Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros will be one of the participants in a new skills challenge at the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend called “Tendy Tandem”.
This new event at the NHL All-Star Skills will feature two goalies on each team joining forces, but with different roles. One will have to actually shoot the puck to certain spots within the net, and the other will be faced with the challenge of making saves from a range of different shooters.
Stars from the Team USA and Team Canada women’s ice hockey teams will be the shooters which will include Hilary Knight, Alex Carpenter, Emily Clark, Rebecca Johnston and Sarah Nurse.
Saros will team up with his fellow Central Division rival Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets. I have to say that’s quite the duo of goalies who both have Vezina Trophy pedigree, but will that be enough to win this whacky new event?
This comes off as one of those events that’s going to be just as unpredictable for the participants as it will be the players. The rules seem a little confusing and unclear, but I’m thinking it’s all going to be about how well the goalies does at making the saves to get the actual points. The shooting aspect of it will be interesting to say the least.
I’m thinking Saros needs to be in the crease to the make the saves. Let’s see Hellebuyck take the shots and set Saros up to bring home the points.
The shooting aspect will be key here. The more accurate the shooting goalie is, the more points I guess will be up for grabs? Also, there will be different sets of rushes coming at the goalie in the crease. Waves of three skaters, two skaters and one per a press release from NHL.com.
Too bad we don’t have Nashville Predators all-time great Pekka Rinne competing in this one. After his goalie goal against the Chicago Blackhawks, he’s be a shoe-in for the shooting aspect of this event.
The other goalies participating will be Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin (Metropolitan), Andrei Vasilevskiy and Linus Ullmark (Atlantic), Logan Thompson and Stuart Skinner (Pacific).
I do applaud the NHL for getting creative with their skills competition. The tried and true events like “Hardest Shot” and “Fastest Skater” are staples of the skills competition and will always be the favorites of the old school fans. But with younger fans beginning their hockey fandoms, trying fresh ideas is important as well.
The Tendy Tandem has potential. I love featuring the goalies. They’ve never really had an event that features them strongly, although the consecutive save streak challenge had its suspenseful moments.
Added as an extra monetary bonus for the competing players of each skills competition event, the winners will each receive $30,000.
There are also two other new events in this year’s NHL All-Star Skills. These will be outdoors under the sunny skies of South Florida with the Enterprise NHL Splash Shot and the Chipotle Pitch N’ Puck.
Here’s my picks to win each event. Proceed with caution on these:
Faster Skater: Kirill Kaprizov (MIN)
Breakaway Challenge: David Pastrnak (BOS)
Tendy Tandem: Saros/Hellebuyck (NSH/WPG)
Splash Shot: Nathan MacKinnon (COL)
Accuracy Shooting: Nikita Kucherov (TB)
Pitch N’ Puck: Johnny Gaudreau (CBJ)
Hardest Shot: Josh Morrissey (WPG)
Also, how about the list of competitors for Accuracy Shooting? Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jack Hughes, Artemi Panarin just to name a few. What a loaded list that will be probably the most entertaining event when it’s all said and done. I’m riding with Kucherov.
Hey, at least they’re being creative. An “A” for effort for sure. Let’s see if it actually delivers. The events are slated to get underway on Friday, February 3 at 7 P.M. EDT. You can catch all of the festivities on ESPN/ESPN+ and additionally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.