend gave the brothers and their father another chance to remember what reunited them in St. Louis.

“I’d say I never gave up, so I’m pretty feisty just trying to stay in the battles with him,” Brady said. “We just pushed one another and I’m grateful for that, because I think you can kind of see that in the feistiness with both of us now.”

Matthew had two goals and four assists in two games, while Brady finished with two assists.

Here are the other winners and losers from All-Star weekend:

Winners: Women’s hockey. For the third year in a row, the NHL included some of the best female players from the USA and Canada in the weekend’s festivitie­s. Kendall Coyne Schofield participat­ed in the fastest skater competitio­n in 2019. Forty players played a three-onthree game this year during the skills competitio­n, giving the women’s game some much-needed exposure as it tries to find a stable pro league to call its own.

Losers: The Eastern Conference. Mascots, that is. The Western’s mascots defeated their foes 6-4 early Saturday evening. But was the fix in?

Louie, the Blues’ mascot, scored a goal for the West and had one waved off because it hit the outside of the net.

Winners: The Blues. Again. Laila Anderson, a Blues superfan who was given a Stanley Cup ring by the team and whose name is inscribed on all of the players’ rings, introduced the four Blues All-Stars before the game. She received a hug from each as they skated past her. Anderson has battled a rare immune disease and served as an inspiratio­n for the team during its run last season.

Losers: Fans. The crowd of mostly Blues fans went wild when Patrick Kane scored to tie it 3-3 in the game between the Central Division and the Pacific Division. But when they realized it was Kane who scored, they began to boo, as they had all weekend every time Kane’s name was announced. Kane responded by putting his hand to his ear. He scored another tying goal during the second game, to which fans cheered before booing when his name was announced.

“It’s all in good fun. Sometimes you get booed, you kind of like it a little bit,” Kane said.

Winners: Wayne Gretzky, known as “The Great One,” momentaril­y became “one of the greatest ones” when he was introduced Friday. But Gretzky, who served as an honorary captain Saturday, was introduced properly before Saturday’s games. Gretzky played just 31 games for the Blues, but his wife’s family is from St. Louis and Gretzky has referred to it as “a tremendous city.’

Losers: Those awful sweaters worn by the All-Stars. Enough said.

Winners: Fans of music. Charles Glenn, who spent 19 seasons as the anthem singer for the Blues before retiring after they won the Stanley Cup last season, returned to do it one more time Saturday.

Awolnation played during player introducti­ons.

Grammy Award-winning band Green Day performed twice Saturday, once outside before the game and once inside between games.

Losers: Fans watching Green Day’s performanc­e on live television – and in the arena. The band dropped a few Fbombs during its performanc­e.

Winners: Anthony Duclair and David Pastrnak each recorded hat tricks for the Atlantic Division in its 9-5 victory against the Metropolit­an Division. Tomas Hertl (four goals) and Leon Draisaitl each recorded hat tricks for the Pacific in its 10-5 win against the Central.

Losers: Goalies. As usual. They combined to allow 38 goals in the three games. Connor Hellebuyck allowed six, the most in one game Saturday.

Winners: Pastrnak, who was on the losing team, was named the All-Star Game MVP after finishing with four goals and two assists.

Losers: Hertl, who finished with five goals, including the winner in his team’s victory. Pastrnak said he was unsure how the voting was done but he appreciate­d winning. Voting was done by fans on Twitter through the NHL’s handle. Hertl didn’t even finish in the top four. Matthew Tkachuk, Draisaitl and Duclair rounded out the top four.

 ??  ?? Brady and Matthew Tkachuk, right, pose before the NHL All-Star Game. They faced each other in the final Saturday. BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES
Brady and Matthew Tkachuk, right, pose before the NHL All-Star Game. They faced each other in the final Saturday. BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES

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