Amidst all the hot takes about the NHL All-Star game and its future, you have to admit — it’s still pretty cool to see your favorite players skate through those pyrotechnics, sabertooth tiger front-and-center on the TV screen.
We’ll see that again tonight when Roman Josi represents the Predators in St. Louis for the 2020 All-Star weekend. It’s the captain’s third appearance at the NHL’s showcase of stars (or — more accurately — showcase of above-average players who step in when the stars cancel).
It’s Josi’s third trip to the All-Star game, and the 26th bid in franchise history.
Thirteen different people have represented the Predators in some regard during all the festivities. Some of their trips have been rather memorable. Others’ have been... well... unusual.
So let’s take a walk through memory lane, shall we?
1999: Sergei Krivokrasov
How he got there: The O.G. All-Star. Krivokrasov, a former first-round pick of the Blackhawks, quickly became one of Nashville’s brightest young stars during the Preds’ inaugural season. The Russian forward led the team with 15 goals and 28 points at the 1999 All-Star break, and was named to the World All-Stars’ roster.
How’d he do?: Krivokrasov’s highlight of the weekend came during the skills competition, when he scored three goals on four shots against Ron Tugnutt during the “rapid fire” competition. He failed to score a point during the World’s 8-6 loss to North America in the game itself.
2000: Kimmo Timonen
How he got there: While still a few years away from hitting his prime, Timonen emerged as the Predators’ top defender in the team’s second season. The 24-year-old Finn entered the break with 7 goals and 20 assists while averaging more than 20 minutes a night for the Predators, good enough for a spot on the World All-Star team.
How’d he do?: Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Timonen on the ice during All-Star weekend. He suffered an injury in early January and missed the game (plus a month of Preds action.) This would lead to a five year gap between Predators All-Star appearances.
2004: Tomas Vokoun
How he got there: Six months before the Predators used an eighth round draft pick on a future Vezina winner, Vokoun was in the midst of one of the best goaltending seasons in franchise history. The 27-year-old started 48 of the Predators’ 54 games before the break, posting a 24-19-5 record with a .909 save percentage. He’d go on to play 73 games that season, en route to Nashville’s first playoff appearance in team history.
How’d he do?: Vokoun played the entire second period for the Western All-Stars, and unfortunately, was the goalie who picked up the “L” in the East’s 6-4 win in St. Paul. But fear not, he did have one random highlight. #29 wore a live helmet cam on his mask during the skills competition, the first time that technology had been used in an NHL broadcast. So, there’s that.
2004: Kimmo Timonen
How he got there: The second Predator who earned a nod to St. Paul. By this time, Timonen was starting to be recognized as one of the best offensive-minded defenders in the league, with 28 points heading into the break. He also led the Predators in icetime with just over 24 minutes a game.
How’d he do?: Timonen was one of the stars for the West in the skills competition. He was one of the members of the West’s winning puck relay team, and scored a highlight-reel worthy goal against Jose Theodore during the breakaway challenge. He failed to find the scoresheet in the game itself.
2007: Kimmo Timonen
How he got there: Timomen’s first (and only) year as Preds’ captain may have been his best season ever. The Preds’ captain had 35 points in 49 games, en route to a career best 55-point season. It’s the defender’s third and final All-Star appearance with Nashville.
How’d he do?: Once again, a Predators skater fails to register a point in the All-Star game, which
means David Poile would probably offer him a $8M contract to be one his forwards today is unfortunate. Fun fact, though: Yannic Perreault, who was a Pred the year before, scored twice.
2007: Barry Trotz
How he got there: Trotz was picked to be the West’s assistant coach opposite Randy Carlyle by virtue of Nashville having the best record in the NHL at the All-Star break... or by having connections with Carlyle maybe... I don’t really know how coaches work in the All-Star game.
How’d he do?: He shouted things like “Move! Move! Move!” and “Change it up, boys!” at an All-Star level, which without a doubt had an impact in the West’s 12-9 win. Fun fact, this was the first year a Predator (in this case, two) were on the winning team in the All-Star team. Gold star.
