Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat shows personality on NHL All-Star Weekend

It turns out that Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and Wild star Kirill Kaprizov have some chemistry together.

DeBrincat and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr do too.

NHL All-Star Weekend turned out to be full of unlikely combinations for DeBrincat. And his first trip to the NHL’s most publicized mid-season event – ​​under the lights of Las Vegas – also offered him the opportunity to show off the more playful side of his typically soft-spoken personality.

”[I was] playing with new guys — obviously very talented players — and I had a blast there,” he said on Saturday. ”It takes you away from [your] regular routine, and you have fun with guys. It was . . . a big moment.”

On a line with Blues forward Jordan Kyrou and Coyotes forward Clayton Keller in the All-Star Game, DeBrincat topped the Central Division semifinal against the Atlantic Division.

He got the secondary assist on Kyrou’s first goal, then beat Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy under the bar on a breakaway before burying a nice setup from Kaprizov to put the finishing touches on the 8- 5 from Central.

He was dropped from the scoresheet in Central’s 5-3 loss to the Metropolitan Division in the final, however forfeiting part of the $1 million prize awarded to the winning team.

DeBrincat appears to have cut Central’s deficit to one goal after finding an open space in the slot and firing a shot past Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, but the goal was ruled out as offside.

“I knew I was offside,” DeBrincat admitted later. “I was hoping they hadn’t examined it. ”

Alex DeBrincat scored two goals and added an assist in the All-Star Game.
AP Photo/Sam Morris

The level of effort across the board seemed to increase significantly from the semi-finals to the final and possibly even approach 100% as Central sent in an extra striker and peppered Jarry with shots in the final minutes. .

Those moments swept away any previous worries that the NHL’s three-on-three approach to the All-Star Game might have lost some of its luster. The teams’ efforts to win when the bracket format debuted in 2016 didn’t quite last, but the format retained most of its appeal.

“Towards the end there, we obviously wanted to win,” DeBrincat said. ”[The Metropolitan players] closed it pretty well. They had guys all the time. Our first game was more “breakaway and breakaway”. But they always had guys back, so we had some issues.

Skills competition, on the other hand, has moved in the opposite direction. Perhaps wisely for the NHL, it almost entirely values ​​entertainment above actual competition.

DeBrincat’s entry into the breakaway contest on Friday maxed out the absurdity factor. Sporting a fake beard and carrying a fake baby to look like Zach Galifianakis’ character in ‘The Hangover’ – and accompanied by an entourage featuring Carr and an inflatable tiger – DeBrincat’s ‘breakaway’ was all about catching a Carr’s miniature football, dropping onto the ice and sending it into the net with his backhand.

He didn’t exude as much natural showmanship as fellow breakaway competitors Trevor Zegras (Ducks) and Jack Hughes (Devils), but he clearly pushed himself outside his comfort zone – something that will only heighten his profile as an emerging superstar.

And, best of all, he was able to enjoy a weekend away from the misery of the Hawks’ situation.

“We went through a bit of a tough time, and it’s nice to get away from the game a bit,” he said. ”[I’ll] refocus in the next few days, but it was fun to have this weekend. ”

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