Game Thread: 2023 NHL All-Star Game + Fiala, McLellan talk festivities

WHEN: Saturday, February 4 @ Noon Pacific
WHERE: FLA Live Arena – Sunrise, Florida

Game Day, Insiders! Well, sort of.

Kevin Fiala is aiming for the company record for time spent in the state of Florida over the last two weeks, as he’s back in the Sunshine State to appear in his first ever NHL All-Star Game, with day two set for this afternoon at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, FL. Fiala is the lone Kings representative at the event and will participate in the All-Star Game here this afternoon.

“It’s very exciting,” Fiala said. “The first one for me, so it’s very exciting and now it’s soon to be time for it. I’m very happy to be participating, just in the whole experience, for the first time. I don’t know what’s going to come at me, but just from watching it, I know it’s going to be fun for sure.”

First, the vitals –

All-Star Game: Saturday, February 4 @ Noon Pacific Time. Broadcast on ABC & ESPN+

Fiala’s participation in the Skills Competition was questionable. He was in, he was out, he was back in. He was on the marketing materials on Twitter, but not on Instagram. That’s the kind of deception I want in my scorers. Ultimately, Fiala participated in the Fastest Skater competition and posted a sub-14 lap to reach the final, where he ultimately fell to Carolina’s Andrei Svechnikov. Kings forward Adrian Kempe also finished second a season ago.

Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Looking ahead to today, the All-Star Game is a bracket format, with teams skating first in the semifinals, with the winners advancing to the championship game. Fiala and the Pacific Division will take on the Central Division in the first game, with that matchup set to be the first of the two semifinals, followed by the Atlantic and the Metropolitan second. Should the Pacific Division win, they would advance to the final later in the day.

Pacific Division vs. Central Division
Atlantic Division vs. Metropolitan Division

Western Conference Winner vs. Eastern Conference Winner

Event format is single elimination, winners move on. All games will be played in a 3-on-3 format and each game will be a total of 20 minutes long.

I asked Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan, who has participated in All-Star events before and has coached several players representing their teams, what he hoped Fiala would take away from the event. He focused on the off-ice side of it, the relationships hopefully built along the way.

McLellan on Fiala
He’s got to soak it all in. My interaction in those events, the best thing about it is interacting with your new teammates, players from around the league, listening to their stories, meeting their families. The game is great too, but there’s a lot more to it before you put your skates on that I think the smart ones take advantage of.

Fiala has three former teammates participating in the event as well, including forward Kirill Kaprizov, who he spent the last two seasons with in Minnesota. Fiala was also teammates with Predators goaltender Jusse Saros in the Nashville organization from 2015 – 2019, as well as briefly with Chicago defenseman Seth Jones during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns with the Predators.

For a player who speaks several different languages, there shouldn’t be a player involved in the event who Fiala can’t get to know! From videos that have circulated over the first couple of days, Fiala seems to be doing exactly that.

Again, for those who skip right to the bottom of the article to get closer to the comment section, you can watch today’s All-Star Game on ABC, or streamed HERE on ESPN+.

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