2008: Jason Arnott
How he got there: Surprisingly, this was only the 14-year veteran’s second (and final) All-Star nod. The Predators’ first-year captain had 17 goals and 44 points at the break, en route to the third-best scoring season in franchise history.
How’d he do?: Voilà! Arnott became the first Pred to score a point in the All-Star game, assisting on a Dion Phaneuf goal in the third period. Fun fact #2: Arnott became the first Pred to participate in an individual event at the skills competition, finishing third in hardest shot competition with a 100.3 MPH shot... to which Shea Weber replied “lol, loser.”
2009: Pekka Rinne
How he got there: Baby Pekka was a part of the NHL’s first ever YoungStars game, which, like the NBA’s, had a Rookies vs. Sophomores format. Rinne was named to the Rookie team as a replacement for Columbus goaltender (and future Calder winner) Steve Mason. Rinne had a .916 save% and 4 shutouts headed into the break.
How’d he do?: In a sign of awesomeness yet to come, Pekka made 20 saves to lead the Rookie team to a 9-5 victory over the Sophomores (who had Carey Price in goal). Fun fact, one of Rinne’s Rookie teammates was a future NHL teammate, James Neal.
2009: Shea Weber
How he got there: The first of many times we’ll see Mr. Angry Hockey Captain on this list. This was Weber’s breakthrough season with the Preds, and his 14 goals at the All-Star break was tops among NHL defenders.
How’d he do?: This was the beginning of one of the great Skills Competition rivalries of our generation — if those are indeed a thing. Weber finished second in the hardest shot to Zdeno Chara, 105.4 MPH to 103.4 MPH. The West lost the actual game 12-11 in a shootout. Weber didn’t register a point, to which Jason Arnott replied “lol, loser.”
2011: Shea Weber
How he got there: This was Weber’s second straight All-Star game. The newly-named captain had 30 points (9 G, 21 A) at the break, and led the Preds with just under 25 minutes of ice-time per night on the NHL’s second-best defense.
How’d he do?: This was the first year of the “fantasy draft” format, and Weber wound up being the fourth pick for Team Lidstrom. Weber actually beat Chara in the prelim rounds of the hardest shot competition 104.8-104.1, but lost in the finals thanks to Chara’s record-breaking 105.9 rocket. He’d find solace the next night, getting four assists in Team Lidstrom’s 11-10 win.
2012: Ryan Suter
How he got there: This was Suter’s first All-Star appearance. The finesse guy to Weber’s “destroy everyone” had 25 points at the break, while averaging a whopping 26:20 TOI per night.
How’d he do?: Suter was drafted by Team Chara, presumably as a way to get into Shea Weber’s mind ahead of the hardest shot competition. Or not. Who knows/cares? In the skills competition, he participated in the challenge relay (which his team lost) and the elimination shootout (which his team lost). He did have one assist in Team Chara’s 12-9 win. This appearance would help Suter cement his place as a beloved Predator, and everyone lived happily ever after.
2012: Craig Smith
How he got there: Yup, Craig Smith has been to an NHL All-Star weekend! He was one of the rookies put on Team Alfredsson, boasting an impressive 11 goals and 18 assists at the break in his first NHL season.
How’d he do?: The YoungStars game wasn’t a thing anymore, but instead, Craignog got to take part in the skills competition. He handled the puck-handling part for Team Alfredsson in the Challenge Relay, helping his club to victory. More fun facts, this year’s Rookie participants featured two other future Predators... Ryan Johansen and — yep, you guessed it — Cody Hodgson.
2012: Shea Weber
How he got there: Halfway through a season that some Preds fans argue is still his best all-around year, Captain McAngryBeard had 10 goals and 34 points. He’d finish second in the Norris race, but he’d get his third straight All-Star nod as a consolation.
How’d he do?: Chara’s plan to split Weber from his loyal, definitely-wouldn’t-bail-on-him-in-the-summer defensive partner for the sole purpose of winning the hardest shot competition paid off. Weber was drafted to Team Alfredsson, and once again placed second to Chara’s 108.8 MPH shot (Weber topped out at 106.0 MPH). Weber did not register a point in the actual game.
2015: Filip Forsberg
How he got there: The 20-year-old was initially just supposed to be among the rookie group participating in the skills competition, but he was bumped up to the All-Star roster as a replacement for the injured Evgeni Malkin. Forsberg led Nashville in scoring with 40 points (15 G, 25 A) at the break.
How’d he do?: It’s safe to say Forsberg had himself an eventful weekend. It started with #9 getting a new Honda Accord by virtue of being one of the last two players left in the fantasy draft. He wound up on Team Toews, and helped the squad to wins in the elimination shootout and challenge relay at the Skills Competition. Forsberg would then make history as the first Predator to score a goal in an All-Star game, scoring twice in Team Toews’s 17-12 win.
2015: Peter Laviolette
How he got there: The Predators had the NHL’s best record at the start of the new year, and as a result, Laviolette was named the head coach for Team Toews. This was Lavy’s second trip to All-Star weekend, but first as head coach.
How’d he do?: Lavy’s Team Toews won the game 17-12 (a record for goals in a game), and I can only assume that was all thanks to quality coaching. His highlight came when he found out Kyle Turris didn’t make the All-Star game.
2015: Pekka Rinne
How he got there: After a year derailed by an injury some thought might cut his career short, Rinne rebounded with his best statistical season in years. He led the league with a .931 save% at the break, and had threee shutouts to boot.
How’d he do?: Unfortunately, Rinne hurt his knee in a collision with Vancouver’s Chris Higgins, which kept him out of action for nearly a month. Rinne withdrew from the All-Star game, and was replaced by the Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak.
2015: Shea Weber
How he got there: It’s Weber’s fourth straight All-Star nod, and I’m running out of things to say for this section, so I’ll just say “It’s Shea Weber.”
How’d he do?: Weber was drafted to Team Toews, alongside Forsberg and Laviolette. There was no Zdeno Chara at this All-Star game, which FINALLY opened the door for Weber to win his first career hardest shot competition. Weber set his personal best with a 108.5 MPH slap shot, and scored an assist in the game.
2016: Roman Josi
How he got there: It’s the year Nashville hosted the game, so you know we were going to get a plethora of Preds on the roster. First, the future Mr. Handsome Swiss Leader-Man earned his first All-Star bid by racking up 35 points at the All-Star break, most on the Preds at the time.
How’d he do?: Josi had himself a respectable showing at the Skills Competition, finishing second to Dylan Larkin’s record-setting run in the fastest skater competition (the first Pred to ever take part in the event), and beating out Johnny Gaudreau in the puck control leg of the Skills Challenge Relay. He had one goal in the All-Star game the next day in the Central Division’s 9-6 loss to the Pacific (the first year the All-Star game moved to the current four-division tournament battle royale).
2016: James Neal
How he got there: The Preds leading goal scorer at the break with 18 goals, Neal was added to the Central team as a replacement for the injured Jonathan Toews. It was Neal’s second All-Star nod, and his only with Nashville.
How’d he do?: Neal’s most noteworthy moment came during the Breakaway Challenge in the Skills Competition, when he brought out Dierks Bentley and set up the country star for a 2-on-0 goal against Corey Schneider. The moment cemented Bentley as a more viable scoring option for the Predators than Matt Irwin. Neal scored twice in the All-Star game the next night in the Central’s loss.
2016: Pekka Rinne
How he got there: Despite this not being Rinne’s strongest statistical season (19-15-7 at the break with a .906 save%,) he was still picked to be one of the Central’s two goaltenders because — c’mon, they’re not going to leave Pekka out of the All-Star game in Nashville.
How’d he do?: Rinne played the first half of the Central’s loss and stopped 7 of 10 shots. But the most notable moment? PEKKA RINNE GOT A PENALTY IN AN NHL ALL-STAR GAME. No really. A referee tagged him for illegally playing the puck outside the trapezoid — again — IN THE NHL ALL-STAR GAME! Any guesses as to who served that penalty? Matt Duchene.
2016: Shea Weber
How he got there: This was the Captain’s fifth straight All-Star game appearance, and his final with the Predators. Weber had 30 points again at the midway point, and like Rinne, you’re not going to leave Shea Weber out of the All-Star game in Nashville.
How’d he do?: In front of the home crowd, Weber successfully defended his hardest shot crown, topping out at 108.1 MPH, just short of his high-mark from the year before. The next night, he picked up 2 assists and 2 blocked shots. Yes, people block shots in the All-Star game, apparently.
2017: P.K. Subban
How he got there: Pernell-Karl’s made a little franchise history in his first season with the Preds. He became the first player to be voted into the All-Star game. He was named captain of the Central division via fan vote. Subban had 18 points in 33 games for Nashville at the midway point.
How’d he do?: Subban actually had a low-key All-Star weekend. The Preds had just activated him from the injured reserve a week earlier, so P.K. sat out of all the Skills Competition events. He did play about 7 minutes in the Central’s 10-3 loss to the Pacific, getting a goal in the process.
2018: Peter Laviolette
How he got there: The Predators were halfway to their Presidents’ Trophy-winning season, which was enough for Laviolette to earn his second All-Star bid with the Predators. He was named head coach of the Central division squad.
How’d he do?: For the third straight year, the Central division lost to the Pacific 5-2. Something something something Peter Laviolette’s offense something something.
2018: Pekka Rinne
How he got there: A no-brainer pick for the All-Star game, Rinne was the NHL’s best goalie in 2018. Pekka had a 24-8-3 record, a .927 save%, and four shutouts at the break.
How’d he do?: Months before hoisting the Vezina, Rinne posted a ridiculous 13-save streak during the inaugural Save Streak competition, only to be bested by Marc-Andre Fleury (who had 14.) Pekka would go on to play the first period of the All-Star game, stopping all four shots he faced, including a highlight reel save on Connor McDavid. Connor Hellebuyck ruined the next period.
2018: P.K. Subban
How he got there: For the second year in a row, the fans voted in P.K. as one of the All-Star game captains (for the Central team). Subban was in the midst of his best season as a Pred, posting 37 points at the break.
How’d he do?: P.K. finished second in the hardest shot competition behind Alex Ovechkin. He’d follow that up by scoring a goal in the second period of the All-Star game. It wound up being Subban’s last All-Star appearance for Nashville.... I will reMEEEEEMber youuuu.
2019: Roman Josi
How he got there: Josi earned his second All-Star nod thanks to a hot start to the 2019 season. He had 36 points at the break while averaging just over 25 minutes a game.
How’d he do?: The Captain had a somewhat forgettable showing in the Premier Passing competition, taking one minute and 47 seconds to finish his run (for comparison, the winner, Leon Draisaitl, finished it in 69 seconds). Josi still came in first place in the handsome competition, and had one of the best showings by a Preds skater in the All-Star game: 1 goal and 3 assists in the Central’s 10-4 win over the Pacific, and 2 assists in the championship (or whatever you call it) game — a 10-5 loss to the Metropolitan division.
2019: Pekka Rinne
How he got there: This was Pekka’s third trip to the All-Star game in four years, thanks to another hot start: 18-12-3 with a .915 save% and three shutouts.
How’d he do?: Rinne couldn’t replicate his success in the save streak competition, topping out at two saves in a row. But he DID replicate his success in the All-Star game, stopping 8 of 9 shots in the Central’s 10-4 win, and 6 of 10 in the championship/final/whatever game against the Metropolitan.
How to Watch the 2020 All-Star festivities
When: Tonight, 7:00 PM CST
When: Saturday, January 25, 7:15 PM CST